BottleRock Napa Valley 2017 Festival Journal, Day 1

by Stacy Scales on June 4, 2017

Maroon 5 headlines Friday night at BottleRock Napa Valley 2017 (Photo credit: BottleRock Napa Valley / Latitude 38 Entertainment)

Last weekend marked the return of my hometown’s beloved music, food and drink festival, BottleRock Napa Valley, which turned five this Memorial Day weekend. In addition to boasting phenomenal music lineups year after year, BRNV offers a wine garden, a “beer bend,” a silent disco, a beer and bourbon garden, displays of art throughout the festival grounds, and of course, the culinary delights that have come to be associated with this valley that is so much more than wine.

My BottleRock 2017 experience began around 1:00 pm with the wonderful Josh Kelley on the Lagunitas Stage, after which I made my way to the festival’s main stage (The Heydaze, whose song “Hurt Like Hell” is fantastic and was decidedly more so when performed live in front of me. Also worth noting was their cover of Alicia Keys‘ “If I Aint’ Got You,” which I really enjoyed.

The Heydaze front man Jesse Fink (Photo credit: BottleRock Napa Valley / Latitude 38 Entertainment)

Lots and lots of grass to enjoy at the JaM stage! (Photo credit: BottleRock Napa Valley / Latitude 38 Entertainment)

Up next were Saint Motel, whose “Move” never fails to make me do just that, usually with a silly grin on my face, and then Fitz and the Tantrums, who I’d been dying to see for some time now. Highlights from their set, for me, were all of their singles (“Out of My League,” “Roll Up,” “The Walker,” and especially “HandClap”), each an earworm in its own right.

MIchael Fitzpatrick (along with the Tantrums) are nonstop energy (Photo credit: BottleRock Napa Valley / Latitude 38 Entertainment)

One of the things that I find unfortunate (but unavoidable) about festivals is that they often schedule performers in such a way that you have to decide between two acts you want to see, and/or you have to run back and forth between stages all day. (The latter, however, is well worth the effort!)

On Friday, I experienced sort of a combination of the two: Ayesha Curry and E-40 were scheduled on the Williams-Sonoma Culinary Stage sandwiched right between The Heydaze and Saint Motel. I had planned to try to squeeze it in, but didn’t make it…much to my dismay. I can’t say I’m surprised to hear her husband, NBA MVP Stephen Curry, crashed the party, but as a huge Golden State Warriors fan, I’m disappointed I didn’t see him for myself!

Steph Curry crashes wife Ayesha’s event with E-40 on the Williams-Sonoma Culinary stage (Photo credit: BottleRock Napa Valley / Latitude 38 Entertainment)

By the time Macklemore & Ryan Lewis took the stage, there were approximately 40,000 people watching, and that’s not counting those in attendance at other locations. You know that saying the “third time’s the charm?” For me, that was true with Macklemore. He was here at a BottleRock preview during the festival’s first year and I missed his set to watch the Warriors in the playoffs… then he played Outside Lands a few years ago, and I missed him because I was covering a different act. There was no way I was going to let him slip through my fingers this time! And he did not disappoint! “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us” were predictably awesome, and super full of energy, but I was more moved by his impassioned speech about the importance of equality and his performance of “Same Love.” I was pleasantly surprised to hear YG‘s “FDT2,” on which Macklemore is a featured guest; I can’t lie and say that I didn’t enjoy joining tens of thousands of people screaming “Fuck Donald Trump!” right along with him. The set concluded with one of the duo’s most recent singles, “Downtown.”

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis do not disappoint (Photo credit: BottleRock Napa Valley / Latitude 38 Entertainment)

Tens of thousands in attendance, and Friday’s the quietest day of the festival!
(Photo credit: BottleRock Napa Valley / Latitude 38 Entertainment)

The evening concluded with headliner Maroon 5, who I was once quite a fan of. I won’t say I’m not anymore, but I have been known to say that I’m not sure who’s more bored with their music the past few years – me, or Maroon 5? I really couldn’t say. I admit I wasn’t overwhelmed with excitement to see them headline, or even play at all, but I decided to be willing to give them a chance and see what I thought. I haven’t seen them live in several years, after all. Overall, I was happy with their choice of songs, which ranged all the way back to Songs About Jane. Adam Levine’s bitching about being able to hear Modest Mouse (from the nearby Samsung Stage made me roll my eyes, and I panicked when I momentarily thought Levine was going to cover my beloved David Bowie (he didn’t), but in the end I stayed until the last song. If you’re thinking I don’t have anything positive to say about them, you’re wrong: Levine remarked that BottleRock was his “new favorite festival, and here’s why,” going on to explain how much he appreciated that fans in attendance were watching, engaging, singing along and enjoying, rather than watching through their phones while taking pictures or video. I was impressed that he’d not only noticed, but took the time to acknowledge it, saying it “doesn’t go unnoticed.” Their set concluded with a cover of Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy,” and can be found in its entirety here.

I may still be a bit lukewarm on Maroon 5, but it was still a fun set worth seeing (Photo credit: BottleRock Napa Valley / Latitude 38 Entertainment)

The verdict? It was fun. Would I go see them again? Sure. Would I fork over hard-earned money to do so? I’m not ready to commit to that yet. But I’m glad I saw them, and it was a pretty fun set overall. (Even if it meant missing the chance to see Warren G do “Regulate” live… I did hear a little of him as I passed the Lagunitas Stage on my way out, and he sounded awesome.)

Warren G regulates on the Lagunitas stage (Photo credit: BottleRock Napa Valley / Latitude 38 Entertainment)

Stay tuned for Day 2 (Saturday) and Day 3 (Sunday)!

Stacy Scales

California native. Therapist. Word nerd. Music lover. Linguaphile. Amateur foodie. Basketball junkie. Travel enthusiast.

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