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BottleRock festival features rare Napa sight: Tent city

  • John Quilichini, left, of Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada, Aleksandra Bernauer, and Mark Andrews, both of Victoria, B.C., Canada, set up their tents in the campsite for Bottle Rock, in Napa, on Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat)

Robbie Harrison is a Santa Rosa building inspector and a veteran Deadhead who has attended rock festivals all over the world.

On Thursday, the Forestville man relaxed outside his tent in what may be the most unusual setting of all his rock-and-roll adventures, a park in Napa where hundreds are camping out this week for BottleRock.

"This could work out really well," said Harrison. "It's mellow. So far."

BottleRock Napa: Day 2

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The campsite breaks new ground for Napa, where tents normally are reserved for wine club members and camping out is a term usually applied to waiting for a good seat at one of the city's much smaller special events, such as an annual holiday parade.

By contrast, the temporary tent city at Skyline Park about two miles from where BottleRock is being staged has attracted music fans from around the world, including Mark Andrews and two of his friends who arrived in Napa on Wednesday after driving 15 hours from British Columbia.

Andrews, a telecom worker, soaked in the rays of a warm sun while seated in a folding chair with his shirt off. He and his friends, who are in their 30s, have never been to California before. They spent $599 each on four-day VIP passes to BottleRock, in what they said amounted to a trip of a lifetime.

"Awesome lineup. California. It's definitely a bucket-list kind of thing," Andrews said.

With every room booked in the Napa Valley and in many surrounding communities for BottleRock, camping became the only option for die-hards who want to stay overnight near the event.

As many as 1,800 campers are expected to take over the vacant field at Skyline, which is owned by the state of California. The camp was about half-full Thursday but is expected to be packed this weekend, with all 450 campsites taken.

The campsite on Thursday included the usual rock-and-roll requisites of tie-dye and aroma of marijuana. But it also had a laid-back Wine Country vibe appropriate for the setting.


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