BY STEVE COON, PHOTOS BY STEVE SIMPSON
The lush rolling hills of the Napa Valley painted the perfect backdrop for this year’s BottleRock Festival. Festival goers were treated to three sunny days filled with some of the best music, gourmet food, wine, and craft beer to be found anywhere. Four stages offered a relentless lineup of stellar performances including the headlining acts, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Foo Fighters, and Maroon 5. Being a music and food festival, the Culinary Stage once again teamed up celebrity chefs such as José Andrés, Martha Stewart, and Masararu Morimoto with a host of musicians and entertainers to create cooking inspired craziness.
Maroon 5 closed out the main stage on Friday night, but Modest Mouse owned the night as they tore through a brilliant set at the nearby second stage. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers were flawless on Saturday night, filling the entire field of the main stage and several other areas throughout the festival via large viewing monitors. The strict 10:00 noise ordinance pulled the plug on the Foo Fighters Sunday evening at the apex of their final song, Everlong. That did not, however, keep Dave Grohl and company from rocking to conclusion. Realizing the PA had been turned off, they quickly resumed and the packed crowd cheered and sang along despite not being able to hear the band.
San Fransisco’s Hibbity Dibbity got things started on Saturday, delivering a feel good set of their distinctive style of swamp-rock mixed with blues and soul.
The acoustic post-rock trio City of the Sun held the crowd mesmerized, weaving sounds of flamenco, jazz, and gypsy rhythms.
Singer/songwriter Jessica Childress’ classically soulful voice seemed to invoke the spirits of legends such as Diana Ross and Donna Summer. A truly inspired performance.
England’s Barnes Courtney played and sang with fueled enthusiasm with a sultry, bluesy voice that belies his youth. As if to cool his fire, he doused himself with water as the crowd jumped and stomped along to his hit song Glitter & Gold.
Foo Fighter’s guitarist, Chris Shiflett showed his passion and proficiency for country rock as he and his band played on the shaded Miner’s stage.
Little Hurricane began Sunday’s festivities by enticing the smiling, perhaps slightly burned out, masses to the stage with their infectious rock and blues. The duo out of San Diego, Tone (vocals/guitar) and the ever-smiling CC (drums/vocals), filled the field with the gritty, almost haunting blues style.
Indie rock band, Hippo Campus, kept the positive vibes of the weekend moving as they performed their melodic, guitar-driven set.
LA-based quartet, The Shelters ripped through a high energy set of songs showcasing their straightforward classic rock spirit.
Drawing straight from the jam band playbook, Doobie Decibel System had the masses swaying and dancing, while others simply relaxed on the shaded grass.
Saturday night’s silent disco was reported to be the largest in the US on record. The bouncing, grooving mass of nearly 4,500, all donned with lighted headphones sang and danced along to jams provided by SF local DJ’s White Panda and Big Boi (OutKast/Big Grams).