Supervisors approved the Lightning in a Bottle music and arts festival to be held at the Buena Vista Aquatic Recreational Area from May 8 to May 13.
Tickets are on sale and the lineup has been determined, including Disclosure, Santigold, Masego, and many more.
The event organizor, Do LaB, agreed to pay $225,000 to the county to use the area. Local residents at the meeting voiced support for the festival, noting local vendors will benefit from the festival along with the revenue coming into the county from attendees traveling from outside the county, state, and country.
“When you find a Buena Vista with trees, with grass, with an amazing lake you can swim in, close proximity to LA and San Francisco, in a rural enough area that you can still have sound in the night, it checked all the boxes what we look for in a venue,” said Dede Flemming, co-owner of the Do LaB.
Flemming stated in the Board of Supervisors meeting he hopes Lightning in a Bottle will not be a one-time festival for Kern County; he said he wants to continue bringing the festival back to Kern County and maintain a relationship with the county to do so. The last five years Lightning in a Bottle was held in Monterey, CA.
Lightning in a Bottle organizers have been working on a checklist and have determined a traffic plan, waste management plan, and other concerns the county had about the festival, including laws and regulations.
Sheriff Donny Youngblood said he’s not opposed to the festival, but made it clear it could pose a challenge for his thinly-staffed sheriff’s department.
“We have a particular problem in our county with a lack of personnel,” Youngblood said. “…I’m actually going to have to force employees to work overtime to cover this event, and that doesn’t always go over well.”
Flemming says he understand security concerns, and insists safety his top priority.
“Law enforcement was a big issue. We will have a contract with the sheriff’s office, with the ambulances in the county, [and] with CHP. That’s all money we spend. The county is not making that investment. We are,” he added.
This is the 16th year of the festival. County leaders say the event is expected to generate $2 million to $3 million for the local economy.