LIB'ing Legends

LIB’ING Legends: Westley Thornton

After three years with LIB staple the Lucent Dossier Experience and numerous standing ovations at festivals far and wide, Westley Thornton is no stranger to the stage. That’s why when Tyler Hansen cooked up the idea to host a mock election at Lightning in a Bottle in 2013, Thornton naturally took his place in festival history as the politician with a plan, better known to festival-goers far and wide as W.C. Thornbush. With answers for everything from social tax to social media, Thornbush represents the cigar smoking heartbeat of Frontierville at the Grand Artique. Along with his old-timey bravado and his charismatic southern charm Thornbush marshals a dedicated constituency with words that go down smooth like a glass of warm whisky on a cold day.

LIBing Legend: Westley Thornton - First Year at LIB: 2010 - Total Years at LIB: 7 years – Offering: Frontierville Politician WC1

Photo Courtesy of WC Thornbush

Tell us about your first experience contributing at LIB.

My first year at The Bottle was as a part of the Lucent Dossier Experience as a dancer and singer. It was my first festival experience outside the seasonal events held by our City Council in Tifton, GA, and it was my first live performance outside of bars and 99 seat theaters so you can imagine how delightful it is to go to a festival and perform on its main stage all for the first time and all in the same weekend.

The crowd during the show was totally foreign to me at the time, it was as if we were performing not for a few thousand disparate individuals but instead an huge family who had come to watch their children at a recital.

During the show, the dancers were to melt off stage and into the audience. As I dropped in to the crowd I noticed a small hole in the audience about fifteen yards away and I walked towards it through the sea of grins and found these cowboy hats crouched down. So I joined them, and squatting low, opening a bottle of wine out of a rucksack, was Shane and his brother Breck. That was when we first met. I took a slug and finished the show. At the end of the performance someone yelled, “you have perfect teeth” from the crowd. I smiled.

What do you think makes LIB different from other festivals?

Approach. There are plenty of great music festivals, but the way that the Do Lab approaches LIB is so thoughtful and open to every avenue of experience that I can’t say that I have seen the same successful variegation elsewhere. They have curated a patch work out of this festival and have cultivated a family. I’ll use myself as an example. I’m not one for EDM, I don’t go in for spirituality, I am not terribly comfortable in large crowds, but The Do Lab has a space for me. Granted I had a hand in designing it, but it still makes me feel honored to know that they want people that like what we at the Grand Artique like to have a space to go.

What can guests expect to experience in your area this year at LIB?

We want people to walk into our area and have the ultimate WTF moment. It’s hokey, what we have created and this year we want to embrace that and push it to its inevitable conclusion of playful and timeless joy. So, this year expect to walk into Frontierville! our little town and be a child again.

Where can we most likely find you at LIB when you’re not at the Grand Artique?

There’s no place I’d rather be than in my own little home town.

Describe LIB in three words or less.


What are you currently working on?

Right now I am working on a community workshop space for all those creative types in Hollywood who live in apartments and have no place to access tools. 

Featured Image Credit: Courtesy of WC Thornbush

In a new series by Do LaB, we take a walk down the immersive side of memory lane with the co-creating characters that have returned to Lightning in a Bottle time and again with a full-fledged world in tow. To hold onto those moments that transport us to other realms and deepen our connection to one another, we commemorate the greats who made them possible in a weekly interview series that we like to call LIBing Legends.

by: Graham Berry

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