Review + Photos: BottleRock Festival 2016 (Grouplove, The Struts, Walk the Moon, + more)

BottleRock’s CEO Dave Graham created a festival with the finest of Napa Valley’s food, wine, and music, to be targeted to the age group of 35-60. While I am no where near the festival’s targeted age group, this is what I thought of the weekend from a teenager’s point of view.

Not only did BottleRock manage to get some of 2016’s hottest artists like Florence + The Machine, Lenny Kravitz, The Lumineers, Grouplove, and Walk the Moon, but world renowned chefs, including Gordon Ramsey and Tyler Florence, met up with some of the artists at the Culinary Stage.

This year, BottleRock found the perfect ingredients to ensure that everyone’s experience was exceptional. Rustic picnic tables, colorful umbrellas, and wine barrel table tops sat on the Prescription Turf that covered the ground. The green turf carried onto the food avenue, as well as ,in the main VIP area which added a little Napa charm. Many of Napa Valley’s finest restaurants were invited to share their food with BottleRock attendees which is quite different from most festival’s food options. People with VIP wristbands were able to chow down on local Napa food from pizza to frozen custard under a white tent adorned with pink and orange lanterns.

VIP festival goers had access to one large area with access to VIP viewing areas of the two main stages, but became overly crowded by Sunday. Because of the overcrowding, many festival goers bickered over “spot holding” which was quite elementary.

If the standard VIP tickets did not cut it for your fabulous Napa Valley lifestyle, BottleRock offered not only a VIP+ ticket, but also a Platinum ticket which included side stage seating, meet and greets, and access to an exclusive platinum lounge.

Due to the abundance of wine tasting some of these adults seemed to be a bit over served, however, many appreciated the dancing that was more than laughable.

M U S I C   H I G H L I G H T S

Houndmouth, a refreshing new rock group, attracted a large crowd at the Midway stage Friday afternoon as their Americana routes enticed BottleRock’s targeted age group.

Grouplove back from maternity leave were ready to play, they were one of the most energetic acts playing at BottleRock. Lead singer Christian Zucconi and wife Hannah joined Atlas Genius at the culinary stage Saturday afternoon to cook up some vegan muffins and cookies and introduced their brand new baby Willow.

New to the festival circuit, The Orwells were invited to play Friday night. I was excited to hear this rock group, but the lead singer, Mario, slightly turned me off with his drunken antics. The balance of the band worked hard to keep connected to the audience.

English rockers, The Struts stormed the main stage early Saturday and stuck around to play a late night show in Napa. The guys came back to the festival on Sunday to play an acoustic set at the JamPad and then attempted to use their best techniques on the culinary stage where they made bangers and beans. BottleRock asked for a lot from the Struts, main stage performance, acoustic set, and a culinary appearance which left the crowd excited for more.

After canceling their summer tour, Walk the Moon played an emotional last show Saturday afternoon. Lead singer Nick jumped off into the crowd after their set and took pictures with fans giving a bittersweet ending to the Work This Body Tour. The guys decided to cancel their summer tour because Nick’s father was diagnosed with Alzheimers and he wants to spend time with him.

When The Lumineers took the main stage on Sunday, I felt they had trouble connecting with the crowd and that it might have been more enjoyable in an intimate setting.

The Latitude 38 team did an incredible job of running the festival from managing the short lines, adding unexpected benefits like Apple Pay, quirky booths with temporary tattoos and hair braiding, and of course the silent disco. Overall, the BottleRock experience was absolutely seamless and met its high expectations. BottleRock has committed to ten more years and I can’t wait to see what else they have in store.


Follow updates from BottleRock Napa Valley here.

Review and Photos by Kate Teegardin | @teegardinphotos

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