For my 16th birthday, my mom and I traveled to Napa, California to go to a three-day musical festival called Bottlerock. With roughly 35,000 extra people packed into downtown Napa, it was unclear how exactly it would turn out. It was the first time Napa had ever tried to host this festival, and there was no doubt that the small town was frantically working to secure last minute details to make the weekend run as smoothly as it possibly could. Hotels from San Francisco to St. Helena were booked solid months in advance in anticipation for the weekend of May 9-12th.
With three stages and about 70 bands over the course of the weekend, there was constantly something to do or watch. Artists like The Black Keys, Alabama Shakes, Kings of Leon, Best Coast, Cake, and Train took the stage at all hours of the day. There were even comedians such as Jim Gaffigan and Rob Delaney that performed on the Comedy Closet Stage at night. Booths set up around the grounds allowed local businesses to display and sell their artwork or clothing. It was such a hit among the people that attended that there was talk of Bottlerock 2014 before Bottlerock 2013 was even over.
Considering the residents and officials of Napa were unsure of how the weekend would ultimately end up, Bottlerock was a success. Businesses that attended the festival were able to market to concertgoers, residents were more than patient with the 35,000+ extra people packed into their town, and people generally looked out for each other. One guy even had the names and phone numbers of his friends written across his back with a note telling people to call them in case he were to somehow get separated from his friends over the course of the weekend. All in all, I’m glad I had the opportunity to attend the First Annual Bottlerock Festival.
*John McCrea, lead singer of Cake, performed at the Bottlerock Napa Valley Festival.