Let’s get real, it’s no shocker that this year’s BottleRock Napa Valley music festival sold out in early January. Sure, it had a rocky start and a $2 million dollar debt in catering fees for its first year in 2013, but now the fifth annual festival has blossomed into a much-anticipated, well-known event of its own. After four years, the Wine Country fest is now mentioned among other California music festivals like OutsideLands or Coachella and has made countless must-see summer festival lists.
Of course, with great power comes great responsibility. What about the people who can’t afford a more-than-$300 ticket, or those who couldn’t get a ticket before this epic festival sold out? Oh, and then there are the festival champions too, who need to pregame for the festival on Wednesday and Thursday, and then just keep partying and grooving to music after the weekend event.
Fear not, it seems the festival organizers thought of this ahead of time. There’s a pretty good chunk of aftershows happening before the festival kicks off, and immediately after the festival gates close. Well, sort of — there’s a few during the event, too. Which seems a bit silly to me because who pays hundreds of dollars for a ticket and leaves early?
BottleRock aftershows aren’t necessarily new; I went to one last year. I got to see Robert DeLong, a one-man electronic music artist, both at the festival and then again at The Uptown Theatre in Downtown Napa. In all honesty, while it was nice to catch DeLong in a large crowd, it was even better to catch him in a smaller, more intimate setting. Plus, since the venue was right down the street from the festival, I walked over and got to avoid the traffic out of Napa.
Though the aftershow I went to was down the street, a few of these aftershows are not actually in Napa, which makes sense when you think about just how many of the performers on the BottleRock lineup are coming in from out of town. Plus, I suppose this also allows those who thought the drive to Napa Valley was too far from San Francisco or Sacramento to stay local while still getting a little piece of the BottleRock action.
As much as I love Modest Mouse, I won’t be leaving the festival three hours early to get to The Masonic in San Francisco at 8 p.m. to catch the band. Nor will I drive to Sacramento from the North Bay, where both Dirty Heads and Gnash are playing at Ace of Spades on Wednesday and Thursday respectively. But these are great opportunities for people who live in these areas, couldn’t score a ticket, or want to catch their favorite act in a smaller venue. Check out the full list of official BottleRock aftershows below:
Wednesday, May 24
JJ Grey & Mofro with Kuinka at the JaM Cellars Ballroom, second floor, Margrit Mondavi Theater, Napa Valley Opera House in downtown Napa.
Dirty Heads with special guest Hirie at Ace of Spades in Sacramento.
Thursday, May 25
Third annual “Vines & Vibes” with Michael Franti & Friends at Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford, Napa Valley.
Dirty Heads with special guest Hirie at the JaM Cellars Ballroom in Napa.