A three-day festival combining music and food, BottleRock takes place in May and bills itself as The First Taste of Summer. Originating in 2013 as Napa Valley's first ever music festival, the annual event features a diverse lineup of both world-famous headliners and indie bands. Because the region is a renowned destination for wine and gourmet food, to complement the event's concerts, there are stands offering world-class wines to accompany culinary fare such as Wagyu beef sushi rolls and burgers topped with foie grass mousse. BottleRock is a feast for all the senses, and attendance makes for an unforgettable weekend.
Napa Valley is home to dozens of gourmet restaurants and eateries, so you can bet that you won't be downing nachos and pizza bagels at this festival. Instead, stands at BottleRock feature cuisine prepared by Michelin-starred chefs and James Beard Award winners. Festivalgoers indulge in lobster rolls, buttermilk fried chicken, ahi poke bowls, wood-fired pizza with organic arugula, paella, garlic fries, and lamb gyros, to name a few of the offerings. You can top it all off with a cup of gourmet coffee and a cupcake or a scoop of peanut butter curry ice cream.
A music festival in wine country means you get to hear your favorite bands while a sommelier fills your glass with top-notch California wine. Local vintners will have wine cabanas that serve as mini tasting rooms where you can sample everything from merlot to sparkling blanc de blancs. If you prefer beer to wine, craft beer from local breweries will be available, or you can indulge in a classic bourbon from the bourbon bar. There will also be a selection of craft cocktails prepared with brand-name gins, tequilas, and vodkas.
Family Zone: For those attending with kids, BottleRock provides an area with child-appropriate and fun activities, such as face painting, hair painting, games, and craft-making. A nursing and baby-changing station is also located there.
Spa: At what other music festival besides BottleRock are spa treatments available? You can enjoy mini facials, foot and body massages, glitter makeup, hydration therapy, and hair braiding and styling in the festival's spa tent.
Silent Disco: Featuring local DJs, the Silent Disco lets you dance the day and night away, and noise-cancelling headphones ensure that you will have a great dance experience even with the festival stages in proximity.
Although it's not confined to a single zone, art is an important part of BottleRock. Sculptures and murals by local artists can be seen throughout the venue, including Laura Kimpton's famous LOVE sculpture, a perennially popular BottleRock selfie spot.
Festival amenities include ATMs, Apple Pay Fast Lanes at food and beverage stands, first-aid stations, a general store, refill water stations, and a lost-and-found. To make attendance more comfortable and worry-free, lockers in which to keep personal belongings will be available. Cell-charging stations will be located nearby, and you can reserve a locker on the event's website prior to arriving at the festival.
BottleRock takes place at the Napa Valley Expo and Fairgrounds, which is located at 575 3rd St, Napa, CA 94559. Napa Valley, situated about 50 miles northeast of San Francisco, has a sunny climate that's perfect for hosting outdoor events, with an average high in May of 78 degrees Fahrenheit and an average low of 48 degrees.
Of course, the big draw for the event is the lineup of amazing musicians, which typically features a cross section of big names and up-and-comers performing diverse musical genres from rock 'n' roll to country, reggae, and rap. Over 80 musical acts are scheduled to appear on BottleRock's five music stages this year with Rock & Roll Hall of Famers and Grammy winners among the many performers. These are some of the festival's highlight acts, broken down by day:
Friday: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Miley Cyrus, Brandi Carlile, Jimmy Eat World, Foals, Local Natives, and Finneas
Saturday: Stevie Nicks, Khalid, Janelle Monae, Blondie, Maggie Rogers, Empire of the Sun, Tegan and Sara, and Of Monsters and Men
Sunday: Dave Matthews Band, Anderson Paak & The Free Nationals, The Avett Brothers, Zedd, Iration, Michael Franti & Spearhead, and Maren Morris
A very different kind of entertainment takes place on BottleRock's Culinary Stage, which fuses outdoor cooking demonstrations with celebrity sightings and spontaneous onstage musical performances. Celebrity chefs, actors, singers, athletes, cookbook authors, and TV cooking competition winners pair up to put on a spirited show for festival attendees as they prepare dishes, roll sushi, and decorate cakes together.
Driving an RV to the festival is a good way to attend while still having the comforts of home at hand, and it lets you avoid expenses like hotels and restaurant meals. To accommodate campers, the organizers of the BottleRock festival have partnered with Skyline Wilderness Park to offer campsites. However, RVers cannot book RV sites on the event's website. You must go directly to Skyline Wilderness Park's webpage to make reservations.
Located about 2 miles from the festival's venue, Skyline Wilderness has 39 sites, some with electricity, water, and sewage hookups and others with only electricity and water. Dry camping is also permitted. A stay of at least two nights is required. Hiking, golf, archery, biking, and fishing are available at the park, so you'll have plenty to do if you want to extend your stay at the park beyond the festival's dates. Shuttle bus service from the park's campsite to the festival will be available for a flat rate of $35 per person for the duration of the event.
If RVing sounds like a great way to experience the BottleRock festival but you don't own an RV of your own, RVshare has you covered. RV owners who aren't using their RVs rent them out to others on the site, and RVshare lets you filter the available choices by type of RV, price, and number of passengers so that you can easily find the ideal vehicle.
If you have an RV, Napa Valley Expo RV Park has 28 sites and is located half a mile from the event venue. The park offers Wi-Fi and full hookups. Another option is the Tradewinds RV Park in Vallejo, which is about 17 miles from BottleRock. Hookups include free Wi-Fi and cable. There are also two choices for RV camping at nearby Lake Berryessa only 20 miles from the Napa Valley Expo. Pleasure Cove Resort and Marina offers 26 RV sites with hookups while dry camping is available at the Steele Canyon Campground.
If you do not have an RV, the event webpage has a direct link to a booking site where you can choose from among several area hotels and bed-and-breakfast inns. Some are located in Napa, and others are in neighboring towns such as Yountville, Calistoga, Santa Rosa, Sonoma, and Fairfield.
The Napa Valley Expo is located just off Highway 121, also known as the Silverado Trail. If you're coming from the south, turn left onto 3rd Street. If you're traveling from the north, turn right onto 3rd Street.
If you're traveling northbound on Highway 221, it becomes Highway 121 at Imola Avenue. If you're traveling southbound on Highway 29, exit at Imola Avenue and turn left, continue on Imola, and then turn left again onto Highway 121.
General admission parking for lots not far from the venue's entrances will be sold by private parties. Prepaid parking passes available online sometimes include shuttle service to the festival. It's also possible to find non-metered street parking in the downtown Napa area with the festival only a short walk away. Private parking lots work with some platforms such as Parqyt to offer reserved parking for one, two, or three days as well as overnight parking and RV parking for BottleRock.
As the influx of festivalgoers can make parking challenging, the event's organizers encourage attendees to use alternate means of transportation to reach the festival venue. Napa Transit will be offering free rides on its VINE bus service routes in the city of Napa with extended service hours. There's also free bicycle parking at the venue. You must bring your own lock.
Tickets may be purchased directly from the BottleRock Napa Valley website. In case the event sells out, BottleRock has partnered with Lyte, a ticket exchange platform, to ensure that anyone buying re-sold tickets receives official versions and doesn't become a victim of fraud.
Prices for general admission tickets start at $159 for a one-day ticket and $349 for a three-day ticket. There are also one-day and three-day VIP tickets that start at $359 and $799, respectively, and include access to separate fast-lane entrances and exits as well as the exclusive VIP Village, which features upgraded restroom facilities, premium bars, additional culinary offerings, and shaded seating.
A three-day Skydeck pass starts at $1,599 and includes access to an elevated viewing platform with shaded seating and unlimited cocktails, wine, and beer at the Skydeck bars. For the ultimate in premium music festival experiences, there's the three-day Platinum pass, which gives festival guests access to special meet and greets with festival performers, front-row viewing areas, private on-site parking, concierge services, air-conditioned seating areas, and gourmet food, wines, and artisanal cocktails in the festival's Platinum Lounge. This ticket starts at $4,350.
Children 6 years of age and under who are accompanied by a paying adult can enter the festival for free. There is a limit of two free child entrances per ticketed adult.
Unlike many music festivals, BottleRock is pretty kid-friendly, so it's an event the whole family can attend together, and it makes a great addition to a road trip for the holiday weekend. If you attend, be sure to take plenty of photos and send them to [email protected] for a chance to be part of RVshare's blog or social media channels.
Be sure to follow @BottleRockNapa on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for updates about the event!