Things are getting interesting in the already crowded musical festival scene with the announcement earlier this year of the first Bottle Rock Festival in Napa.
With 30,000 people expected to head to the wine country for five days of music, promoters of the festival are positioning themselves to compete for an audience with bigger, more established festivals like Coachella and Outside Lands.
We still love Coachella—and we’ll be there this year—but here are five reasons why Bottle Rock holds its ground against the festival this year:
1. The Lineup: We won’t go so far as to say the lineup at Bottle Rock is better than Coachella. The SoCal festival has more than double the acts performing in Napa, many of which are great new bands and emerging trendsetters that are missing from the Bottle Rock lineup, but we can see most of those acts in the Bay Area in the weeks surrounding Coachella and likely at Outside Lands and Treasure Island Music Festival later this year.
The talent heading to Napa for Bottle Rock is pretty ridiculous. The party slowly builds starting Wednesday, May 9 with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis and continues through Sunday, May 10. Highlights include Primus, the Black Keys, the Shins, Alabama Shakes, the Flaming Lips, Kings of Leon, Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, Jane’s Addiction, Iron & Wine, Sharon Van Etten, Best Coast, Michael Franti and Bad Religion.
2. Location: The venue is located in the City of Napa, only about a one-hour drive from downtown San Francisco—easy access for those who just want to check out the festival for a day. Napa’s downtown dining and shopping areas are within walking distance and most lodging options are only a short drive away.
3. Weather: The average high temperature is 74 degrees, perfect for a multi-day live music marathon and the associated after parties, lack of sleep, etc. A warm day in the desert sounds pretty nice in the middle of winter here, but when it’s time to party we’ll stick with the milder temperatures over Coachella—known to reach near the triple-digits on warmer days.
4. Food: If we’ve learned anything from Outside Lands in San Francisco and the numerous local suppliers of noshables there, it’s Bay Area music fans want more than standard festival offerings and they are willing to pay for tastier local options. Bottle Rock follows that model with local restaurants like Zuzu, Morimoto and The Thomas with Oxbow Market regulars favorites like Kitchen Door and Kara’s Cupcakes.
5. Wine: Napa is already a world-class destination, with wineries covering the valley from near the festival site all the way up through Calistoga and beyond. For those looking to sip and swirl before, during and after the festival, there’s no shortage of options. More than 40 Napa Valley wineries will be on site at the festival in addition to normal tasting options at wineries and tasting rooms throughout the valley.
The Catch: Bottle Rock isn’t cheap and many music fans might be priced out of the action. A four-day pass goes for $399 and three-day passes sold out at $299. Day passes are $139.