Sparks Fly Over Lightning In A Bottle Fest
After building one of Southern California’s most distinctive underground festivals, organizers of
Andrew Jorgensen / JORG Photo – Lightning In A Bottle
The Pagoda and Dragonfly structures at a Lightning In a Bottle festival.
Lightning In A Bottle started as a small party organized by Jesse, Josh and Dede Flemming and friends around 1999, Jesse told Pollstar in a previous interview. Those parties gradually got more complex as the brothers developed more connections in the underground music community and took influence from other events like Burning Man.
Eventually the guys joined forces with artist and event producer Dream Rockwell. That group of collaborators formally founded the production company The Do LaB, Inc. and Rockwell organized the popular Temple of Consciousness area of the festivals and began coordinating the Lucent Dossier performance collective.
Now, though, Rockwell allegedly has filed suit against The Do LaB and both sides are sending each other cease and desist letters.
The problems bubbled into public consciousness when Rockwell issued a statement relating why her collective of aerial artists, fire dancers and visual effects producers were not at the 2017 edition of Lightning In A Bottle on May 25, the first day of the festival.
“Just over one year ago I discovered that my trusted partners and dear friends who I cofounded The Do LaB, and created LIB with, secretly dissolved our company The Do LaB, Inc. and set up an identical new company, which they called The Do LaB, LLC, to strip me of my ownership interests,” Rockwell claimed in her statement. “As this story unfolds before us, while I continue to pursue my usual speaking engagements and create new endeavors for myself and my family, the brothers (or maybe one of them) have been relentless in sending cease and desist letters, threatening legal action against any company or event that might employ me to speak while/or by publicizing my credits as Co-Founder of LIB.”
The Do LaB responded to these claims with a statement that challenged Rockwell’s account of events. The Do Lab Inc. was dissolved after a conversation with Rockwell in 2010, it says, and she oversaw a separate company for her Lucent Dossier experience and continued to produce the Temple Of Consciousness at the LIB festivals.
Lucent Dossier currently has a tour in the works with Live Nation and UTA’s Kris Kajewski told Pollstar that the legal situation between Rockwell and the Do LaB is a personal one, but the Lucent tour will not be affected by the conflict.
Do LaB’s statement said Rockwell sent cease and desist letters to try to stop production of the festival and the publication of a statement on Rockwell’s “Flat Earth Panel” at LIB 2016. That statement essentially refutes the flat earth conspiracy theory and apologizes for not screening the content better. Rockwell said that statement was very damaging to her and the community she serves.
Rockwell also says in her statement she felt her influence over the festival was being increasingly limited and she was being bullied by other organizers.
“I am a founder and co-creator of the Lightning in a Bottle Festival,” Rockwell told Pollstar. “I have given my heart and soul to that festival and I’m excited for what it became from that little dream, that vision, so many years ago. I am a female whose name should not be erased from HIStory, which is actually our-story….”
The Do LaB claims its only interest in issuing a statement, especially while the festival was ongoing, was to correct inaccuracies. Both parties have said they hope to resolve the dispute, and both declined to offer comment at press time.
A source told Pollstar that many in Southern California recognize the impact LIB has had on the underground scene and those who have friends in both camps hope the parties can solve the situation amicably.