I'm really excited because one of the newspapers I freelance for is sending me to the Napa BottleRock festival at the end of May! So many incredible bands and acts to see. If anyone is in Northern California, this is definitely a festival you need to see.
Though it's sold out, you can attend aftershows and pre-festival events in downtown Napa.
Here's a fun summary of what you can expect if you visit this festival:
Summer in California conjures up images of happy people hiking, winding road trips to Big Sur and of course wine country.
Napa Valley is world-renowned for its vineyards and wineries alongside Sonoma County, it is the world’s premiere place for hospitality. On the heels of Coachella, the biggest musical farce since the Monty Python Musical, BottleRock brings some serious musicians and even more serious wine.
Naturally music and wine go together, and nothing sounds cooler on a hot summer day than sloshing around to the world’s best acts with your Pinot Noir.
That’s where we get the BottleRock Napa Valley music festival, a three-day extravaganza hosting some of the most legendary acts of today. One of the most diverse festivals, BottleRock has gained a reputation for good food, great wine, and incredible culture.
This year’s line-up seems to cater to hipster crowds and yuppies alike with three famous and unique acts.
By the way, Gordon Ramsay will be giving a cooking demonstration too. I'm obviously excited for that.
Friday’s kickoff will be finished out by none other than Stevie Wonder, the Motown legend who has been churning out hits since 1963. He was just 12 years old when his first song “Fingertips” hit airwaves. Since then his career has taken a legendary shape with over 30 top 10 hits.
Supporting him will be guitar virtuoso and legend in his own right, Lenny Kravitz, synth-pop indie darlings Grouplove and crunchy granola-rock mainstay Michael Franti and Spearhead. Buddy Guy will lend his talents during a midday slot. And as always you can discover new music in the morning.
Grammy winners Florence and the Machine will grace the headlining slot Saturday night. Their hits “The Dog Days Are Over”, “You Got Love”, “Shake It Out” and “Ship To Wreck” are sure to rock the normally quiet vineyards of Napa. Florence Welch’s unique vocal style coupled by the gypsy-inspired rock flare of her Machine have made the band a live act to watch since their debut in 2007.
Earlier in the day you can catch sets from English rock and rollers, The Struts who boast a sound influenced by indie legends The Libertines as well as Queen, The Rolling Stones, and Oasis. Definitely an act I wouldn’t want to miss.
I absolutely will have to drop in on them. Any association with The Libertines gets me excited.
Of course the pop darlings of last summer Walk The Moon will thrill younger crowds with their number one hit, “Shut Up And Dance” which didn’t leave radio stations until, well, never. Ziggy Marley will give a stellar performance as always and for the aging emo fans, Death Cab for Cutie will play on Saturday too.
The last day of a festival is usually the best because organizers want fans to purchase weekend passes. If you have three stellar acts headlining, you’re sure to sell out.
California natives the Red Hot Chili Peppers are always a good choice. They’re loud, brash and can really play their instruments. Bassist Flea is one of the best who ever lived as well as drummer Chad Smith. His resemblance to Will Ferrell is irrelevant. Of course, there’s Anthony Kiedis, whose lyrics and incredible stage presence make RHCP a must see live act.
I hope that Kiedis is better, as he was hospitalized for "severe stomach pain" right before the KROQ Weenie Roast, where they were supposed to play alongside Panic! At The Disco and Blink 182.
Mumford-style rock act The Lumineers will fulfill the hipster quota for Sunday and gypsy-punks Golgol Bordello, who appear on nearly every festival docket each year despite not having released a record since 2013 will inject some energy into the afternoon. One of my favorite artists Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness will bring some indie sincerity to the afternoon and give all the wine-drunk people something to raiser their glass to.
Although BottleRock has sold out completely at this point, there are still after shows featuring Cheech & Chong (perfect for those old school stoners who happened to wander into Napa), Gogol Bordello, San Fermin and others. Chichi & Chong will play at the Uptown Theater in downtown Napa on Thursday, May 26th. They are the true kickoff of the festival.
All artists aside, summer music festivals are really about letting go. The sun comes out, the music is played, and everyone around you is either drunk, high or someone’s dad. Either way, this festival is sure to be an incredible time. I mean, what can go wrong with wine, beer, music and sunshine?