NAPA — BottleRock will return next year, an organizer vowed Monday as Napa took stock of a wild week that included massive but mostly well-behaved crowds getting their groove on.
The music festival lit up Napa in a way never before witnessed in Wine Country. A crowd estimated by festival organizers at well over 100,000 flowed into the city over the course of five days to rock out to more than 60 bands, nosh on gourmet food and partake of merlot and other mind-altering substances.
After five days of amplified music blaring across this city of 78,000, Napa was back to its down-tempo beat.
At the Napa Valley Expo, crews continued the massive task of cleaning up after the masses and tearing down the stages where the likes of Alabama Shakes, Kings of Leon and The Black Keys held forth.
"We got bills to pay. Thank God for these people, they got work," Napa resident Frank Rodriguez said as he raked trash in a field in front of the festival's main stage. Rodriguez said he was being paid $15 an hour for the work.
A tent city that temporarily went up at Skyline Park and drew campers from around the world to attend BottleRock was gone by mid-morning Monday. But electronic signs on highways leading into Napa still flashed directions for where people could park for the event.
BottleRock organizers are planning to re-start the party next Mother's Day weekend, albeit for three days instead of five. They accomplished what many said couldn't be done, and that was to bring a major music festival to the heart of this small city without it going up in flames.
"There's always the risk of some weirdness when people start drinking wine before noon under a hot sun, but for the most part, it was really great," said Gabe Meyers, who co-founded BottleRock with partner Bob Vogt.
Meyers said the event was held for five days this year mainly to accommodate hip-hop sensations Macklemore and Ryan Lewis last Wednesday.
"Candidly, that was probably a big bite, but it was also a great way to test all three stages to see if they worked, and to test our traffic plan to see if that worked," he said.
Organizers stumbled early on with shuttles and re-entry policies. But things seemed to be working better by the weekend, when the largest crowds descended. Organizers estimated the crowds on peak days to be about 35,000. They've not released specific ticket sales.
Meyers said BottleRock may break even financially, something he said would be almost unheard of for similar events in the first year.
He also hinted that organizers may attempt smaller music events at the Napa Valley Expo later this year.
"There's interest. We're just not ready yet to jump into that," he said.
As for the line-up at next year's BottleRock, Meyers would say only that it will include "some legendary names."
Tickets went on sale Sunday for $329 for a three-day pass, which is the same cost for a similar pass this year. Early birds can get a $50 discount by using the code "2014."
Meyers said organizers have not decided whether the festival will offer higher-priced VIP tickets. "We want to be more definitive of what a VIP is," he said.