It’s the middle of May, which means you shortly have to make a choice of which festival with the word “bottle” in its name you want to go to over Memorial Day weekend: BottleRock or Lightning in a Bottle. The latter is held in the Monterey foothills near Bradley, Calif. — tucked far away from any noise-averse neighbors — and known for its environmentally and socially conscious ethos and its relatively laid-back approach to outside food and alcohol. Along with eclectic lineups that primarily focus on various genres of underground dance music, L.I.B. has expanded its reach into genres like funk and indie pop. With the artist schedule finally upon us, here are eight artists at 2018’s festival you should not miss.
Lightning Stage, Sunday, May 27, 10:45 p.m. – midnight.
One of the biggest “grabs” of the festival, Fever Ray is the idiosyncratic side project of the elusive creative mastermind Karin Dreijer, who along with her brother Olaf, gained fame as The Knife. Fever Ray’s second album and first in nearly a decade, Plunge, was one of the most captivating records of 2017 and its kinetic energy along with its political themes should translate well live in what is sure to be a predictably unpredictable set.
Lightning Stage, Saturday, May 26, 11:15 p.m.- 12:15 a.m.
Seamlessly blending the best of soul, funk, R&B, and dance music, British singer-songwriter Nao and her distinct, self-proclaimed “wonky funk” style has proven to be a hit with festival goers. Her 2016 debut album, For All We Know Now, has sonic influences ranging from Prince to Parliament and everything in between, and cements Nao as the life of any party she blesses with her presence.
Crossroads Stage, Friday, May 25, 10 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. and Lightning Stage, Saturday, 7:30-9 p.m.
Blurring the line between roles as singer-songwriter and electronic-music producer, Monolink, born Steffen Linck, creates highly emotive house music with the soul of a folk artist. A skilled guitar player, Linck’s compositions differ from other house producers as he builds around his guitar, filling in the spaces with beats and synths as he naturally sees fit.
Modeselektor (DJ set)
Thunder Stage, Saturday, May 26, 12:30-2 a.m.
Good luck trying to find a proper description for Modeselektor’s sound, as the Berlin electronic maestros do everything in their ability to avoid falling under a particular label or scene with every project they touch. The duo have been producing everything from techno, IDM, hip-hop, and everything in between since their start in the ’90s Berlin rave scene, and there is no doubt their Friday closing set will leave dancers with their jaws on the floor.
Thunder Stage, Sunday, May 27, 1-2 a.m.
A perennial favorite among Burners and festival-goers around the world, Tipper’s name topping this year’s lineup was the most welcome surprise, as his live sets have garnered him a reputation as a festival legend. Tipper created his own subgenre, dubbed “Tip hop,” which uniquely combines trip-hop, breakbeats, and ambient music resulting in a singular, unmistakable style special to himself.
Walker & Royce
Woogie Stage, Friday, May 25, 4-6 p.m.
One of Dirtybird Records’ hottest artists at the moment, production duo Walker & Royce have made waves over the past year with their groovy yet low-key, pop-tinged house tracks. Their debut studio album released last year, Self-Help, is a relentless party-starter of an album with help from Detroit techno pioneer Green Velvet that’s proven to be one of the most exciting dance releases of the year.
Lightning Stage, Friday, May 25, 11 p.m.- 12:15 a.m.
No stranger to festivals like these, GRiZ built his large following primarily through consistently performing boisterous live performances, touring with like-minded artists Bassnectar and Pretty Lights. GRiZ’s unique style of self-proclaimed “future funk” best describes the producer’s bizarre, exciting blend of bass-infected electronic dance music with funk and soul that is sure to win over any new listeners.
Favela Bar, Monday, May 28, 2-4 a.m.
Known for enchanting mixes that journey through blissful psytrance, house, and techno, Treavor Moontribe’s late evening (or early morning) DJ set is sure to be a picture perfect ending to your night. One half of the production duo Desert Dwellers, Moontribe has played everywhere from Burning Man to the Great Pyramids of Giza.
With a plethora of excellent musicians — along with yoga, lakeside activities, and art — it is impossible to find yourself bored at this weekend festival retreat. Always remember that half of the fun at a festival is being able to wander around and explore new music, so be sure not to plan out your Lightning experience too much, as the unexpected is to be expected.