NAPA, Calif. BottleRock Napa Valley has just wrapped up its 6th installment of this year’s 3-day festival. We came, we drank, we ate and we rocked! Boy did we ever! This festival keeps getting better year after year.
BottleRock Napa Valley is a three-day extravaganza that celebrates making music, wine, food, beer, craft cocktails and art in historic downtown Napa. 80+ bands rocked BottleRock’s five stages (six if you include the secret VIP stage) over the course of the 3-day event. Thousands of glasses of Napa Valley wine were consumed, and beyond delicious culinary delights were happily devoured.
So here’s the best of the fest:
BottleRock Napa Valley – The Music
This festival touted a musical line-up sure to impress even the pickiest of music fans: The Killers, Bruno Mars, Muse, The Chainsmokers, Halsey, The Struts, The Record Company, Billy Idol, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Thievery Corporation, The Revivalists, and Earth, Wind & Fire along with 80 other artists. 80+ artists! That’s a lot to try and see in three days.
Here’s who impressed the most:
- Muse: high expectations and totally delivered. Excellent live band with fabulous art direction on stage. Plus, they are not too hard on the eyes either.
- Billy Idol: everyone loved him, still rockin’ after a lifetime of rock n’ roll. His voice is a little rough, but whose wouldn’t be after the life he’s lived. He even performed Dancin’ with Myself much to the delight of the crowd. His iconic sneer still woos the ladies, even at 62 years young.
- Snoop Dog: Many festival-goers started at the Killers and finished at Snoop. He really played well to the festival crowd showcasing the world’s largest gin and juice as well as stripper pole dancers. Laid back…
- Thievery Corporation: Anyone that waded through the crowds at Bruno Mars missed an incredible performance by Thievery Corporation. The roar heard throughout the crowd was that it was the best live performance they’ve ever seen. Ever in their lives.
- Michael Franti & Spearhead: Franti has played at all six BottleRocks. He’s the only performer to do this. He is the very soul of this festival. He obviously loves BR and BR loves him.
- The Struts: we were first introduced to this band last year at BR and they just keep impressing us. They embody the very essence of old school rock n’ roll. Think Queen meets Jack White meets the Rolling Stones with their own special rockin’ flare.
- The Record Company: these guys are just an excellent rock n’ roll band with a twist of blues around the rim. Just leaves the crowd wanting more. Lucky for us they are on tour and will be performing in San Francisco at the Fillmore September 14th and 15th.
- The Chainsmokers: this dynamic duo continually impresses, especially live. With such a diverse sound that is amplified live. Call them Indie, Progressive Pop. It doesn’t matter, just don’t miss their next show.
Alice Merton, Amy Shark, The Bleachers, Lake Street Dive Essentials, Shakey Graves, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Trombone Shorty, Soja, New Politics, Liz Huett, NoMBe and Mondo Cozmo.
High expectations, but didn’t live up to the hype:
- The Killers: Heard lots of mixed reviews on these rock n’ roll journeymen. Many people were convinced that they weren’t singing live, even if they were, they phoned their performance in a bit. I think the die-hard fans looked past this and were just excited to see them.
BottleRock Napa Valley – The Wine, Booze & Beer All Stars
Nothing goes together better than live music and adult beverages. They take the edge off from your week and help you settle in for a rockin’ evening of wine swirling, beer gulping and hip wiggling to your favorite tunes. No one knows this better than Napa Valley and BottleRock. No one went thirsty while listening to their favorite music.
- Miner Family Winery: Rosato, Viognier & Sangiovese
- Schramsberg & Domaine Chandon: Everything bubbly from these Napa Valley icons was great
- St. Supery Winery: Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé
- Twomey: Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
- Scott Beattie: They mix a mean cocktail
- Napa Palisades Beer Company (Napa CA)
- Fort Point Brewing Company (San Francisco CA)
BottleRock Napa Valley – The Tasty Morsels
The BottleRock food menu of offerings reflected Napa’s vibrant culinary scene. They featured a variety of delicious nibbles and bites from many of the area’s finest chefs and restaurateurs that pair perfectly with a glass of artisan wine or craft brew. Festival-goers got up close and personal with some of these tasty morsels by visiting the Culinary Stage. There, BR offered up mouth-watering mash-ups of popular musical artists and iconic Napa chefs. It is impossible to taste all the food at BR. So between what we tried ourselves and polling the crowds, here are the standout culinary delights.
- Southside Cafe: Rock shrimp tostada that was so fresh and tasty you had to slap yourself to remind you that it was festival food.
- Mustards: Slow smoked brisket sliders with housemade B&B pickels with apple cider slaw.. totally amazing.
- Farm at Carneros Inn: Duck confit tacos with blue corn tortillas, mole verde, avocado, spicy pickled onions and queso fresco. Absolutely delicious and worth more than we paid.
- Johnny Doughnuts: These fried little pieces of heaven were nearly orgasmic.
- Goose & Gander: G&G burger, grass fed beef, gruyere cheese, bacon, remoulade, manhattan pickle and duck fat fries (yeah, duck fat fries!)
- Danny’s Vegan: No lines and the food was incredible. Didn’t even realize it was vegan until after we finished.
- Two Guys: Chicken fingers and fries were epic. Best we’ve ever had. Maybe that’s a low bar, but seriously juicy and cravable.
- Tarla:Beef gyro was amazing and a good value.
- Morimoto: Sticky ribs w/tamarind glaze. These are loaded with fall-off-the-bone goodness.
- Bouchon: Ham & cheese sandwich on viennois baguette with butter, Dijon mustard, Jambon de Paris & Gruyère cheese (insert mouthwatering emoji here). You’ll swear you died and went to France.
- Culinary Stage: Crawfish bowl with Chef Aaron Sanchez and Muhammad Ali’s daugher Laila Ali. Da mud bugs be goin’ down!
How to BottleRock Next Year
BottleRock has only been getting more popular as the festival organizers continue to improve and promote the festival. To meet demand, they increased the number of general admission tickets available. As well as creating more levels of VIP to really push up the luxury side of the festival. With more people attending, everything will be stressed. Lines will be longer to get in the door, to get food, to get drinks and to use the bathroom.
If you have the means, the VIP experience is absolutely worth the investment. Last year BottleRock created a VIP only pass-thru between the two main stages, making traveling from the Jam Cellars Stage to the Midway Stage a lot easier. Add in the added attractions, including more shade in VIP. Plus more seats, more food and a special tented area where artists perform pop-up shows of the greatest intimacy and the VIP deal is sealed.
If you plan to attend BottleRock next year, do yourself a favor and cover a few things now:
- Book your hotel. As soon as 2019 hits, more people will start booking. Be prepared to pay a hefty price, but the convenience of walking to and from the festival cannot be discounted.
- If you don’t care about staying right in downtown Napa, check out nearby Sonoma and American Canyon for less expensive hotel alternatives.
- Calendar the date that the tickets go on sale. They will sell out quickly. Buy for all three days. Even if you don’t end up going each day, you can always sell your unused tickets.
- If there is someone you really really really want to see, go to that stage early and camp out. Bruno Mars this year was totally packed with crowds. We heard complaints from everyone, even those in VIP.
For more information on BottleRock visit this link.
Check out video highlights of this year’s BottleRock Napa Valley.
Save the date: 2019 BottleRock, May 24th – 26th.