The fate of Lightning in a Bottle 2013 was originally unclear, as the music festival was forced out of its former venue in Orange County due to zoning changes. But it resumed this past weekend at Temecula's Lake Skinner Recreational Area, a beautiful, serene space. Of course, attendees weren't allowed to swim in the lake, (seriously, there was a sign in front of the lake that said, “If you swim in the lake the festival will be shut down”), and there were even reports that the showers were closed due to issues with nudity. Indeed crowd control issues have become increasingly central as the event has ballooned to more than 14,000 people.
Turns out there were undercover police officers on the scene who arrested folks for dealing drugs — and about 60 were arrested on drug charges all told. Attendees weren't down with that, surprise surprise, and some think the festival's police presence was too heavy. (Personally, we thought they employed a light touch, but festival organizers are asking those who had issues with law enforcement to report them.)
But another question is: What did the police think of all the wacky dreadlocked kids and their twirly sticks? Below, Sergeant Dean Spivacke of the Temecula Police Department shares his thoughts:
What's your take on Lightning in a Bottle?
We usually work out at Coachella fest, so it's quite similar to that.
What do you make of the crowd?
The crowd is a little bit more free with themselves here than they are at Coachella fest, but they're just expressing themselves. They're mellow, nice and respectful. We haven't had much of any problems. They're just enjoying themselves and their music. Everything's all good.
What have been the primary issues this weekend?
We're seeing quite a bit of dehydration and heat exhaustion. Some drug overdoses. We made a number of arrests for drug-related offenses, but we've had hardly any fights at all between the patrons. They seem to really respect the law enforcement and appreciate that we're here. Overall it's been pretty good, given the number of people here.
What has been your experience working with organizers the Do Lab?
They're very cooperative with us. Obviously they have certain obligations they have to fulfill to the county and to the sheriff's department to contract with us to provide law enforcement. The working environment they've created is quite nice.
Do you like the music?
Some of it I actually like quite a bit, but a lot of it is just the same beat over and over. It's just thumpin'.