by Stephen Langsam
BottleRock is back, but this time over the Labor Day weekend instead of the Memorial Day weekend. The festival which is usually the kickoff to summer, is now the kickoff to fall. This year features some incredible acts, although one headliner in Stevie Nicks cancelled due to the Covid Delta variant. The festival did not compromise when finding her replacement though as Chris Stapleton fits in as the Friday night headliner. The Saturday and Sunday headliners are Guns and Roses and Foo Fighters respectively. There are several other fantastic acts to catch, including some of my favorites Cage the Elephant, Portugal the Man, Young the Giant and Jimmy Eat World.
Like in years past there are also several great chefs in attendance such as The Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, legendary chef Jose Adres, local favorite chef Ayesha Curry wife of Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry, and Roy Choi from The Chef Show and owner of Kogi Truck, one of the original Korean BBQ food trucks will be cooking up tasty bites. These chefs in addition to a few artists who will dawn aprons and guitars will do their best to keep festival goers’ taste buds satisfied as they put on shows over the weekend at the Williams Sonoma Culinary Stage.
In addition to the fantastic music choices, and mouthwatering food selections which are fantastic reasons to come out to the festival, that’s not all that BottleRock has in store. It’s still about giving back to the community and creating a sustainable environment to live in. Some of the big keys for this years festival include eliminating all single use plastic bottles on site, recycling all wine corks, aluminum cans, glass and more. Creating a reusable wine glass program with Govino, and donating all food left over food that would be perishable to To Waste Not Napa.
The 22 touchless water refill stations this year will save around 269,000 single use water bottles, while the reusable wine glass program serves to save over 55,000 single use wine glasses.
But the giving back doesn’t just come in the form of donations, it comes in the form of representation. BottleRock does a fantastic job in showcasing local companies that embody everything Napa Valley, working with 20 Napa Valley wineries and 52 Napa restaurants to keep every hydrated and nourished during the three day weekend event.
The food and sweets come with local farm to table ingredients from 52 different restaurants, bakeries and creameries including Azalina’s, Goose & Gander, Mariposa Ice Cream, Napa Baking Company, Oenotri, and Tarla Grill. While not every restaurant will be open to the general festival goers, some of the restaurants will be there for the VIP Premium Sky Suites and artist catering. “The involvement for our company is awesome it’s a really great fit to get our food into the hands of the artists and guests, it’s really fun and exciting to be a part of BottleRock, said Oenotri’s Jessi Kerr. “We have a lot of help going into the weekend, we are collaborating with Canary Binge, and Zuzu to help us create some great sandwiches and paella.”
I always enjoy trying the different foods that are on site, and I personally can’t wait to try the single serve ice cream bars from Mariposa, those look tasty for the hot weekend ahead! Pilar Bernard of Mariposa Ice Creamery has a few treats up her sleeve. “Couple things we haven’t done in the past we are doing this year, we will have a booth and a cart,” said Bernard. “We’ve been here since the second festival and it’s the kickoff to a busy season for us. We were in a funk last year, but we are really excited to be back this year. We’ve got some really fresh flavors to show off including salted caramel, peanut butter pretzle, and a fruity flavor too for our single serve cups, and four different ice cream sandwiches which will include mint chocolate chip, chocolate chip cookies with vanilla ice cream and a gluten free choice as well.”
The wine comes from 20 different vintners including JaM Cellars, Caymus Vineyards, Peju Winery and Amuse Bouche. For those who want something else besides wine, there are plenty of craft beer choices, 8 different vendors including selections from Lagunitas, Hop Valley, Saint Archer and Flying Ember. There will also be several distilleries on hand including Bulleit Bourbon, Ketel One Vodka, Hendrick’s Gin and Don Julio.
If you can’t wait for the music on Friday afternoon or can’t make it to the festival, you can catch some of the BottleRock artists on the afternight shows. On Thursday Jimmy Eat World, with special guest Atlas Genius will play at the Jam Cellars Ballroom in Napa. On Friday and Saturday the JaM Cellars Ballroom plays host to the official BottleRock after show featuring Milky Chance Friday and Black Pumas on Saturday. There are several other after shows featuring great acts such as Chromeo, Digable Planets, Absofacto, Ripe, Walk Off The Earth, Future Islands and Lawrence outside of Napa, be on the lookout for those venues which will be from Berkeley, San Francisco, and Sacramento.
This weekend will also be about safety as we try to navigate around Covid 19 in a festival landscape. The promoters for the festival are making sure to keep everyone safe and feel comfortable in a large setting. Every festival goer must provide proof that they are fully vaccinated against Covid 19, or provide a negative test within 72 hours of each day you are attending. Your vaccination card or negative test result can be saved as a picture to your phone to keep your original secure. Masks will be required for all indoor festival spaces including The Space, The Platinum Lounge and The Club. There will be no cash transferring hands this year as everything will be cashless transactions. As well there will be 350+ hand sanitizing locations through the festival grounds. Masks are also recommended for outdoor festival spaces as well, but not required per state guidelines.
All three day festival passes and single day tickets to this year’s BottleRock festival are sold out, but there are opportunities to buy passes and single day tickets on the official BottleRock ticket exchange via Lyte. The gates open Friday at 11am with music starting at 12pm through 10pm Sunday.