The Dual Lives of The Festies at LiB

Photos by Sage Thomas

Year by year, over 25,000 lovers of music and art escape to the hilly landscapes of Bradley, CA for arguably the most immersive festival experience of the West Coast, Lightning in a Bottle. This year boasted well-known attractions like the Jive Joint, The Fungineers, and The Do Lab’s very own Do Over Salon, festival classics among the community that had attendees laughing all through the hot days and the colorful, cool nights. The Do Lab showcased their never before seen, futuristic structures that redesigned old favorites and with the backdrop of Lake San Antonio, attendees were able to keep cool both physically and figuratively. From near and far, people came to experience both the diverse musical line-up and a wide variety of thought provoking workshops including but not limited to yoga offerings, sound healings, cooking classes, and inspiring speakers.

The beauty of the experience at LiB begins with the magic that The Do Lab has created and then continues on with the presence of each individual at the event, making this Memorial Day celebration of life and love entirely unique for each and every one of us. Whether exploring between sets, floatin’ around at the lake, or grabbing a bite to eat at the Dough Lab, you never know what amazing friendships will come about. It all begins with a smile or a hello and then you have the opportunity to meet individuals from just about any walk of life. We, at Festival Squad, had a chance to chat with a few members of the LiB family and focused on those who are currently leading dual lives.

These are typically the people who are not able to share with friends, family or coworkers about their festie side. We sat down with these people to talk about about their experiences with the festival scene and what keeps them comin’ back for more.

Maxwell Hartfield Benedict

Age: 23

Location: Seattle, WA

Profession: Bartender/ Aspiring Painter and Photographer

Why do you love festing? 

” The beautiful and crazy people, clothes, fashion, and the chance to experience something totally different from other parts of society.”

How often do you go?

“I will be hitting a personal record this season, about 3 or 4 events for the year.”

Favorite part? 

“My favorite part is the way that each festival feels like a new beginning but home at the same time. It is comfortable yet exciting, you can be yourself but also try out new things.”

Why LiB? How many years? 

“This is my second year at LiB. Last year, I met a girl named Ash and she was my glitter queen. We stayed up all night adventuring and I am back this year to continue these adventures.”


Name: Angela

Age: 31

Location: Forever at LiB (at heart)

Profession: Nurse

Why do you love festing? 

” How could you not? People are open, expressive, real, and down to earth at events. ”

How often do you go? 

“About two times a year”

Favorite part? 

“The unique interactions with other fun-loving human beings”

Why LiB? How many years?

“This is my 6th LiB and I keep coming back because of the great location and the way that it flows conveniently into my life perfectly year by year. The vibes are unreal and I love the big size of the event, you never know who you’ll meet or what you will experience.”


Name: Joseph Flemming

Age: 21

Location: LA, CA

Profession: Student/ Lyft Driver/ Professional Festie

Why do you love festing? 

“Festivals are the first place that I’ve felt like I belong and where I’m not afraid to be who I am. They have made me realize the importance of love & kisses & spreading this love through music”

How often do you go?

“About once a month”

Favorite part? 

“When the squad is reunited after adventuring all day on their own because laughs for days are on their way”

Why LiB? How many years?

“This is my second year at LiB. I keep coming back because of the incomparable environment and of course, THE FUN TIMES TO BOOGIE AT THE WOOGIE”


Photo by: HTA Photo

Name: Helen

Age: 27

Location: Oakland, CA…. but recently moved from Chicago, IL

Profession: High school Science Teacher, specifically Biology and Chemistry

Why do you love festing? 

” I grew up on music.  I remember watching my mom cook dinner and put on disco-inspired music… or anytime we were in the car as a child, my mom would be singing along to her music.  I guess for me- music is my happy place and festivals embody everything that makes me happy.  Everyone is at a festival for the pure musical experience.  Outside of the music, all of the patrons are enjoying themselves to the fullest.  It’s almost an escape- a form of mindfulness if you will.  You are forced to be present in the moment.  You can’t worry about anything else.  You are forced to indulge in your love of music and creativity.”

How often do you go?

“In a typical year, I go to about 5-7 festivals ranging from 4-day camping festivals to 3-day, daytime festivals.  This year I will have gone to the X games to see Bassnectar, LiB, Enchanted Forest, Sonic Bloom, Pitchfork Music Festival, North Coast music Festival and Red Rocks 3-night run for STS9—my all time favorite band!”

Favorite part? 

“God, that’s such a difficult question!  I’d say that originally when I buy tickets to a festival I’m always excited about the lineup.  I’ve definitely got my favorites like Bassnectar and STS9, and I travel all over the country to see both of them. But, truth be told- the best part of festivals isn’t always the headliners… it’s everything combined!  I LOVE meeting new people in the campsites, making longtime friends, wandering the ground of the festival and finding hidden gems, and of course stumbling upon new music that I inevitably become obsessed with.”

Why LiB? How many years?

“This is my first year at LiB.  I’m really excited to be here and experience it.  I just moved to Oakland less than a year ago and originally my plan was to hit Coachella, but when I saw LiB’s lineup and Bassnectar’s name as the headliner—this festival was a MUST!!!  I didn’t know anyone coming to this festival, but I pulled the trigger and bought the ticket.  It was the best decision I’ve made this year… besides moving to California.  I ended up meeting a few really amazing people who were also going to LiB and we decided to all camp together—now these friends and I have a special bond and we are already planning on this becoming our Memorial Day weekend tradition.  You are sure to see me back here in 2018!”


Name: Brandon Lopez

Age: 24

Location: Tempe, AZ

Profession: Analytical Chemistry Salesman

Why do you love festing? 

Festing allows me to explore who I am in one of the most welcoming environments. I can fully express myself in ways that I cannot do in my day to day life.”

How often do you go?

I try to go to a day-long event once a month, and a longer camping festival once ever three or so months. Although during summer I am happy to go even more often.”

Favorite part? 

The light shows, especially the lasers.”

Why LiB? How many years?

LiB last year was the first time myself and my boyfriend expressed our love for each other using the words “I love you” because of that it will always hold a special place in my heart. While this was my second year, I hope to continue going into infinity.  “

Though a minuscule representation of the vast sharing of experiences one can encounter at a festival, it brings to the table new perspectives and a lot of the time, friendships that may have seemed unlikely prior to the event. No matter your background, Lightning in a Bottle has something to get you groovin’ and movin’, and you have the opportunity to come out a better person than you have arrived.

We hope to see you at LiB 2018!

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