This Is What BottleRock Napa Valley Does Better Than Any Other FestivalArticle by: Adrian Spinelli|@AGSpinelli
Wed May 31, 2017 | 22:34 PM
In an increasingly saturated festival landscape, it's hard to stand out these days. But not only has BottleRock Napa Valley carved out a unique space in the festival community , it is now —with LiveNation as its majority stakeholder— confidently building onto its identity as a premium festival destination. BottleRock has the food & wine pedigree of the Aspen Food & Wine Classic, along with the musical programming ambitions of Austin City Limits. There are festivals that do the musical experience well and others that specialize in the fine foods and high-end beverages experience, but few (if any) do both quite like BottleRock.
Look no further than the Williams-Sonoma Culinary Stage , a mish-mash of celebrity chefs, big name musical talent and other celebrities that comes together in a highly unorthodox – yet strangely entertaining – cooking demo atmosphere. On Friday, Martha Stewart cooked chicken with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, on Saturday, Chef Masaharu Morimoto chopped up a 130-pound tuna with professional football legends Charles Woodson and Franco Harris, and on Sunday, the Voltaggio Brothers dumped liquid nitrogen into an ice cream bowl with House of Pain's Everlast.
Delightfully gimmicky entertainment aside, BottleRock manages to be an apt playground for babies, grandparents, teenagers, baby boomers and young parents alike — 40,000 of them a day. The number of families laid out on blankets in the sunshine at the main stages is higher than you'll see at just about any other festival. Kids roam the grass, while Mom & Dad sit back with their "buttery" Chardonnays or "jammy" Cabs from one of almost 30 wineries, while young techies pick from a slew of nearly 40 breweries in an impressively re-vamped beer lineup.
And the food? Think New York steak sandwiches with truffle fries, cornmeal crusted fish tacos (gluten free of course!), or brick oven pizza and caviar (if you've paid for one of the festival's premium ticketing packages). BottleRock offers over 75 gourmet food stalls from nationally known and locally beloved purveyors; after all, Napa boasts more Michelin stars per capita than any other wine region on the globe. While VIP and premium tickets get you access to viewing decks for Tom Petty, the Foo Fighters and Maroon 5 on the main stage, BottleRock in the LiveNation era is beginning to make even general admission feel like a premium experience. This year's rendition had a full-service spa facility with over a dozen booths of Napa's finest wellness businesses offering everything from massages and hair stylists to bejeweling and facials.
Call it excessive, but these exemplify the amenities and luxury for which Napa Valley has come to be known. BottleRock has taken all of the luxury, glamor, terroir and sensory experiences that make Napa Valley a world-class tourist destination and brought them all to a music and arts festival at the Napa Valley Expo once a year, unapologetically. BottleRock owns its luxurious identity and this is what has made it a successful endeavor —one that sold out of tickets well ahead of time.
The festival industry is a dynamic business climate. Some festivals make it, some festivals don't. Some festivals have a defined audience and others struggle to find an audience to begin with. One thing is for certain: You have to establish an identity and a vibe within the festival community to create your own devoted attendee base. The festivals that fall short have been folding right and left and others will surely follow, but BottleRock has established a foothold in the industry and when the dust settles, it'll be waiting for you every year with a glass of wine, pinky out.