Our Sonic Intention – All about Music

2014_Sizzle2One of our main goals with Lucidity Festival, is to provide a quality overall experience, one that people want to be a part of, that challenges the way they think about themselves, their ideas of community and even more so, their everyday realities. This involves every facet of the festival. Our focus isn’t primarily on the music, but rather on the inclusion of community and the many aspects that make Lucidity unique compared to other festivals. But let’s be honest, music is awesome and a huge part of the experience. When it comes to Lucidity’s music we are looking to showcase– it’s not just about who’s hot right now or who’s on tour– it’s much more than that. We don’t focus on a particular genre, so much as we program with sonic intention. With 3 “main” stages and a plethora of renegade sound camps, you can literally stumble upon any genre if you just go for a walk through the woods and explore any of our themed Villages and environments.

ZEROdB-LogoThe only complaint we really get is the one concerning our curfew. It’s a yearly thing that we deal with and while not everyone is happy about it, I feel there are a few ways to look at it; I prefer to utilize that down time to do what I like to call… talking to your neighbors and getting to know the people around you. I think it’s nice to not be inundated with sound 24 hours a day for 3 days straight. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to program a lineup that allowed for it, but that’s just not the case, so we do the next best thing… We do our best to cater to the all-night crowd by bringing in a Silent Disco provided by ZEROdB, located at the Audiowaska Stage each night. It runs Fri-Sun from 12am to 6am, cutting off just in time to enjoy the sunrise and get a little rest before starting all over again. Music is Love will be providing the programming for Friday night, Memekast (my podcast) will be programming Saturday night and ZEROdB will be taking on Sunday night.

funkworksOur focus isn’t necessarily on booking headliners, we also look for those up and comers that have the potential to become headliners in the next few years. We make it a point to showcase some of the West Coast’s most prolific bass music producers and performers from all levels of “popularity”. Many of our performer selections start out on a wishlist that we pass around within our organization and our various collaborators throughout the year. We also invite input from our audience on Facebook and take note on who gets the most requests and likes. Our budget is quite small compared to many other festivals of our size, but I feel like we have managed to consistently deliver a lineup well beyond our means. One thing I try to get people to understand is that; it’s only our third year, and we are growing at a sustainable rate. We just can’t afford those acts that ask for $20,000+ for a performance and we are also hindered by our capacity limitations. Since it is very limited, the only way to afford an act that demands so much money is to charge higher prices for tickets. But at a certain point, that becomes unsustainable for all of you.

tipperThat being said, this year we did manage to book the one and only Tipper! And I’d like to take a moment to say that I’m so happy that we were able to have him come out and play with us this time around. We also have Eligh, Quixotic Fusion, Kalya Scintilla, Love and Light, Worthy, Bird of Prey, Stylust Beats and a whole host of other top notch talent that you may already have heard of. Some artists that I’m excited to bring this year, that you may not have heard of are probably Haywyre, Digital Rust, Nominus, Mumukshu and Bogtrotter. I could really just keep going down the list, but I have to stop somewhere or I’ll just be repeating our lineup poster…

peacesticksSOLfood2Another large part of our musical curation process, are our online applications, where we select close to one third of our lineup. I really can’t stress enough that the music comes first. When we go through this list, we check out every link that is sent with the application. I personally listened to nearly 300 applicants this year alone. There are a few specific requests that we have; for electronic music, artists are asked to have a mix on Soundcloud or Mixcloud that we can listen to. It needs to be current, represent the style of music that they wish to play on the stages, as well as being at least 60 minutes long. This ensures that artists will have the ability and enough material and be able to play a full hour long time slot. I look for mixes that establish a theme and are programmed with intention, versus just a bunch of tracks thrown into Ableton and mixed for drop to drop. I look for gain staging and seamless transitions among other things. Most important of all, does the music fit the intention of the container that we work so hard to provide?

For our live music selections we tend to focus on video submissions over studio recordings. This gives us a much better view on what it’s like to experience an act in a live environment. If you can sound good on a Youtube video, I’d wager that you can sound good almost anywhere.

The programming themes for our three “main” stages are basically broken down like this;

Lucid_1The Lucid Stage, presented by the Memekast, showcases the quintessential sounds of Lucidity, focusing on positive mid and up-tempo bass music. The Lucid Stage’s main musical genres are primarily Glitch Hop, Dubstep, and even a little Drum and Bass for good measure! What’s the light, without just a taste of dark? It’s also a smaller stage than our Alive Stage, so it primarily caters to DJ’s and not live acts. Don’t expect to hear much trap or anything having to do with guns, money, derogatory remarks about women or any other contrived trends that people tend to bandwagon onto. The choices here are definitely a departure from those styles of music. It’s all about the love. And to project that love, we like to use some of the best sound available by way of Emersion Events and their amazing Funktion One dance stacks.

AliveStageforWEBThe Alive Stage, curated by Lux Events, is where we feel like we can get a bit more eclectic. This stage presents a wide variety of sounds and styles. Though the programming tends toward music that is again, positive in nature, it runs the gamut, from Reggae, Bluegrass, Folk/Americana, Rock to Livetronica among others. The delivery of the sounds from this stage come by way of the Funkworks Funktion One sound system.

Right next to the Alive Stage, you’ll find the Alive Performance Stage; curated by Tammy Firefly where you can catch the bulk of our live performance acts. Including fire, aerials, hooping and so much more.

popeThe Audiowaska Stage presented by Music is Love, a local Santa Barbara crew, is where we try to get a little weird. This stage focuses more on the other aspects of our musical offerings that the other two stages don’t. The selections here include a strong local presence, focusing primarily on “forward thinking” music, but also with a good touch of House, Breaks, Techno and even some Trap. It caters to a very wide audience and is the place for the bulk of our home town inclusion.

The Lucid Stage will also have yoga and breath workshops from 9-11am daily, and on Saturday, Kishan Shah’s workshop will be accompanied by The Human Experience providing the backing music. I feel like no matter what you are looking for, you’ll have a good shot at finding it somewhere with a little time, intention and exploration. So we invite you to come out and enjoy the gorgeous Santa Barbara weather with us, take in the offerings from this amazing community and space, and share some gifts of your own.

-James Spektrum
Music Coordinator/Man of Many Hats




One thought on “Our Sonic Intention – All about Music

  1. Just combing the page for some research. I got assigned this festival by a website I write for. And since I know the crew is awesome and busy I thought I would look at what you guys are all saying. Thanks for the well stated ideas and the glimpse at your music curating process.

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