Wow, how much better could a summer kick-off get than this? I suppose the phase 2 additions will answer that, but with its phase 1 lineup, the Do Lab’s storied, transformational art and music festival Lightning in a Bottle has soared to the top of celebratory options for Memorial Day weekend. And after the superb response to its new and improved home at Buena Vista Lake in Central California last year, this could easily be the best incarnation of LiB yet.
The Desert Hearts crew of Mikey Lion, Lee Reynolds, Marbs and Porky will set the tone with a seven-hour launch party of house, techno and love on Thursday, May 21, followed by a four-hour set of independent bass from Joe Kay, founder of Soulection. The name I’m most thrilled about on the lineup is Nina Kraviz, the incendiary queen of acid techno and my favorite musical artist, who I travel to see at least once per year. Trip-hop titan DJ Shadow went on a rare tour in 2017 and showed he can still blow everyone away, so this surprise appearance – his only announced stop in the world for 2020, thus far, after February – signifies an unmissable show for the record books.
Four Tet and a James Blake DJ set promise elevated, soulful tunes, while Kaytranada brings neo-soul and lo-fi hip hop. Sylvan Esso, Purity Ring and Big Wild shepherd electronic indie-pop with live instrumentation and vocals, while GRiZ unites with his housey, electro-funk love anywhere and everywhere. Wajatta (the duo of musical-comedy genius Reggie Watts and house producer John Tejada) deserves a shout-out on any lineup for the hilariously wacky, groovy delight they bring to the table.
Two Fingers, the unique alter ego of Brazilian Amon Tobin, delivers an intoxicating brand of bottom-end, grimey bass. After 2020, the Dutch, distortion-warping, heavy drum and bass masters NOISIA are splitting up, so any opportunities to see them this year will be essential sets. Keys N Krates, Minnesota, EPROM and The Librarian mark other bass and dubstep artists to get excited about as well.
Expect dancey deep-house vibes for the Bob Moses club set, melodic, mesmerizing techno from Stephan Bodzin and ARTBAT, smooth electro house from Kyle Watson (aka South Africa’s Chris Lake), and deep progressive house from Eli & Fur. With Dirtybird all-stars Justin Martin and Justin Jay, an unstoppable party of feisty house music is guaranteed, while Rybo b2b Lubelski serve as stellar ambassadors for that delectable, Desert Hearts style of tech house.
After fees, tickets start at $393.11 for a four-day pass, $465.21 for a five-day pass (including Wednesday, May 20 early arrival), and $146.61 for a car camping pass. Layaway plans start at $100 for a four-day pass and $120 for a five-day pass. Beyond all the stellar music (full lineup below), Lightning in a Bottle is renowned for its dazzling art installations, creature-fantastic roving performers, engaging activities and spiritually transformative energy. So if you want something deeper out of your Memorial Day adventure, LiB is calling your name!