Tucked back away from all the hustle and bustle of Santa Barbara in the wooded hills outside of the city is where the first Lunacy Festival was nestled. It was strenuous adventure that brought us from the Colorado snow, through the desert, and finally to the coast of California for a weekend of crazy antics. As we got there on Friday, we were a little taken aback at how slowly people we rolling in. But at the same time, we also were immediately flooded with a feeling of exclusiveness and family. Winding our way up into the heart of the festival, we were surprised yet again by the fact you could simply camp wherever; there were no clueless volunteers ushering people around the woods, trying to make what they always think is “optimal space.” This freedom to choose where you call home for the weekend allowed many people to camp with all the friends they came out with (or met down there!).
As people made camp in the surprisingly warm October sun, we truly saw the venue come to life and build character as elaborate campsites were constructed. After a quick daytime jaunt to get acquainted with our surroundings, we got a little feel for the lay of the land. Consisting of two stages for music, Lunar (more actual band performance) and Synatpic (mostly electronic), it was pretty simple to figure out where you wanted to be. Once the sun set and the heat began to subside, people geared themselves for the night’s festivities. Donned with costumes, hoods, paint, and lights, the freaks really started coming out of the woodwork as dusk settled and stole away the day’s heat. We didn’t find ourselves wondering toward the Lunar stage much the first evening, considering the likes of Goldrush, Sugarpill, Andreilien (previously know as Heyoka), and Vibesquad were getting everyone the hell down with amazing tunes set after set.
We woke to a sunny Saturday and saw there was still a steady wave of people coming in and making camp. Though the heat beat a lot of people down for the better part of the day, there was too much going on. We prepared to get roasted by the sun and coated in a thick layer of dust. BOGL, WOLFBITCH, Rook, Jupit3r, +verb, Digital Rust, Salva, and Stephan Jacobs all had people getting down at the Synaptic stage until the sun was well gone and the illustrious moon had taken over the sky. Over on the Lunar stage, we were lucky enough to catch California’s own Vokab Kompany. He blew our minds with an otherworldly live hip hop presentation (and even get a few kind words in before their set)!
Sunday found everyone struggling after a drawn out Saturday that crept its way into the wee hours. That being said, we still summed up the energy to wander the grounds yet again, made some use of the scorching October heat, and then dove into some more music. For the better part of the day, we again found ourselves squatted over the Synaptic stage where Janover, Kaminanda, Jobot, Thriftworks, Random Rab, ill-Esha, ChrisB., and Russ Liquid all blew me away. Of course, we found our way over to the Lunar stage to catch Akara, Delhi 2 Dublin, and EOTO that same night!
Though Sunday’s rising moon brought our weekend at Live Oak Campground to a close, we couldn’t have been happier with the experience. Being in a place like that for a whole weekend with a whole new family has the potential to be a life-altering experience. The people that helped bring this festival together are amazing! The fact that everyone was pretty much free to do as they pleased lead to a very positive environment. Whether it was the full moon or the presence of many beautiful people, out trip out to California for this unique festival was wholly worth it.