Music fans on the Central Coast have another major option for Memorial Day weekend.
Lightning in a Bottle Music and Arts Festival, a Southern California-started event that mixes electronic music, an array of artists and a major focus on environmental sustainability, will set up camp at San Antonio Recreation Area’s North Shore from May 22 to May 26.
It is a busy holiday weekend, shared with the California Roots Festival at the Monterey County Fair & Event Center and the Santa Cruz Blues Festival in Aptos.
Lightning in a Bottle boasts a lineup of more than 50 acts, featuring headliners Moby, Little Dragon, Phantogram and Gramatik.
Laura Kim, from the Los Angeles artists collective Do LaB, which is putting on the festival, called it “a mix of Burning Man and a smaller music festival.”
One feature — what organizers call the festival’s “intimate singularity” — is the Lucent Temple of Consciousness, a “sanctuary” built of recycled and found objects that will play host to workshops and speakers on topics such as sustainability, mysticism and spirituality.
Many of the artists use recycled materials and run the gamut from furniture makers to muralists. One artist who is scheduled to speak, Shrine, creates found object/trash sculptures.
Lightning in a Bottle lives what it preaches. It has received four consecutive Outstanding Awards from an organization called A Greener Festival, a nonprofit that helps events adopt environmentally efficient practices.
“I think there’s a really, really big following of people who are interested in various types of activities such as recycling, hydroponics, growing your own food,” Kim said. “It’s really a large community that I’ve found to be kind of viral” — once someone learns about certain sustainable practices, they go out and share it with their friends and family.
“More and more people, that’s their lifestyle: music and sustainability,” she said.
The festival includes a kids’ zone with family-friendly activities, music and art projects.
For Monterey County, the festival will help out a parks department that is taking a hit because of the drought. The North Shore of Lake San Antonio, just outside Lockwood in South County, has been closed since Labor Day and is normally packed with boaters, campers and other recreationalists over Memorial Day weekend.
“Normally we would never host an event like this at the lake (at this time of year),” said parks director Michael Ferry.
The festival is expected to draw 10,000 to 15,000 fans and event staff, and generate about $150,000 for the department. It isn’t what they would get if the lake was filled with water, but it’s a start.
“It’s just something to keep the parks department afloat a little bit, because we’re having a hard time,” he said.
County supervisors approved the special event use permit for Lightning in a Bottle this week.
Ticket packages for the festival include camping and range from $195 to $365. RV camping packages are sold out. EZ Camping Packages, which come with mattresses and other amenities which take the camping out of camping, are $1,000 or $2,250 and don’t include tickets.
Single-day passes are not an option.
Money that doesn’t go to pay for musicians, workshops and speakers will go to nonprofits that support arts in the schools and other local charities.
Ferry said the parks department will evaluate the event to determine whether it will be invited back next year.
The organizers of the Cali Roots Festival said the reggae-rock event is not worried about competition from Lightning in a Bottle.
“It’s a completely different genre than Lightning in a Bottle, a different theme and different audience,” said Cali Roots publicist Tanya Moore, adding reggae “has a very fierce and loyal following.”
Moore said they expect the festival to sell out to 30,000 fans.
For a lineup and information, see www.lightninginabottle.org.