Why BottleRock Napa Valley Is Unlike Any Other Festival

Performance on Friday

Photo Credit: Courtesy BottleRock Napa Valley

Despite the unideal weather, BottleRock Napa Valley was a spectacular success. This year’s sold out event took place last weekend over Memorial Day in downtown Napa. Over 120,000 people came to see Imagine Dragons and Logic on Friday, Neil Young and Pharrell Williams on Saturday, and Mumford & Sons and Santana on Sunday.

Cocktails in a suite

Photo Credit: Courtesy BottleRock Napa Valley

BottleRock markets itself as a festival unlike any other, and after experiencing the three day extravaganza for the first time, I couldn’t agree more. It is a distinct festival that represents everything the valley is known for, from superb hospitality to delicious cuisine. What makes BottleRock unique? Let me count the ways.


Photo Credit: Courtesy BottleRock Napa Valley

First, it’s much smaller than Outside Lands or Coachella, and that’s a good thing. You’re able to move from stage to stage quickly, so if you wanted to catch both Juanes and Pharrell perform, you easily could. This doesn’t mean that the days aren’t packed with musical performances. There were six stages with over 75 acts including intimate acoustic sets and a silent disco—and yet there’s a charming nostalgic quality to the event. It has a sort of old-school small-town fair vibe, and even though there are tons of people, you’ll run into someone you know. And the bands performing were fantastic!

A bucket of Ad Hoc fried chicken

Photo Credit: @katfoodsf

Second, the food and wine lineup is insane and read like a who’s who of the most prominent chefs and vintners of the valley. Roll call: Mustard’s Grill, Morimoto, Cook’s Tavern, Brix, Chappellet, Duckhorn, Raymond, Schramsberg, and many more. Thomas Keller’s offerings from Ad Hoc (fantastic buttermilk fried chicken) and La Calenda (superb carnitas tacos) were particularly noteworthy. Also delicious? Chef Aaron Meneghelli of Farm at Carneros’ ham and white cheddar panini with sliced tomato on sourdough bread. After a rock out session to Gary Clark Jr., the sandwich hit the spot!

A scene from the culinary stage

Photo Credit: Courtesy BottleRock Napa Valley

Third, the VIP experience, well the very VIP experience, which the BottleRock team refers to as platinum, is out of this world. Meadowood Napa Valley oversees everything in the platinum tent, from the artisanal cocktails to a menu that includes hog island oysters and items inspired by the chefs who appeared at the Williams Sonoma culinary stage—like a seafood spread that showcases the Voltaggio brothers. The whole thing is so luxe that you feel like you’re at Meadowood! Platinum ticket holders are treated to exclusive backstage areas with unparalleled views of the main stages and have the chance to meet and greet the artists.

Jeff Goldblum

Photo Credit: Courtesy BottleRock Napa Valley

Speaking of the artists, the fourth thing that makes BottleRock special is the artist experience. There is an entire pop-up restaurant with paella, caviar, and wood-fired pizzas that caters to the musicians. There’s also a wine tasting lounge where the artists can mix and mingle with local winemakers while tasting their varietals.

White Panda and the silent disco

Photo Credit: Courtesy BottleRock Napa Valley

Fifth, BottleRock’s proximity to downtown Napa means that the after parties are as fun as the main event. It’s a short ten-minute walk from the event location to the bar scene in downtown Napa and many places like Cadet host fabulous after parties. All in all, the 2019 BottleRock Napa Valley was a memorable event, and I can’t wait for next year.