NAPA — Heather Kilby has been to more music festivals than she can count — 10 of them accompanied by her 14-month-old son Xanderkhai — so she knows what it takes to make a good festival.
On Saturday afternoon, Kilby, 32, of Quincy, pushed Xanderkhai in his baby stroller through throngs of people listening to Dwight Yoakam at the BottleRock Napa Valley music festival at the Napa Expo. Xanderkhai yanked off his protective earplugs as soon as Kilby put them on.
"He's getting to the age when he can take them off," Kilby said. "I've been here Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Today I finally had to say it's too many people."
Kilby and her son are among the tens of thousands of people who have attended BottleRock this week, many of them several days running.
Napa Police Capt. Jeff Troendly said an estimated 30,000 people showed up for Saturday's performances by 16 bands, including Kings of Leon, Jane's Addiction and Bad Religion. There were "one or two" arrests for public intoxication, he said, and reports of several alcohol-fueled assaults, but no arrests were made.
On Saturday, day four of the five-day festival, many said it had lived up to their expectations.
"I think it's awesome. They did a good job with the set up," said Beth Foley of San Francisco.
Foley said she also attended Friday to see The Flaming Lips, who she said "were amazing." On Saturday she came to see Ben Harper. Foley said the festival layout made it easy to see multiple bands.
That close proximity created a barrage of sound from all directions as festival-goers walked from one stage to the next, none of them more than a minute-long stroll from the other.
Steve Spencer, a 34-year-old developer from Fresno, stood on the left side of the Miner Family Winery stage, holding two plastic cups of beer while listening to Jackson Browne. In front of him was a crowd of several thousand people swaying to "Somebody's Baby."
"I'm debating whether or not I'm going to elbow my way in there," he said, explaining that his friends were in the middle of the crowd.
Spencer, whose friend bought him a VIP ticket for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, said he "was having a great time," though it was not without its hangups. The festival ran out of VIP T-shirts and gift cards.
"We are VIP but apparently not very important," he said.
Still, he said, all the other VIP amenities, including the special viewing areas, the less crowded beer lines and the reserved bathroom area "made it worth it."
There were long lines for everything on Saturday, whether it was the water line, the beer line or any of the myriad food lines.
Fred Tatman, owner of Earthly Delights, was grilling chicken for hungry concert-goers at about 4 p.m. He said he's fed a couple thousand people since the start of the event, with business picking up each day since Wednesday.
His investment was significant, he said, including buying a $5 million insurance policy for $1,000 and paying a $3,000 site fee.
"In spite of all the big expenses up front I think we're going to do just fine," he said.
Jesus Cortez, a 10-year-old boy who lives on Juarez Street, which fed thousands of festival attendees to the main entrance, said he made about $100 on Saturday afternoon selling bottled water for $2. He started his little venture on Friday.