On May 28, 29 & 30th the Napa Valley Expo hosted the 3rd annual BottleRock festival showcasing more than 70 bands over three days with a wide spectrum of musical genres which included rock, hip-hop, country, jazz and electronica catering to both young and old. After a rough 1st year in 2013, the music, wine and culinary extravaganza, which takes place in the heart of Napa Valley, California seemed dead, when original promoters faced millions in losses. Two years later, a new production outfit and a sold-out attendance that drew close to 100,000, the festival looks like it has got new life and a great concept that brings together everything that Napa Valley offers.
“This is Napa, and that means food, wine, weather and now we’re bringing in the music – we want to have something for everyone,” said David Graham of Latitude 38 Entertainment, the festival’s producer.
Musical highlights over the three days included Day 1 performances by rockers Cage the Elephant that showed lead singer, Mathew Shultz, crowd surfing across a sea of fans. Hip-hop greats Public Enemy, which included original members Chuck D and Flavor Fav, played all their classics. The night ended with Imagine Dragons playing one of their best sets on the Intel stage while Michael Franti & Spearhead shared his good vibes on the Jams Cellar stage. Day 2 brought stellar performances by Alaska’s Portugal. The Man, ZZ Ward and Electronic dance rockers Capital Cities, but the night belonged to the legendary Robert Plant who delivered a fiery performance of solo’s as well as classics including “Whole Lotta Love” and “Black Dog” and reminding fans of the magnitude of Led Zeppelin. Music highlights for Day 3 belonged to AWOLNATION who delivered arguably the most intense set of the festival, hip-hop hero Snoop Dogg who brought his charismatic swag and of course headliners No Doubt, as Gwen Stefani battled microphone and video issues to guide fans through an incredible set. Beyond the music, fans were treated to Napa Valley wine culture with lots of local wineries on hand. It was clear that food also played a big part in the festival with lots of great options. The Williams-Sonoma culinary stage was a highlight, showcasing a mash-up of top chefs cooking with music artists that included Snoop Dogg rolling sushi with Chef Morimoto and Public Enemies’ Flavor Flav frying up the chicken & waffles with Chef Voltaggio.
All in all BottleRock seemed like it was well organized and there was a good feeling amongst the crowd that they were all part of a new festival experience that showcased everything that is special to Napa Valley’s culture. Hats off to Latitude 38 and very excited to see what’s in store for the 2016 edition as dates and tickets have already been announced.
Visit www.bottlerocknapa.com for more information.
Photo Credit: Bianka Solares & Ben Vadi