Bottlerock 2023: A Practical Guide to Big Napa Music Fest (2023)


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By Ugur Lead

Bay City News

Any major festival lineup induces a certain amount of decision fatigue due to the overwhelming number of talented and diverse artists featured. This year's BottleRock Napa Valley lineup is no different, filled with acts from the Bay Area's signature local music scene, as well as internationally recognized bands and pop stars across six stages.

If you're planning to attend this weekend but don't know where to start, you're in luck. Here's a handy guide to picking from the busy three-day list. you can focus on getting dressed and packing your bag instead of worrying about the schedule.

Friday, May 26

Kick off Friday with Bay Area-based The Band High Noon (Truly Stage, noon), who recently released their debut full-length "Swell." Stick around for a performance by Sgt. Splendor (1 p.m.), a supergroup consisting of indie singer-songwriter Kate Vargas and guitar virtuoso Eric McFadden.

The duo released their second album "Death of the Hoochie Koo" last week. If you want to stick to rock, try Moonalice (Allianz Stage, 2:45 p.m.), which consists of former members of the San Francisco rock band Flying Other Brothers. The band released the album "Light Side of the Moonalice-An Acoustic Adventure" earlier this year. You might also want to check out Southern California talent Nicky Youre (JaM Cellars Stage, 2 p.m.), who's gearing up to hear his TikTok hit "Sunroof."

Head back to the Truly Stage to hear San Francisco rock and roll band The Stone Foxes (3.30pm).

Late afternoon will require serious personal decisions. Indie pop band Lucius (VIP Village Stage, 4:30 p.m.) has released several hit records, including 2022's "Dance Around It" with Brandi Carlile and Sheryl Crow. The softer sound of the group can provide a nice change of pace for those who need a breather.

Gen Z favorite Yung Gravy (Verizon Stage, 4:45 p.m.) will bring his blend of trap, pop and soul to the festival grounds. His million-selling hit single "Betty (Get Money)" filled the airwaves last year. Los Angeles rock band Starcrawler (Truly Stage, 4:45 p.m.) bring their pop punk charm to wow the crowd at exactly the same time.

Electronic rock duo Phantogram (Verizon Stage, 6:15 p.m.) is not to be missed. The band has released four studio albums, with their aptly titled third album, 2016's "Three," reaching No. 9 on the US charts. After that set, check out indie rock newcomer KennyHoopla (Truly Stage, 7:15 p.m.), whose single "How Will I Rest in Peace if I'm Buried by a Highway?" and the self-titled debut EP created a lot of buzz. End the night with headliners of your choice. For old school alt-rock, head back to the Verizon Stage to see The Smashing Pumpkins (8:05 p.m.) in action. For something more modern, there's rapper and singer Post Malone (JaM Cellars Stage, 8:30 p.m.), who's likely to perform some of his rock-inspired work.

Saturday 27 May

Day two of the festival kicks off with a performance by East Forest (Allianz Stage, 11:45), curiously described as a "multidisciplinary artist, producer and master of ceremonies." If that's not your cup of tea, a performance by the Napa Valley Youth Symphony (Truly Stage, 12 p.m.), showcasing local talent, could be your first performance of the day.

San Francisco-based musician Jennifer Furches takes the stage as Spring Summer (Truly Stage, 1 p.m.) shortly after. Last year he released an album titled "T.E.A.R.S" with the last name. Bustling singer-songwriter Maude Latour (Allianz Stage, 2.45pm) is another unmissable act. Her latest single 'I am not the sun', released earlier this month, is a staple on any summer playlist.

The legendary Nile Rodgers & Chic (JaM Cellars Stage, 3.15pm) then bring some much needed groove and funk to festival goers bathed in the California sun.

Violinist Brittney Denise Parks wowed music critics and fans last year with the release of her second album, "Natural Brown Prom Queen" under her stage name Sudan Archives (Allianz Stage, 4:15 p.m.). With an impeccable track list, the disc was rightly voted among the year's best by many publications.

Cult pop favorite Carly Rae Jepsen (JaM Cellars Stage, 4:45 p.m.), who you may remember from her 2012 smash "Call Me Maybe," will follow Nile Rodgers & Chic with her own groovy set. Dayglow (Verizon Stage, 5:15 p.m.), a one-man band indie pop artist with plenty of soulful tunes, will provide a perfect segue into the evening.

Unlikely Candidates (Truly Stage, 6 p.m.) is an indie rock band whose debut album "Panther Island" was released last year. As that set ends, indie-pop favorite Tove Lo (Verizon Stage, 6:45 p.m.) will begin her own, including songs from her latest album "Dirt Femme" from last fall. The Swedish singer-songwriter is best known for her worldwide hit "Habits (Stay High)" and for hits by other artists including Ellie Goulding, Dua Lipa and Lorde.

R&B and indie pop singer-songwriter Cautious Clay (VIP Village Stage, 7.30pm) is a sure bet for a cool show. His debut single "Cold War," released in 2017, was sampled by none other than Taylor Swift on her 2019 album "Lover." As for headliners, rock fans will appreciate Duran Duran (Verizon Stage, 8:20 p.m.) taking the stage just after sunset. Pop powerhouse and almighty icon Lizzo (JaM Cellars Stage, 8.15pm) is a must-see, also worth your time.

Sunday, May 28

Thunderstorm Artis (Verizon Stage, 12:15 p.m.), a finalist on NBC's reality singing competition series "The Voice," makes just the right uplifting and thought-provoking music to kick off Sunday's show. Oakland-bred artist Oke Junior (Truly Stage, 1 p.m.) will bring his storytelling skills and versatile flow to a taste of Bay Area hip-hop.

Right after, stick with indie pop band Honeyboys (Truly Stage, 2:15 p.m.), a five-piece that includes singer Ari Eisenberg from Napa and drummer Matt Sato from San Carlos.

Legendary singer and nine-time Grammy Award winner Sheryl Crow (JaM Cellars Stage, 3:30 p.m.), recently announced as a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, will perform next. The artist's decades-long career is full of crowd-pleasing bluesy tunes.

Hailing from Philadelphia, hip-hop duo Little Stranger (Truly Stage, 4:45 p.m.) promises to deliver a unique melodic rap performance, citing Gorillaz and Beck as influences. Alternatively, popular Americana band Caamp (JaM Cellars Stage, 5pm) will follow Crow, for those who prefer to stay for a more folksy sound.

The final night has some tricky conflicts to navigate. Wu-Tang Clan (Verizon Stage, 6:15 p.m.) takes the stage just 15 minutes before The National (JaM Cellars Stage, 6:30 p.m.). If you don't want to miss your seat, The National's set list is tailor-made for a festival and the band are known for their proven live shows. However, there's also no denying the Wu-Tang Clan's considerable legacy—a coin toss may be necessary.

Blues veteran Taj Mahal (Allianz Stage, 7.15pm) made his debut more than 50 years ago. Its vast catalog calls for a Sunday night celebration. Red Hot Chili Peppers (JaM Cellars Stage, 8:15 p.m.) and Lil Nas X (Verizon Stage, 8:15 p.m.) headline the three-day event. Like Saturday, rock fans might enjoy the Red Hot Chili Peppers more, but LGBTQ+ trailblazer Lil Nas X delivers a fitting encore with a high-energy set filled with hit singles. The decision is yours.

BottleRock Napa Valley takes place 26-28 May at the Napa Valley Expo, 575 Third St., Napa. It's sold out, although resale tickets (starting at $229 for one day) may be available through Lyte, the official verified ticket exchange. For tickets, a map and more specific details, visit or download the BottleRock app on your smartphone.

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Copyright © 2023 by Bay City News, Inc. Reproduction, retransmission or other reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is forbidden.

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