blue moon

The Foo Fighters intended to play until they could play no more (Photo credit: BottleRock Napa Valley / Latitude 38 Entertainment)

Where had the time gone? Somehow it was already Sunday, and Day 1 and Day 2 were already behind us!

Sunday promised to have the best weather of all, as well as some acts I’d been really looking forward to. Because I’d missed The Helmets last year – but heard them from my house and was impressed enough to text a friend who was already there, asking who they were I knew in advance that I had to make it there early this year to see them in action. [read the whole post]

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Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers headline Saturday at BottleRock Napa Valley 2017 (Photo credit: BottleRock Napa Valley / Latitude 38 Entertainment)

This year’s Saturday at BottleRock Napa Valley promised to be a beautiful warm and breezy 75 degrees, the perfect weather for a festival full of good music, great food and all the beer, wine, and cocktails you can handle! Once again, there were more acts scheduled than was possible to see all at once, so I had to pick and choose pieces of sets from the bands I most wanted to see to make it all work. (For example, who wants to decide between House of Pain and Bishop Briggs? I wanted to “jump around” and jam out with Ms. Briggs… [read the whole post]

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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. [read the whole post]

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The first taste of summer: BottleRock Napa Valley, the 2016 edition. (Photo credit: BottleRock Napa Valley / Latitude 38 Entertainment)

The first taste of summer: BottleRock Napa Valley, the 2016 edition. (Photo credit: BottleRock Napa Valley / Latitude 38 Entertainment)

Before I get into all the details of the gloriousness that was this year’s BottleRock Napa Valley, please allow me a moment, not just to digress but to explain why this festival is so important to me. I was born in Napa. As many Napa kids do, I moved away in my early 20s seeking something more exciting (hard to imagine now, but at the time Napa was still a relatively small town without a lot to do). I had some oats to sow, and was gone for 5-6 years, but returned about a decade ago to go back to school. Since then, I often say that “this town and I grew up together,” as we’ve both evolved into something more worth enjoying. While once I was a kid from a small town most had never heard of (and because of which I often claimed SF or the Bay Area to those unfamiliar), I have since become a “townie,” and that’s okay with me. This place is something special, and I can’t imagine ever leaving. True, it was once far quieter (and okay, far more dull), but these days it’s really something to behold, and has earned its reputation as a world-famous, world-class destination on bucket lists the world over. So, add to that a phenomenal music festival that showcases not just the mind-blowing wines and taste-bud-tantalizing food for which we’re known, but consistently impressive musical lineups that offer something for everyone, year after year? How could I not love BottleRock? I’m happy to say that I’ve been BottleRocking since the very beginning, and I can’t imagine what it might take to keep me away. As you can imagine, I’m already looking forward to next year’s festival!

Okay, onward…this year, BottleRock was scheduled to fall on Memorial Day weekend. While I personally heard the frustration of local business owners (for many of whom the beloved festival pulls away business all weekend long), I didn’t have any reason to lament spending a long, beautiful-weathered weekend wandering the Napa Valley Expo grounds last weekend more or less than any other.

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Noah Gunderson. (Photo by Bob McClenahan)

Noah Gunderson. (Photo by Bob McClenahan)

After full days Friday and Saturday, you might think I’d have been a little worn out by Day three of BottleRock Napa Valley. Not me: I was ready with bells on, and perched directly in front of the Sprint stage early in the day for Noah Gundersen to kick it all off. His set began with Noah on acoustic guitar, a woman playing the violin, and a drummer. The three sang wonderful harmony, and before long were joined by the electrics: initially a bass and a guitar, but there were some keys mixed in for good measure, too. To top it all off, Gundersen played a bit of the harmonica in places as well. “We’re really trying to kick your Sunday off with a bang,” he said, adding that there were “usually a lot more people in the drinking section.” I noted that this was the first band whose entire discography I wanted to download as soon as I got home. (I haven’t yet, but still intend to.) I don’t know how else to describe their sound but “electric folk,” which is to say that it was like nothing I’d ever heard, and I loved it. [read the whole post]

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