A musical tradition nearly as old as the winery in which it’s held, the 48th annual Robert Mondavi Winery’s “Margrit Mondavi Summer Concert Series” returns in July for another round of chart-topping and Grammy-winning artists performing in Napa Valley’s iconic setting. This year’s lineup features headliners Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Patti LaBelle, The Revivalists, Michael Franti & Spearhead and Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals.
On July 1, indie rock pianist and bandleader Andrew McMahon’s solo outfit Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness kicks off the series with a fireworks-worthy concert. McMahon’s latest album, Zombies on Broadway, reached number 43 on the Billboard charts earlier this year and his current international tour is selling out venues from San Francisco to London.
On July 8, vocalist Patti LaBelle dazzles with a concert of classic hits and stirring soul numbers. On July 15, New Orleans-based big band the Revivalists gets the winery’s outdoor venue dancing with support from Jamestown Revival. The series rounds out with the feel-good grooves of Michael Franti & Spearhead on July 22 and the eclectic styling of Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals on July 29.
Proceeds from this year’s ticket sales will benefit the Napa Valley Unified School District’s music programs. These shows are expected to sell-out, so don’t waste time in grabbing tickets when they go on sale tomorrow, April 11, at 10am PDT. Click here to get yours.
Last week, BottleRock Napa Valley Music Festival broke the news that it had already sold out all three days of its fourth annual fest, taking place in Napa May 27 to 29. For those who’ve missed out on the event, there’s now a ray of hope, as the fest has announced a week of aftershows taking place in and around Napa Valley.
The lineup of artists appearing at various venues range from songwriter Michael Franti to comedy duo Cheech & Chong to classic hip-hop group the Pharcyde to gypsy punk ensemble Gogol Bordello; meaning there’s something for everyone. There will also be pre-fest shows on Thursday, May 26, and a post festival performance by Rodrigo y Gabriela on Monday, May 30, at Uptown Theatre.
Check out the full list below, and grab tickets to these concerts at bottlerocknapavalley.com.
Last year’s debut Yountville Live event was a huge success, and the organizers are back for a sophmore year of pairing chart-topping recording artists, world-class chefs and the finest in Napa Valley wine. Scheduled to take place March 31 through April 3, Yountville Live’s 2016 lineup of musical and culinary rock stars came out today. And it’s a doozy.
The Goo Goo Dolls, “American Idol” winner Kris Allen, Mayer Hawthorne and Plain White T’s are all slated to appear in special up-close and personal sets, with a bevy of emerging artists once again sprinkling the weekend’s entertainment schedule.
On the culinary side, dozens of Napa valley’s vintners, including Trinchero Family Estates, Jessup Cellars, Cliff Lede Vineyards, Priest Ranch, Robert Mondavi Winery, and Somerston, among others, are matched with culinary creations by Michelin-rated chefs. Napa Valley favorites Michael Chiarello (Bottega Napa Valley in Yountville) and Bob Hurley (Hurley’s Restaurant in Yountville) join other nationally recognized chefs in demonstrating the latest and greatest in cuisine.
All of these awesome events take place at wineries and restaurants in Yountville and include the “Taste of Yountville” event, a red carpet gala and more. For full details and tickets, visit the Yountville Live website here.
Friday, May 30: Day One
The weather was the first surprise of the weekend. Friday offered a cool, even breezy afternoon at the Napa Valley Expo that turned to a chilly evening. Five stages, including one for VIP ticket holders only, played to 24 bands throughout the day. It was a relatively calm affair that would see less attendees than following day, but for the most part, the logistical aspects of food and drink lines and bathroom cleanliness was kept in good order. Some festivalgoers themselves, even, helped throw away garbage and just be generally decent—maybe Headliners like the Cure and Sublime with Rome (the guy, not the city) simply brought out equal parts of older and more sedated fans who were content to throw down blankets and relax.
Jewish reggae-rapper Matisyahu delivered an effortless and nicely rocking set of smooth jams and authentic beats, many from his upcoming album, “Akeda,” released this week. TV on the Radio wowed me with a continuously intensifying set of eclectic indie rock and soulful electro pop. Gin Blossoms brought the “county fairgrounds” vibe to, well, the county fairgrounds. Overall, crowds seemed to care about the fact that ‘90s radio rock leftovers filled out the lineup. They sang along with “Follow You Down,” and clapped, mostly in time, with the band through their back catalogue of, ahem, lesser-known hits.
The Cure really was the gem of this show. They are one of my longtime favorites, yet I’ve only been able to see them live twice before, and it’s been 7 or 8 years since the last time. They were amazing. No way around it. They sounded perfect, and their set list was a mash of surprises and staples from 30 plus years of new wave, postpunk, emo-goth melodic pop angst. Robert Smith’s hair was a glorious tangled web of Aqua Net, and Napa winds and Simon Gallup’s tight denim and slicked back hair still make him look like he stepped out of a 1982 Clash video.
The Cure opened with “Shake Dog Shake,” a surprise choice off their 1985 album, The Top. They played for two-and-a-half hours with hits old and new, making me realize how much I do, in fact, like their more recent material—pitch-perfect pops songs and raw, soaring rock riffs alike. It was only when the festival had to cut the power at 10pm (the price one pays for hosting an outdoor fest in a Napa neighborhood) that the Cure finally left the stage, and only after the crowd of about 10,000 helped Smith finish singing the band’s encore of “Why Can’t I Be You?”
Saturday, May 31: Day Two
Smash Mouth rocked the house like I could never have expected. I was having fun, dammit—at a Smash Mouth show! And lead singer Steve Harwell was cursing Third Eye Blind—who was playing at the same time on the main stage—in a fit of ‘90s Civil War. It felt too weird, and I had to get out of there. But I could barely move, suddenly finding myself in the middle of a horde of festival goers packing tighter and tighter with every song. And then it hit me: there are far more people here today than yesterday.
Estimates on Saturday were that 30,00 people came out to the Napa Expo, about 10,000 more than the most optimistic estimates of the previous day. That wasn’t the only difference, though—the whole vibe of Saturday different. This was a younger crowd—beefier, more seasoned for alcohol. Beer and wines lines were a dozen deep by 2pm, twice that by 4pm. Food trucks felt the pinch as wait times for orders hit a half hour. Bathrooms got gritty. The whole thing got gritty. Suddenly, people were competing for space, competing for views. There was a tension in the air.
The day started out well enough; Petaluma band Trebuchet played a fun set of indie folk rock with great harmonies and a cute little ukulele. Brooklyn indie duo Matt & Kim were the highlight of the early afternoon, running out to meet the crowd from the main stage and practically beaming throughout their energetic and hip set of synth rock. Drummer Kim Schifino’s smile infected the whole crowd; I’ve rarely witnessed a duo with the ability to get a party going more effectively than these two. Los Angeles noise punks No Age blew out some eardrums, but sounded awesome on the smaller stage, right before Smash Mouth started taking jabs and downing drinks that weren’t just Coca-Cola.
After that, the mood seemed to change. Couples were bickering more around me; people were stumbling—either from not eating right or not hydrating enough in the sun after drinking heavy craft beers and Napa wine. I started to watch my step, if you know what I mean.
But, I’ve totally buried the lead here. The recently reunited hip-hop dream team of Andre 3000 and Big Boi, aka Outkast, was introduced to the crowd in a giant cube, like Magneto at the end of that first X-Men movie. Soon enough, they escaped their confines to perform a blistering, dizzying and all-out electrifying set of hits. Happily, the masses that bottlenecked the fields unified under the banner of songs like “Hey Ya!” and “B.O.B.” The duo has been headlining many festivals lately, including Coachella, and the general consensus is that they were the big “get” of Bottlerock (they choose the Napa festival over the larger Outside Lands festival in San Francisco).
The other big evening draw was classic rock sister act Heart. Anne and Nancy Wilson proved that they’ve still got it. They sounded amazing and looked spectacular—it was a rock and roll show every step of the way. Like the Cure, they were cut off at 10pm, and Outkast has just wrapped minutes prior on the main stage. That’s when 30,000 sweaty, tired, dirty, possibly drunk festival goers converged into mass chaos.
Everyone was trying to form one line to get to the shuttles that would take them the three miles to their cars at Napa Pipe. There was no supervision for this. I got the bright idea to leave an hour early, and it still took 45 minutes to go from festival gate to car door. I heard reports of people waiting three hours, and fights breaking out over line cutting.
Sunday, June 1: Day Three
Eric Church, Barenaked Ladies, Spin Doctors: meh. Nothing on this day really caught my attention other than, maybe, Thee Oh Sees or Deerhunter. It would have been awesome to see LL Cool J, if for no other reason than to say I did it, but after two long days of escalating madness it was best I stayed out of Wonderland on Sunday. I must say, though, the festival was much more fun than I had anticipated. Would I try it again next year? Maybe, we’ll have to see the lineup—if the Crash Test Dummies are going to be there, I’ll buy a ticket right now.
Bottle Rock Napa Lineup: Black Keys, Alabama Shakes, Macklemore, Flaming Lips, Ben Harper, Shins, Bad Religion, Jane’s Addiction, Furthur, Many More (UPDATED)
The lineup for the totally crazy Bottle Rock Napa Valley music festival running May 8-12 has been announced, and boy, is it nuts. Can we just say it right now: Best North Bay Festival Lineup Ever?
The Black Keys
The Flaming Lips
Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite
Iron and Wine
Rodrigo y Gabriela
Michael Franti & Spearhead
By my count, that’s about seven bands that are huge headliners in their own right, plus a lot of festival heavy-hitters. Not to mention: there are over 40 bands scheduled to descend on the Napa Valley for the festival, with a complete lineup and full info promised for this Friday.
The festival runs May 8-12 primarily at the Napa Valley Expo, which will have four stages. Other shows are at various venues around town, including the Uptown Theatre. Food, wine, craft beer, comedy, and afterparties throughout downtown are all part of the deal.
I’ll say it again: This is nuts.
VIP and group tickets go on sale here on Feb. 3; public tickets go on sale on Feb. 10. We’ll update here as more info. comes in.
UPDATE, Jan. 30: According to the festival’s Facebook page, three-day passes are $299, four-day passes are $399 and VIP Reserve passes for $599. Locals get a discounted rate with three-day passes at $229, four-day passes at $329, and VIP for $529.)
UPDATE II, Jan. 31: The Black Crowes have this festival listed on their official website tour dates. Also, little birdies are chirping that Macklemore is playing a kickoff show for the festival , and judging by the festival’s first-ever tweet, that’s probably very likely. There’s also a “leaked” lineup going around that is almost certifiably fake.
UPDATE III, Feb. 1: Lots of news this morning.
Added to the festival: Jane’s Addiction, Kings of Leon, Furthur featuring Bob Weir and Phil Lesh, Primus, Zac Brown Band, Dwight Yoakam, and Cafe Tacuba.
Ticket prices are as listed above. As of yet, there are no single-day tickets announced. Napa Valley locals, artist fan club members, community partners and “Friends of the 49ers” will be able to buy 3- and 4-day passes starting Feb. 3. Passes go on sale to the general public on Feb. 10.
The Macklemore show is Wednesday, May 8, and is free for all three- and four-day passholders. Individual tickets will be sold to this show as well at $29, available Feb. 10.
Headliners by Day:
Wednesday, May 8: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Thursday, May 9: Furthur, the Black Crowes, Primus
Friday, May 10: Black Keys, Alabama Shakes, the Shins
Saturday, May 11: Jane’s Addiction, Bad Religion, Ben Harper, Edward Sharpe
Sunday, May 12: Zac Brown Band, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Cake
The incredible thing is that this festival is not being put on by Live Nation, Goldenvoice, or even Another Planet. It’s being put on by two Napa locals, Gabe Meyers and Bob Vogt, who had a hand in the resurrection and reopening of the Uptown Theatre.
I’ll say it yet again: This is nuts.