Lightning in a Bottle – the local three-day music and art festival once dubbed the ill-begotten child of Coachella and Burning Man – is still without a home after a permit seeking permission to host the festival outside Los Olivos was denied.
Organizers of the Memorial Day event had been hoping to hold the concert at the Chamberlin Ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley, but local opposition ultimately quelled the idea. The festival – which has been located at Live Oak Campground off San Marcos Pass for the last four years – is currently searching for a new venue to accommodate its growing popularity and will now have to scramble if it is to meet its Memorial Day weekend show date.
The Chamberlin Ranch had seemed a promising option, but after hearing testimony from several concerned citizens’ groups, the Agriculture Preserve Advisory Committee voted unanimously against granting the event’s producer a permit.
With this latest ruling, the event’s promoter, Do LaB – a large-scale artist production team based in Los Angeles – will have to work quickly to find another location as Memorial Day approaches.
However, Do LaB spokesperson Dede Flemming said organizers may be compelled to delay the festival due to this setback.
“We’re going to try everything we can to not postpone the show, but as it stands now, postponing it is definitely an option,” Flemming said.
The Chamberlins, who were in favor of hosting the festival, blame the unfavorable ruling on local opponents of the event.
“The event fell through because there was opposition to it here in the valley,” property owner Fred Chamberlin said. “The permit process had to go through the Agricultural Preserve Advisory Committee and the opposition showed up there, gave their big speech and the committee voted unanimously against us. They just basically gave us the finger.”
Chamberlin said the increasingly popular festival would have brought significant notoriety to the otherwise obscure community, and added that the denial of this permit does not bode well for other groups seeking to host events in the area.
“If they think it’s so inappropriate to use agricultural land for recreational purposes then the next time the SB Trail Riders or some other group wants to use the land, members of the Santa Ynez [Valley] Concerned Citizens and other such groups will have to stay home,” Chamberlin said. “Word’s going to get back to them, and they’re not going to like this, but that’s tough shit.”