Will there be a lake this year at LIB?

UPDATE: Feb. 22nd

The lake is now 42% full! Check out this aerial footage of the lake along the Lightning Stage and Thunder Stage peninsulas that was shot February 20th:

Since 2014 Lightning in a Bottle has called Lake San Antonio its home, nestled on the North Shore of what used to be Monterey County’s premier freshwater recreation area.  For years the dry lakebed has been empty, however with one of California’s wettest winters in recent history, all that might be changing…


Lake San Antonio creeps towards the LIB site


Brief History of Lake San Antonio Recreation Area

It’s hard to believe just five (or so) years ago LIB’s venue was one of the busiest recreational parks in Central California, with thousands of visitors coming in to hike, camp and boat every year. While Lake San Antonio has been closed since 2015, and much of the wildlife (along with the visitors) that used to frequent the area don’t anymore. While the infamous California drought is often thought to be the reason the water disappeared, it was actually a mechanical failure at the Nacimiento dam and the subsequent repairs in 2013 that required an “above normal” amount of water to be pumped directly from the reserves in Lake San Antonio. Unlike other California water bodies where water can be pumped in from other parts of the state-wide water systems, Lake San Antonio is replenished naturally through the watershed received from mountain springs and rainfall.


Widening river feeds the lake


In a recent scouting expedition to Lake San Antonio our team came back with tales of a roaring river flowing along the southern banks of the Thunder Stage and through the valley, past the Lightning stage. The landscape is returning to life as well! “Wildlife that had previously moved to the southern shore has returned to the north shore in abundance.” Said our Director of Operations, Kevin Rowell. “Wild boar, deer, geese, coyotes and even a trio of Bald Eagles were seen during the trip.”


Park authorities are currently predicting that we could see another 8 to 10 feet of water accumulate from the seasonal draining of the surrounding watershed.


sunset over the growing lake


So will there be a lake?

It’s still difficult to say, but we’re hopeful that rain keeps falling. It’s true that weather has a tricky way of becoming unpredictable, but as the rain pours the lake keeps inching ever-closer to the grounds of the festival. With any luck, soon the shimmering sunsets we have at LIB could be accompanied by a freshwater swimming hole, and that has us all very excited.

Lightning in a Bottle by a lake will take the experience to a whole ‘nother level, so get your tickets now and start dreaming of those incredible sunsets!



Photos and Video by LIB Site Ops Crew

by: Graham Berry