Like a wellspring that shows no sign of running dry, the lineup for Napa Valley’s first major rock ‘n’ roll festival in May continues to grow.
Adding to the partial list leaked to the media and various social media midweek, the talent roster for BottleRock Napa Valley includes heavy hitters like Southern blues rockers, The Black Crowes, and a pair of San Francisco-based groups, Furthur, the rock band founded in 2009 by former Grateful Dead members Bob Weir and Phil Lesh, plus the quirky trio fronted by Les Claypool, Primus.
Country fans have reason to rejoice as well with the addition of the Grammy Award-winning Zac Brown Band, young singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile, who has performed in the valley a half dozen times since 2006, plus the popular purveyor of new honky tonk, Dwight Yoakam.
The additions to the May festival lineup bring the talent list today to more than two dozen. Promoters promise more than 50 artists will be on the bill for the inaugural BottleRock Napa Valley, scheduled May 8-12 at Napa Valley Expo, the Uptown Theatre and other venues throughout downtown Napa.
The festival is the brainchild of two Napans, Bob Vogt and Gabriel Meyers, both involved in the early stages of the Uptown Theatre revival.
“The genesis of BottleRock springs from the great live entertainment gift that is the Uptown Theatre,” Meyers said. “The long-awaited downtown Napa renaissance has inspired us to bring an eclectic and broad group of world-class music and performers to our hometown. The Napa Valley has set such a high standard for wine, food and hospitality that we feel that the time is right to add a world-class music festival to the mix.”
Festival producers met Thursday night with area vintners, restaurateurs and chefs in an effort to pull together a festival experience that features wine and food.
While there is no official estimate for expected attendance, 30,000 was discussed with Napa Valley Expo management.
Visit Napa Valley President and CEO Clay Gregory said this major contemporary music festival “is pretty exciting ... I think a lot of locals will be pretty excited about having it here. It’s a good idea when you can put on something that appeals not only to our visitors but also locals. It’s also good from the standpoint of visibility for the Napa Valley. I feel the venues are appropriate, especially for traffic circulation.”
BottleRock general manager Joseph Lillis said it is “modeled on (other festivals such as) Outside Lands and a little Coachella ... and wants to be New Orleans Jazz Fest and South by Southwest.”
A Napa native, Lillis has conceived, written, staged, directed and produced theater productions since his days at Napa High School, including the long-running “Greater Tuna.” Most recently, he has managed the Sausalito Art Festival.
Already announced on the festival’s artists roster were The Black Keys, The Shins, Ben Harper, Charlie Musselwhite, Alabama Shakes, Cake, The Flaming Lips, Bad Religion, The Wallflowers featuring Jakob Dylan, Blues Traveler, Allen Stone, Donavon Frankenreiter and Rodrigo y Gabriela.
Also scheduled to perform are the cultish 11-piece indie rock outfit, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros; California’s rapturing funkateers, ALO; surfer and guitarist/vocalist Tristan Prettyman; and, from Mexico, alternative Latin rockers Cafe Tacuba.
Organizers have indicated the festival is a four-day affair with a preview on Wednesday, May 8. That evening, emerging musical artists Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (with special guests) will warm up the festival. Just last week, Seattle rapper/producer duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis hit no. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 with their college-anthem-turned-mainstream-smash “Thrift Shop.” They’ll bring that hip-hop hit to the Expo event along with other material. The show is free to all 3- and 4-day BottleRock festival pass holders and individual tickets will be sold to this show as well.
On May 9, BottleRock will officially begin, with Furthur and The Black Crowes slated to perform.
Friday brings multiple Grammy Award winners and nominees, including The Black Keys, the Shins, and Alabama Shakes to the main stage. Headlining acts for the Saturday roster are yet to be announced. Sunday’s schedule closes the weekend with a lineup anchored by the Zac Brown Band, Train and Cake.
Situated on three stages spread over 26 acres at Napa Valley Expo — in the parking lot off Silverado Trail, the carnival area and the Plaza Stage — BottleRock Napa Valley will feature simultaneous performances throughout the day.
Comedy will be added to the bill, with a lineup to be rolled out in mid-February.