BottleRock Napa

BottleRock Blasts Napa Valley

Ridiculous non-controversy aside, event an unqualified success

In its wake, BottleRock, which rolled through Napa May 9–12, and was an unheralded success, has left little doubt that that Valley could play host to festival of this size. Though that hasn’t stopped a few local denizens from carping about traffic (which was startlingly light), VINE bus delays (which were about what they normally are on a hectic weekend, really), noise and crowds. The killjoys seem ti be in a small minority though, and the general consensus has been that the event’s organizers, especially considering this was a first-time effort, hit all the right notes.

The success led the organizers, WillPower Productions, to start selling tickets for next year’s event on the day that this year’s festival closed. The three days of music, wine (and beer, lots of beer), food and comedy in Napa of BottleRock, it seems, is here to say — joining the likes of Coachella, Outside Lands and Bonnaroo.

Mix position No. 2Regardless of how you feel about super-size concert festivals — which rightly have been likened to all-you-can-eat musical buffets that leave you feeling, stuffed, bloated and hollow — the organizers, staff, volunteers and vendors all did a tremendous job in pulling off what was a herculean effort.

Food from the likes of La Condessa, Oenotri, Kitchen Door, La Toque and food services organizer Cindy Pawlcyn was a significant step up form traditional fare — though maybe not yet at the insane-level of Brooklyn’s GoogaMooga (we had the Girl and the Fig making grilled cheese; they had Northern Spy serving up a breakfast sandwich with sous-vide eggs). Parking, which could have been a nightmare, was as much trouble as a trip to the mall (which for some, is still too much trouble): there were always shuttles waiting to ferry concertgoers back and forth from the main lot and Downtown Napa businesses made hay while the speakers were blaring, with an ungodly number of unofficial parking lots popping up offering parking for from $25 to $100, and the Napa Bicycle Coalition set up a free bike valet.

And the wine tents surrounding each of the three main stages (Wildcat Vintage maintained a fourth smaller stage for local acts) brought the a little bit of the Wine Country tasting experience (which can be alternately wonderful or absurd) to the festival.

In the end, the only people who seemed dissatisfied were those who didn’t go.

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Top photo by Emily Radcliffe. All others by John Capone/TableToGrave unless otherwise noted.