An interesting fellow named Manifest literally fell into my lap behind the Bamboo Stage. He had perched himself on top of the bamboo structure and dropped down nearly on top of me. “Sorry! Don’t worry, I built this thing!” he said with pride. Time for an interview!
Ok, let’s start with your name.
My name is Manifest. Just kind of one of the guys that has always been around this festival, just doing my thing. I got involved this year luckily with Bamboo DNA. They’re an amazing group of guys, a team. They build bamboo stages, and I’ve helped out before in the past, but this year I actually got to help out and become one of the team members. Everything about it: the teamwork, the camaraderie, the action, and then the ingenious of Mr. Gerard [Minakawa] himself, constantly coming up with a morphic system. He probably wouldn’t like me admitting to it, but he did this off the top of his head! Just an idea.
No plans or anything? No blueprints?
No blueprints. It’s just something where he kind of just took what he’d done in the past and morphed it into something new.
It looks totally wild, but neat at the same time. There is an order and a symmetry to it, too.
He’s very astute to the numbers and the counting. There are Fibonacci patterns in the stage.
Intentionally? Or unintentionally?
[Pauses] He told me where to put them and that’s what came of it, so I’d say that he saw that this was what it was cause… or who knows? It’s really strange especially since its bamboo. It looks like it’s so straight, but its so morphic. It has so much bend to it that for it to come out as well as it does, it looks so universal when all the pieces are so different. I just think it’s really quite amazing.
Definitely. Is it stable? You were just walking on top of it.
[Laughs] Oh, WHOAHHHH! [Mimes falling off]
That can be off the record if you wish.
No, I mean obviously while we’re building it, we’ve got six to ten people up and on it. The structure itself is super sound. That’s what’s so amazing about it. They were joking about hanging two aerialists from it. You could hang ten aerialists from it. It’s not going anywhere, that’s the beautiful part about it. The structure is so well done and then it’s lashed together. If you know anything about lashing and bamboo, it’s stronger than anything we build out of concrete and brick. So, it’s amazing to think of the structure weight that that can hold… and then no offense, but that is a heck of a lot more artistic than anything else I’ve seen at any random space. At the same time, it is a 120 ft., 14 ft. DJ stage. [Laughs]
Straight up, straight up. So you’ve been doing this for a while, right?
I’ve been working with festivals one way or another doing something. Last year I was a medic and I drove a shuttle here. The year before I did volunteer work. I’ve always had some kind of involvement with them and I’ve been slowly working through finding out my space and place.
How have you seen LIB grow throughout the couple years that you’ve been here?
Oh my god, well, I’m from Santa Barbara. It’s definitely more with the times now. It was a lot more laid back, mellow, and – if you could say the word – hippie. It was much natural and serene. It still had some big music, but not the same, now it’s much more of a headline stage. But it has also brought people with it up and through.
I mean you’ve got Lucent Dossier and things like that and some of the most amazing DJs, people that I personally didn’t know the names of but now they’re so big. It was really beautiful, my friends are here from Vegas and while I was out in Vegas they’re like [excited chatter] so I said we have to go say hi, and they’re like “Oh my god, really?!” I didn’t realize how lucky I was being on the inside and doing these festivals like Elysium and Fuente.
I got a chance to see the other side of it for a while and be just a performer at a certain show, and it was really cool to see all the different levels, and it’s fun to see difference of appreciation levels at the festival. I love the anonymity of watching the DJs and musicians walk around and people have NO clue. My friends are sitting there right next to me, and they’re talking about a really good DJ and I’m looking over and they’re RIGHT there. But they don’t know what they look like, they just know their music. That, to me, is such the beautiful thing about anonymity. You can be famous and at the same time still live your life. Everybody knows their artistry.
Personally I’m a big Pumpkin fan: I love his work, I think he is so underrated, and then Stephen Kaminanda last year got a huge thing last year at The Burn. He is amazing, and he is still so much more than he’s being given credit for, too. And they’re here! and I’m stoked that I get to hear them play. It’s been such a good turnaround. You can’t beat this, the energy is…
The name, Lightning in a Bottle, implies, at least to me, that you’re trying to catch something fleeting, or something seemingly unattainable, mostly something that disappears in an instant.
Well that was the thing. What I did was I just took my friend from Vegas up to the top of the stage. And I wanted him to experience something. He’s an amazing up-and-coming kid. He has these amazing insights of things that are existing in the world, but doesn’t know why yet. He was in Renaissance and he’s a champion fighter with a sword and et cetera. So he already has the mental skill.
It’s crazy to think of that with the talent when he spins poi. Watching how he learns how it generates, and finding that central focus, and being able to show that energy to others. Just watching him go from student, to pupil, to leader, and taking him up there and giving him an experience that very few patrons here are going to get a chance to do. Personally, I’ve taken two people up, and that’s because I think because it’s a very awesome experience and I don’t want to be the only one to get it.
But I do feel a little special because we got to build it, so that’s kind of our own little unique spot, but at the same time, god… it’s little chances to share those new things with others. That’s that lightening in a bottle that you’re talking about: how do you get something across to someone without them having to do all that mental anguish? It’s that little lightning in a bottle, and I just passed that on to him. That’s what I get out of it at least.
Well are you having a good weekend so far?
Yeah. [Pauses]. Definitely. It’s one good music festival after another. Usually I don’t go to the Bamboo Stage when I’m here. Usually I’m at Woogie or at the main headliners. I guess part of the madness of it is, I was part of making this happen and I feel so honored in that; I’m cherishing it. It’s like watching your baby grow and enjoying the nuance of life. I’m really not looking forward to taking it down. Can’t we just leave it?