Celebrating its sixth year, BottleRock Napa Valley extended its stance as one of the premier music festivals in the nation. Known as the “first taste of summer,” the three-day music and culinary festival took over wine country this Memorial Day weekend with Bruno Mars, Muse, and The Killers at the top of its lineup.
Heavily influenced by the “Rock,” this year’s festival featured some of the genre’s most promising artists, with a strong inclination to the roots of blues and soul. Demonstrating a modern taste of these traits, artists such as Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Shakey Graves, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Jacob Banks, The Head and The Heart, Durand Jones & The Indications and Allen Stone made for a memorable showcase.
Perhaps the most promising attraction to BottleRock’s grand appeal is its ability to integrate a timeless soundtrack to Napa’s world-class landscape and its lavish selection of culinary and wine options. Together with celebrity chefs and musical guests, the Williams Sonoma culinary stage hosts some of the festival’s most sought-after performances.
This year’s culinary lineup featured Snoop Dogg, Warren G and chef Michael Voltaggio, who set the Guinness World Record for the biggest ‘Gin and Juice’ cocktail with 180 bottles of gin, 154 bottles of apricot brandy and 38 jugs of orange juice.
In addition, hall of fame athletes such as Shaun White, Ronnie Lott, Charles Woodson, Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Bonds and the Harlem Globetrotters joined the likes of celebrity chefs Duff Goldman, Charlie Palmer, and Masaharu Morimoto for some unforgettable cooking demos. Comedian George Lopez was also in attendance, with a surprise performance from BottleRock favorite Michael Franti.
Throughout the weekend, festival guests reveled in the presence of musical acts that have defined periods of our life, both past and present. Earth Wind & Fire rocked through an hour of classics on Friday as founding members Philip Bailey, Ralph Johnson and Verdine White demonstrated just as much enthusiasm as the generations of fans in attendance.
On the same day, Beastie Boys’ Mike D had many reminiscing on the golden days of rap as his DJ set was full of classic gems, including a few he rapped to. Billy Idol was a pure delight on Saturday where many fans were caught up in songs like “Dancing With Myself” and “Rebel Yell.”
On Sunday night, Bruno Mars cheekily deemed BottleRock as “the fancy Coachella,” prior to strutting his lavish performance of hits such as “24K Magic,” “That’s What I Like” and “Versace on the Floor,” among older favorites such as “Locked Out of Heaven.” With fireworks setting exclamation points to his performance seemingly throughout his thrilling set, it begs to ask what BottleRock will do to top itself in the years to come.
Across five stages, each with a vibe of its own, BottleRock seems to have perfected its recipe for the audience it caters to, though a stronger female presence could help. The timeless approach to its musical lineup has clearly payed off with sold-out crowds of all ages. While festivals like Coachella battle to grasp the current stream of popular artists, BottleRock has shown it has no competition when it comes to the combination of timeless culinary and musical entertainment.
BottleRock Napa Valley 2019 is set to take place May 24-26, 2019.
For more information on BottleRock, visit BottleRockNapaValley.com.
Enjoy a selection of photos from some of the weekend’s most memorable performances, below.
Photos by Cesar Alexander, if not courtesy of BottleRock Napa Valley.