Lightning In A Bottle Postpones Onsale, Promises New Location

lightning in a bottle
Michael Roush/Courtesy Lightning in a Bottle
– lightning in a bottle
Enlightenment Now: Culinary arts demos are among the more than one-hundred non-music events programmed for this year’s Lightning In A Bottle festival.

Update: Lightning In A Bottle organizers Do Lab provided the following statement to Pollstar in response to statements made by county officials in an article published by the Monterey County Herald:

In early September our multi year agreement was discontinued by the county of Monterey. For several months after that we were in negotiations to continue using lake San Antonio on an annual permit, as we have done in the past. While we were trying to resolve our collective issues, we determined it was in the festival’s and our attendees’ best interest to look for other festival locations due to the many uncertainties we were facing and the length of time it was taking to reach an agreement. 

Additionally, the attendance numbers that are mentioned in recent articles are significantly inflated, even though we shared 2018’s attendance numbers from our box office receipts with county officials. Also, there was no warning from the county about curbing our attendance numbers in 2017, and it was never brought to our attention as an issue until after 2018’s event had concluded. Since 2014, our working relationship with the parks department allowed for the attendance capacity to be adjusted annually without issue. That is why it was a surprise to us after the 2018 event that the county would cancel our contract because of 2018’s attendance, which was only marginally higher than 2016’s attendance.

To Supervisor Lopez’s point, we are happy to hear that the door is still open in Monterey and look forward to discussing the possibility of future Do LaB events at Lake San Antonio. In the meantime, we feel fortunate to have discovered a fantastic new venue and are excited to share a brand new home for LIB in 2019.

Original Story:Lightning In A Bottle is changing to a new venue and date for 2019, as organizers said regulations surrounding the previous location became prohibitive.

The mainstay underground music festival has previously been held over Memorial Day Weekend at San Antonio Recreation Area in Bradley, Calif., but will now take place two weeks earlier, May 8-13. An announcement about the new location somewhere in Central California is being promised in the coming weeks.

An initial earlybird onsale was postponed last week when organizers said a County Parks Commission’s decision to no longer allow camping on the grounds eliminated the site as a possible location for the event. Individuals who purchased tickets for the Super Earlybird Sale will still have their tickets honored at the new venue, which will or they can request refunds by Feb. 1.

 “If this news comes as a shock, we apologize. Venue challenges are an inevitable part of throwing festivals, and the best we can do is move through them as gracefully as possible. Though we were planning on having LIB in Bradley for many years to come, we also recognized that San Antonio Recreation Area was far from perfect (the lake has receded away from the festival grounds again). So, we are embracing this change as a catalyst to evolve, grow and seek greener pastures. Planning is in full swing and we already see many wonderful opportunities for upgrading the LIB experience at its new home and will be hard at work for the next few months creating this new LIB wonderland,” organizers said in a statement. “We absolutely love this new venue and think you all will too. The space is an improvement in nearly every way and we appreciate your patience as we finalize everything for a fantastic new and improved LIB experience.”

Monterey County Resource Management Agency director Carl Holm told the Monterey County Herald the Board of Supervisors decided to terminate its contract with festival organizers The Do Lab in August because last year’s festival exceeded the attendance cap of 20,000 persons. The paper cites attendance estimates of 35,000- to- 37,500, though organizers did not submit Box Office reports to Pollstar.

The contract was set to see the festival held at San Antonio Recreation Area through 2021, with an option to continue into 2026, according to the paper.

Two festivalgoers died at Lightning In A Bottle in the past two years, according to the Herald. Baylee Gatlin died after ingesting drugs at the event in 2017, and her family then reportedly sued the Do Lab for not providing adequate care on site. Tyler Schripsema reportedly died last year after sustaining a spinal injury while swimming.

Lightning In A Bottle is unfortunately not the only major event to have on-site casualties, as a number of deaths at HARD Summer events have led to a series of lawsuits against organizers. In Australia, activists are rallying to try and provide drug testing on site, to ensure that dangerous substances are not mixed in with one’s illegal drugs.

Holm told the Herald those deaths were not the cause of the contract termination. Other officials told the paper they were hopeful the issues between the residents, organizers and public officials could be resolved and the festival could return.

Do Lab president and music director Jesse Flemming talked to Pollstar about growing the company’s flagship event from a birthday party into a “part Burning Man, part Coachella” shindig. Over the years the company has also put on Woogie Weekend and Dirty Bird Campout.