Recently I took a road trip down to California for The DO LaB‘s annual event, little did I know what the term “transformational festival” actually meant… and oh was I about to get a crash course on intentional change.
Upon arriving and getting a chance to survey the festival just as it was getting started on the Friday morning, my usual tour is to see how the vendors, stages and camping areas are laid out….(my production vision side bleeds out here). The further I walked into the rolling California camp site hills that make this place so magical, the less and less I am concerned with the stages, camp sites or vendors… I found myself becoming wrapped up in visions of forward thinking artwork the size of a few acres with active artists working on or around varying large canvasses. As I walked further I found domes on collective healing that included workshops on inner healing, elixirs to sooth the soul and appointments for massage.
As I kept on there were many other domes offering free guided mediations, yoga, and other learning workshops. I even came across a learning kitchen that boasted healthy food alternatives and recipe classes for free all weekend. Many of the hills had groups of people learning how to make and build a fire, how to make and mix essential oil, lotions and potions of all sorts…
All of this was making me hungry not only for knowledge but for food as well. The food vendors had many options and the majority was extremely conscious edibles, I ate well lets just say that.
As I kept moving along there were some things I took for granted that I had not noticed to be a new thing but I heard from some that the bridges that connected some of the hill/valley areas were a new addition this year. This added a new connectivity to the whole festival since it is quite spread out.
When I first came down I had no real expectations to begin with, people had said it was amazing but that is sort of a blanket term… if I really wanted to, I could have spend the entire weekend just taking in all of the talks, workshops and edibles and art …quite literally.
But there was music, and in many forms… The lineup/layout that is posted on the website is quite long and boasts a dizzying amount of talent. Many festivals I have been too tend to overlook the importance of organization, timing, rest and location. The Do LaB seems to have all of these things in mind. I was able to sleep in vendor row by 3am…every night. This is just not possible in most bass music type events I go to and it really helps being rested and beginning the day properly. Some of the production people also told me that they had changed some of the locations of the stages this year based on the recommendations of the people…so theres another things, they listen to what is needed and alter accordingly (sooo important).
I was extremely fortunate to be gifted a certain amount of access to get up close and personal with some amazing acts including: Pumpkin, The Opiuo Band, Tycho, Odesza, Bubble Gutter, Tasty Treat, Stylust Beats, Lucent Dossier Experience, Random Rab, RL Grime, John Digweed, and many others… The main stages were so tightly on point visually, audibly, and soulfully acceptable. The way they booked acts and had endless options on some of the smaller and personal stages such as the Grand Artique really brought forth a new understanding on how a festival can be made to impress all the people, and not just some.
So I hope you enjoy the following photo album, this being my first year at the well known festival, I have less than zero bad things to say about it and soooo many things I cannot even begin to express past what im writing here, the kids area for families, the general store with glass jars of gummy bears, the open air aspect no fences, nothing on the ground mentality, really brought it home for me and I am happy to say I will be returning with a profound shit eating grin on my face in 2016.
WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY: Joffrey Middleton-Hope