The Black Keys, the Zac Brown Band and the Grateful Dead spin-off Furthur will help launch a major new music festival in the Bay Area this spring.
In all, the inaugural BottleRock Napa Valley is scheduled to feature more than 50 artists on multiple stages May 9-12 in downtown Napa. Other top-name acts scheduled to appear during the four-day festival include the Shins, the Black Crowes, Ben Harper, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Alabama Shakes and Primus. Talk about an ambitious Year One bill.
"The lineup speaks for itself," says BottleRock Co-Founder Gabriel Meyers. "We don't have much hip-hop or electronic music.
"This is rock 'n' roll in the Garden of Eden — Napa Valley."
Tickets for the festival, which is intended to be an annual affair, officially go on sale to the general public on Feb. 10, with prices ranging from $299 (three-day festival pass) to $599 (VIP four-day ticket). There are, however, several pre-sale opportunities. Napa Valley residents and artist fan club members can score ducats early, from Sunday-Feb. 9. Also, to celebrate the Red and Gold's return to the Super Bowl, special "Friends of the 49ers" passes are being sold, starting at a discounted rate of $249 from Sunday-Feb. 9. (Note: You don't have to prove you're a 49er "Friend" to take advantage of this pre-sale opportunity.) Passes can be purchased at www.bottlerocknapavalley.com.
Organizers expect the setting to as a potent a draw as the lineup. The music will be played across four stages at the 26-acre Napa Valley Expo, which is located near the heart of downtown Napa, as well as at the city's Uptown Theatre. Those locations will provide attendees, which could number as high as 30,000-35,000, plenty of opportunities to sample all that downtown Napa has to offer.
"In about a one mile radius, there is about 100 restaurants and tasting rooms," Meyers says. "It's a killer festival for connoisseurs."
Festival doors will open each day at noon, with the tunes running from 12:30 p.m. until well into the evening. The event will also comedic acts as well as culinary and wine elements.
After the main festival grounds close down each night, there will be several after-show events taking place at various restaurants, art galleries and wine tasting rooms in Napa's popular Oxbow District, Restaurant Row and West End, all of which are within a four-block radius from the Expo.
The festival is being produced by two local companies — Will Power Entertainment, which has long specialized in putting on concerts that benefit the fight against autism, and Deville Enterprises. Will Power and Deville are going it alone, without the help of any of the big players in the festival game, such as Berkeley's Another Planet Entertainment (which puts on San Francisco's annual Outside Lands) and Goldenvoice (the promoters of Southern California's mammoth Coachella festival).
"If we can, we'd like to stay independent for as long as we can," says Will Power's Meyers. "Most people say, 'You'll never make money in a Year One festival.' And that may be true."
Still, organizers didn't hold back when it came to picking the lineup. They went after the Grammy-nominated Black Keys and the Zac Brown Band, both of whom have no problem filling arenas on their own, and then rounded out the bill with a ton of other acts that can headline major auditoriums and clubs. Besides those acts previously mentioned, the festival will also feature Dwight Yoakam, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Cake, Flaming Lips, Bad Religion, Mavis Staples, the Wallflowers, ALO, Donavon Frankenreiter, Charlie Musselwhite, Tristan Prettyman, Allen Stone, Blues Traveler, Brandi Carlile and Cafe Tacuba.
There will also be a pre-festival/kick-off concert on May 8 at the Uptown featuring the blistering hot hip-hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, an act currently lighting up the airwaves with the hit "Thrift Shop." Information on that show is also available on the festival's website, www.bottlerocknapavalley.com.
Organizers hope to donate "a significant portion" of the net proceeds from the festival to autism causes.
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