All images courtesy of BottleRock Napa Valley [See individual photos for credit]
Napa Wine Country was transformed into a rocking party when BottleRock Napa Valley welcomed more than 100,000 music, food and wine fans during its third annual installment in downtown Napa from Friday, May 29 – Sunday, May 31.
For music lovers who haven’t yet experienced BottleRock, what you should know is that this isn’t your typical music festival. Consider it a somewhat posh, peaceful, laid-back alternative to the heavy-duty, rock-till-you-drop music festivals of the world. Guest VIP passes included special access to VIP areas and backstage meet and greets, while the regular pass will get you access to all the stages, food-court [fully equipped with picnic table seating], and beautiful grounds to lay back and relax.
This year’s festival brought the goods! Music acts, rock star chefs, restaurants and vintners were seamlessly woven into the fabric of this festival. Memorable mash-ups took place throughout the weekend on the Williams-Sonoma Culinary Stage. Chef Lin teamed up with The Mowgli’s to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a high-end twist, based on food items from the band’s tour rider. Chef Moonen partnered with fellow Las Vegas rocker Ben McKee of Imagine Dragons to create a salmon dish with truffles and as the demonstration was wrapping the rest of the band jumped on stage to surprise the crowd and sample the dish. To say the set with Flavor Flav and Chef Voltaggio was over-the-top was an understatement, the duo cooked up chicken and waffles with hot sauce ice cream.
Rocker Scott Weiland and bandmate Tommy Black, actor Earl Brown and Oenotri’s Chef Tyler Rodde showcased how to properly prep and cook a full pig. Singers Michael Franti and Zella Day surprised the crowd and performed a song about pizza during their demonstration with Wavy Gravy and Chef Dario De Conti of Ca’Momi. Another surprise included Adrian Young of No Doubt joining singer Kelley James and Chef Ken Frank of La Toque on stage to chip freshly-made marshmallows into the crowd with a golf club. The final demonstration was one for the record books, thousands flocked to the culinary stage to catch Snoop Dogg rolling (sushi that is) with Chef Morimoto.
Then of course, there’s the music. Over the course of three days, a world-class lineup of more than 90 performers graced the five stages including Imagine Dragons, No Doubt, Robert Plant, The Avett Brothers, Foster the People, Passion Pit, Snoop Dogg, Cage The Elephant, Gipsy Kings, Young the Giant, Capital Cities, AWOLNATION, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Portugal The Man, American Authors, Public Enemy, Trampled By Turtles, Los Lobos, The Chris Robinson Brotherhood, ZZ Ward, Echosmith, Brett Dennen, Scott Weiland & the Wildabouts, and more.
Friday headliner Imagine Dragons performed mega hits “Radioactive,” “Demons,” “I Bet My Life,” and covers including “Stand By Me” and a striped down version of “Forever Young.” During one song, lead singer Dan Reynolds jumped down into the crowd and sang while fans held him up. He also took a break to talk about how much he loves his two year old daughter and although there are nights he wishes he could be home with her, he loves performing and feels lucky to be in the music industry.
Legendary musician Robert Plant brought his old school rock to closed-out Saturday night. The former Led Zeppelin frontman performed band favorites “Black Dog,” “Dazed and Confused,” and “Whole Lotta Love” as well as his new tracks “Turn It Up, “Rainbow,” and “Little Maggie.”
Closing out the festival on Sunday was No Doubt. The lovable, high-energy group celebrated a 20-year reunion with hits like “Hella Good,” “Ex-Girlfriend,” and “Hey Baby.” Lead singer Gwen Stefani was her usual animated self, jumping and dancing around on stage. She even stopped singing to take selfies with members of the crowd.
The excitement was not just restricted to the stages, a number of celebrities and performers were seen hanging out in the crowd and enjoying the festival. The Mowgli’s rode their bikes through the event grounds and Michael Franti was seen playing a guitar, walking down the main street of the festival, which turned into an impromptu parade. As we mentioned, this isn’t your typical music festival.
Following a successful sold-out 2015 weekend, BottleRock Napa Valley also announced a limited quantity tickets on sale for the fourth annual music, food, wine, and brew festival May 27 – 29, 2016, Memorial Day weekend. For more on BottleRock Napa Valley or to purchase tickets for the 2016 festival, visit the website www.bottlerocknapavalley.com.