Lightning in a Bottle 2024 The Junkyard stage with a large crowd gathered at sunset.

MP3 TAKES: 4 Things That Made Lightning in a Bottle 2024 a Spellbinding Musical Experience

Introducing MP3 TAKES, our event review series where we dive deep into the exhilarating world of music festivals and live performances. In an era teeming with music events worldwide, our aim is to help you navigate through the noise and uncover the most captivating experiences. Join us on this adventure to highlight the backstage stories, memorable moments, and unique elements that make each event one-of-a-kind.

The whimsical reputation that surrounds Lightning in a Bottle is one of mystery and enchantment.

I’ve heard several people refer to LIB as “California’s Electric Forest” and “Burning Man on easy mode,” thanks to LIB’s elaborate art exhibits, impassioned rave community, gorgeous venue, and incredible production. But these comparisons don’t do LIB justice.

Lightning in a Bottle 2024 was handily the most interactive, spellbinding musical experience I’ve been a part of since joining the festival community in 2019. 

Here are four reasons Lightning in a Bottle 2024 lived up to its reputation and exceeded all expectations.

1. The Venue — Buena Vista Lake

Lightning in a Bottle wide view of venue across the lake at night.
Shot by Jason Myers.

Located on California’s beautiful Buena Vista Lake, Lightning in a Bottle provided stunning views throughout the entire venue, especially during the sunset. 

Set firmly against a mountainous backdrop, LIB surrounded Buena Vista Lake with seemingly endless art activations, stages, exhibits, and glowing structures. But, wherever you found yourself in the venue, you were never far from the lake, which made it easy to navigate from one stage to the next.

Lake parties dominated the daytime, soundtracked by pop-up DJ sets while festival-goers allowed their worries to drift away on silly floats and inflatable tubes. By night, the lake was still open to dip your toes in or cool off with a quick splash, but the attention was directed toward the music and immaculate interactive exhibits.

2. ‘Da Brodega’ — You’ve Never Seen a Cock Fight Like This

Lightning in a Bottle 2024 venue after dark, with sculptures of palm trees and colorful lights.
Shot by Jason Myers.

Saturday afternoon, a stranger came up to me to ask if I’d heard about the ‘cock fight’ going down at 11:00 p.m. that evening. When I told him I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about, he was appalled. “I promise you, the cock fight is calling your name brother. No animals will be harmed, I assure you,” the stranger said. 

He told me to find the cock fight at Da Brodega. I couldn’t resist.

At 11:00pm, I showed up at Da Brodega, slightly shocked to see a packed room that mimicked a psychedelic pharmacy or an apocalyptic convenience store. There was a cashier offering “candy” and other strange knick-knacks to anyone who wandered in, and there was a back door with a dildo for a doorknob with some audible cheering coming from the other side.

What I experienced in that back room can only be described as an alternate reality drifting between the worlds of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Fight Club.

That’s all I’ll say — because there’s no need to ruin the surprise.

3. The Martian Circus — A 5D Musical Experience

Man painted in glow in the dark, neon paint at The Martian Circus pop-up at Lightning in a Bottle 2024
The Martian Circus. Shot by Jason Myers.

The Martian Circus was by far the most colorful display at Lightning in a Bottle this year. That’s because the entire space was painted with neon, glow-in-the-dark paint that covered every square inch of the stage, performers, and dance floor. 

The activation, which included a small stage frequented by psychedelic jazz musicians, a carpeted dancefloor, and colorful lounging area, embraced the weird, zealous spirit of festival culture and interactive art. Attendees were invited on stage to get splattered with paint while the band played, and the set up looked awesome covered in all the colors of the rainbow.

But the real treat was finding the 5D glasses, which turned the entire spot into a dizzying display of vibrant textures; a hallucinogenic circus trapped in the Tron universe. Putting on the 5D glasses meant stepping into a new universe, guided by the mischievous, but well-intentioned, musical guides jamming through the cosmos on their painted instruments.

4. The Stacks — Never Enough Bass

The Stacks stage lit up with blue LED lights at Lightning in a Bottle 2024.
The Stacks. Shot by Jason Myers.

The Stacks didn’t have the production that the Woogie, Lightning, and Thunder had, but it had something else: surprise sets from legends like Skrillex and Justin Jay.

It also had a great setup that traded immaculate design for practical effects — mainly in the form of four “stacks” that provided an elevated view of the music from the tops of wooden towers that surrounded the dancefloor.

Every festival needs an underground bass stage — and The Stacks was a great fit. Aside from surprise sets from the superstars and headliners, the schedule also included up-and-coming acts and crowd favorites like MYTHM, Abelation, G-Space, Ashez, Redrum, Flortet Loret, Don Jamal, Mystic Grizzly, Josh Teed and Bread Winner.

When in doubt, go to the stacks. 



A recent Denver transplant, Logan is a passionate writer, occasional promoter, and lover of all things outdoors (most recently, his years spent surfing the East Coast have developed into snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains). More than anything, though, Logan is an avid music fan. When he's not dancing at the disco, he can almost always be found with a good book or a guitar in his hands.