For an unfortunate majority, EDM festivals are a place to abuse their bodies and test the limits of their endurance. However, one woman with leukemia went on a journey to a very special electronic dance music festival, Lightning in a Bottle, for the complete opposite reason: as a part of her healing process.

After an arduous road to remission that took nearly two years, Stephanie Stearns was longing to dance like she used to at a party that also provided a quality space for her son, and Lightning in a Bottle was the perfect fit. It boasts a mere 24,000 attendees and a plethora of speakers on health & wellness, sustainability and more; and the festival even takes strides to accommodate attendees with children via a “Kidz Village” and Family Camp – in place to ensure everyone has a great time. More importantly perhaps, LIB retains an OG vibe and is hosted in a beautiful, several-acre area of Northern California.


Stephanie and her friend, Lori Denman-Underhill of LA Weekly, also discovered the healing properties of essential oils, and even walked away with a supplemental medicine for Stephanie’s current cancer treatments. A combination of Cannabis-derived CBDs and other oils, excluding the psychoactive THC components, the hemp-based formula is meant to aid in the stimulation of Stephanie’s immune system. Combined with a chakra-balancing “Sound Bath,” Stephanie was not only exposed to several different alternative healing techniques over the course of the festival, but also extremely positive vibes and kind individuals which made her Lightning in a Bottle experience all the more special.

The defining moment for Stephanie, however, was a vicarious moment with her young son of three, Tyler.

“I don’t know what the track was, or the artist, but there was [one] saying, ‘I’m a dancer, not the DJ.’ And my son danced for the first time here. He won’t dance for me at home. But the first thing he did when he arrived is he peeled off to the side, took a little tangent and got down on the dance floor in front of Mom!”

Read the full story about Stephanie’s incredible journey and the healing power of electronic dance music on LA Weekly here.