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Do LaB Co-Founder Shares Plans For New Festival, Says They May Be Moving Back to Irvine Lake

May 14, 2015 - by Molly Sinclair

With exactly one week before Lightning in a Bottle 2015, creative event producers The Do LaB have come a long way.

Fifteen years ago, brothers DeDe, Jesse, and Josh Flemming threw a birthday party in the mountains for 150 people. That small dance party came to be known as Lightning in a Bottle (LiB) - now a 15,000 attendee, 4-day experience - and the founding crew is now known as The Do LaB.

With a rising presence at music festivals around the world, The Do LaB co-founder DeDe Flemming spoke with me about their upcoming plans. In this Molly Report, DeDe discussed whether or not they will continue their stage at Coachella, where Lightning in a Bottle may be moving back to, and the exciting news about a new festival in July!

Molly Reports: When you produced your very first event as The Do LaB, what was your vision and goal? Has that goal and vision changed?

DeDe: I think the vision and goal was very simple. It was to put on a visually-stimulating show and performance. And we put a lot of the energy and focus on the visual element, not necessarily the musical element. We wanted people to come in and have an experience that was more than music.

It's changed, only in that it's evolved. Not only do we want you to have a visual experience, but we want you to have a very multi-faceted experience. Whether it's the music, the lights, the interactive art areas and getting lost in the environment we create. We're creating these other worlds that we lose ourselves in.

What do you think makes a great festival?

One of the biggest components is the people that come. Your audience. You can put on a packed-door spectacle with music, lights, sound, environment, and do this crazy stuff, but unless the audience is open to appreciate and explore what you're giving them, you don't really have an amazing event.

I've been to a lot of shows that were a spectacle, they were mind- blowing. And the audience was kind of... bleh. They were looking around, unamused, under-stimulated, desensitized, and they're not just letting themselves go and enjoy it. Then you have this void where the festival is missing its soul. So I think it really starts with a good creative vision, but it certainly needs an audience that is perceptive to what you're showing them.

Do you plan on continuing your presence at Coachella besides the space limitation?

We're definitely going to continue with Coachella; we've been working with them for so many years and it's really what helped us get to where we are.

Ultimately, we're hoping to start a few new things. We're actually going to have a big announcement in a week about a new event we're doing this year. We want to get creative and start a few new ones.

The new event will be in mid-July, similar vibe as Lightning but a little different. What we will be doing actually is creating an entire festival about one of the areas within Lightning in a Bottle. That's all I can say now!

What happened with LiB's lease at Irvine Lake?

That whole canyon back there was owned by a big development company. They just wanted to change directions of how that land was being used and to stop the big events back there. It was really as simple as that, it was a big company that didn't want to use it anymore.

However, I can tell you one teaser. We may or may not be going back to Irvine Lake in the near future. We love that place, it was a great part of creating what LiB is today.

What is the criteria for an artist to perform at LiB? How do you choose the lineup?

There's so much good music out there. My brother is the one that books the whole festival, and he spends countless hours and months all year long researching and playing music, just really exploring. It comes down to what he likes, what's up-and-coming, and the recommendations he gets. There's no formula.

It's hard because a lot of people email us and want to get that exposure, but the amount of people that reach out to us is so overwhelming. You can't pick 'em all.

So no real commercial stuff?

Well, if you look at our lineup, you can tell, there's not a lot of radio-driven stuff or big EDM concert DJs. It's more of the indie stuff, the dope stuff that's up-and-coming. We're not trying to pick fucking commercial names and sell tickets. We're trying to put together the best show possible.

What is the best festival out there besides LiB?

One that is really special for me and other people in The Do LaB is the Boom festival in Portugal. We've been involved in that for a couple years now. It really feels like a sister festival to us. They carry the same kind of energy and intention that we carry. The festivals are very different in music type and other things but at the same time we have this kindred spirit and that's really special to us.

Do you have a favorite story you want to share with us about your festival experiences, whether it was at LiB or another event?

There's so many over the past ten years, but the best part about this whole thing really is hearing the response afterwards, like how it touches and changes people's lives. That, for me, is the most important part of it.

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All photos and videos are property of Lightning in a Bottle and The Do LaB.

--Molly Reports