BottleRock Festival 2024: Napa’s Premier Celebration of Music, Food, and Wine

BottleRock Festival
Napa Valley Expo
May 24 – May 26 2024

As the sun set over Napa Valley this Memorial Day weekend, BottleRock wrapped up another unforgettable three-day extravaganza of music, food, and wine. The Napa Valley Expo transformed into a wine lover’s playground, where art installations, wine tastings, and silent discos added to the festivities. The festival’s layout, with its thoughtfully designed stages and chill zones, facilitated a relaxed yet vibrant vibe for the 120,000 attendees at the sold-out gathering. Families with kids, groups of friends, and solo adventurers alike all found their groove, dancing together in palpable camaraderie under the California sun.

Ed Sheeran. Photo by Miranda McDonald

Now in its 11th year, BottleRock has firmly established itself as a premier event that seamlessly blends world-class performances with gourmet experiences, attracting a diverse crowd of music lovers, foodies, and culture enthusiasts. Featuring a stellar lineup that spanned genres and generations, BottleRock brought together headliners Stevie Nicks, Pearl Jam, and Ed Sheeran, who all delivered performances that left audiences in awe.

The legendary Stevie Nicks headlined Friday with a spellbinding show, her ethereal voice casting a magical spell over the valley on a starry night. From classic favorites like Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams, “Gypsy,” and “Rhiannon,” to solo gems like “Edge of Seventeen” and “Stand Back,” the timeless icon did not disappoint, leaving the audience enchanted in the light of the full moon. She closed with a goosebump-inducing version of “Landslide” that hovered over the crowd like a lullaby no one wanted to end.

Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder

Saturday’s headliner, Pearl Jam, performed a high-energy two-hour set to a massive crowd. Eddie Vedder indulged in easy banter with the audience, at one point asking how many call Napa Valley home. In response to the onslaught of cheers, Vedder retorted, “You lucky bastards.” The band went on to cover a range of hits, including “Even Flow,” “Corduroy,” “Daughter,” “Black,” and “Alive.” And Vedder pointed out that “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town” was written and recorded, in Nicasio, a tiny Old West relic of a town located about forty miles from Napa in Marin County.

Dehd. Photo by Alden Bonecutter

Near the end of the show, Pearl Jam surprised the crowd by inviting Oscar-nominated Bradley Cooper on stage to perform Jason Isbell’s “Maybe It’s Time” from the actor’s remake of A Star Is Born. (Cooper says Vedder inspired his character in the film.) Cooper returned for the rousing closer, Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World.”

Brittany Davis band. Photo by Priscilla Rodriguez

Ed Sheeran, Sunday’s headliner, managed to play a 90-minute one-man show despite technical difficulties that rendered his keyboard — the only other instrument on stage besides his guitar — mostly useless. Unfazed, he powered through “Give Me Love,” “Eyes Closed,” and, once the keyboard came back online, “Shivers.” He saved his biggest hit, “Shape of You,” for the end, just after he stated, “This might well be the best festival around.”

Not only did Sheeran rock his own stage Sunday, he also surprised festivalgoers by joining Orange County punk band The Offspring for “Million Miles Away.” The Offspring played ‘90s hits like “Pretty Fly for a White Guy” and “Come Out and Play” to a large crowd, closing with their best-known hit, “Self-Esteem.”

Megan Thee Stallion. Photo by Elena Strawn

The undercard was equally impressive, featuring acts like Megan Thee Stallion, Queens of the Stone Age, Cannons, T Pain, My Morning Jacket, Gogol Bordello, and Maná, along with a slew of up-and-coming artists.

BottleRock is as much about the culinary experience as it is about the music. The festival’s culinary stage saw top chefs and musicians collaborating in entertaining cooking demos. This year, celebrity chef José Andrés was featured, along with Cameron Diaz, Bradley Cooper, Tommy Lee, and members of The Offspring. Golden State Warriors point guard, Stephen Curry, poured glasses of his own brand’s wine for VIP guests. The sight of rock stars and chefs playfully bantering while whipping up gourmet dishes added a unique flavor to a festival already replete with flare.

Pearl Jam’s Massive Audience

Food and drink options were abundant, with local restaurants and food trucks offering everything from gourmet tacos and lobster to artisanal ice cream and $42 hot dogs lined with caviar for some reason. Napa Valley’s renowned wineries and craft breweries ensured that attendees had a wide array of beverages to choose from, perfectly complementing the culinary offerings.

And because it’s situated among some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, it’s not just the festival that makes BottleRock such an unforgettable experience. Napa Valley itself offers so many breathtaking ways to enhance a festival weekend. From hot air balloon rides to e-bike rentals through sunny vineyards and wine tasting at castles, all it took was a little guidance from the Cuvée app’s in-house concierge for me to discover that a sunset dinner on the Napa Valley Wine Train is an actual thing (something I hadn’t realized despite being a longtime Bay Area resident). Sipping sparkling wine with a delectable four-course dinner whilst gently chugging through Napa’s fabled vineyards, the golden hour sunshine in my eyes, was the perfect encore to this fabulous festival weekend.

Grace Bowers. Photo by Miranda McDonald

With its strikingly eclectic lineup, gourmet experiences, and inviting atmosphere, BottleRock was a triumphant celebration of music, food, and culture. It wasn’t just an event — it was an experience, a testament to the enduring power of the trinity of live music, culinary delights, and human connection. And as the last notes echoed through Napa Valley and the festival lights dimmed, attendees drifted away with satisfied smiles and a weekend of memories that will linger long after the final encore.

Top photo by Quinn Tucker

Uncredited photos by Dragonfly de la Luz