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FOMO – aka, “Fear of Missing Out” – is a real thing at BottleRock Napa Valley.
There’s just so much going on at this hugely popular music festival, which runs May 24-26 in downtown Napa, that there’s always a chance of missing something special.
After all, you can’t be everywhere at once, so there’s no way to see every second of the 70-plus acts performing on multiple stages at the festival. Plus, one needs to also carve out time to enjoy the great food and drink offerings as well what’s going on at the Williams Sonoma Culinary Stage, which this year features Trisha Yearwood, Alice Cooper, Ken Griffy Jr. and many other notable guests.
That’s why you need a game plan going into the three-day event, to ease the FOMO and help you enjoy festival to the fullest.
Fortunately, we’re here to help.
Here’s our hour-by-hour guide to the 2019 BottleRock Napa, detailing exactly where you should be at each moment of the festival.
For more information, visit www.bottlerocknapa.com.
The BottleRock Napa Valley hourly guide:
Day One, May 24
Let’s begin the 2019 BottleRock Napa Valley experience on an East Bay note as Shannon Shaw (of Oakland’s Shannon & the Clams) opens the big JaM Cellars Stage at 12:15 p.m. The vocalist-bassist is at BottleRock in support of debut solo platter, “Shannon In Nashville,” inspired by the Dusty Springfield classic “Dusty in Memphis” of 1969.
Give Shaw about 30 minutes of your undivided attention and then grab a quick bite – perhaps some sushi from Morimoto? – before heading over to hear vocalist Natalie Carol lead her captivating indie-rock act Valley Queen on the Lagunitas stage from 1 to 1:45 p.m. Then beeline back to the JaM Cellars Stage for the soulful rock/R&B outfit Vintage Trouble.
Stick with Vintage Trouble until 2:45 p.m. then move over to the Bai Stage to see what rising pop star Alec Benjamin is all about. Hopefully he’ll play his popular single “Let Me Down Slowly” fairly early in the set so that you can head back to JaM Cellars for the New Wave/pop act Neon Trees right at 3:15 p.m. Maybe give Neon Trees a good half hour before departing for Lovelytheband – best known for the cool chart-topper “Broken” – on the Firefox Stage.
Lovelytheband runs right up to 4:30 p.m., which gives us plenty of time to make it back over for the start of Jenny Lewis at JaM Cellars at 4:45 p.m. Lewis is a terrific singer-songwriter, who got her start in the memorable indie-rock act Rilo Kiley, so stick with her through her entire hour-long set. Then race over to catch the last 20 minutes or so of Alabama soul singer Anderson East on the Bai Stage.
Anderson East continues through 6:15 p.m., which gives us just enough time to grab a quick bit – perhaps some Indian street food from Curry Up Now – before circling right back to Bai Stage to witness the greatness that is the Dandy Warhols. The Portland, Oregon band is responsible for two of the best rock records of the last 25 years – 1997’s “The Dandy Warhols Come Down” and, even better, 2000’s “Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia” – so that’s part of the reason why it is our top recommendation for Day One. So, in other words, catch every second of the Dandys’ hour-long set. (Read our interview with the Dandy Warhols’ Courtney Taylor-Taylor here.)
Let’s mix it up for the remaining two hours, starting with hip-hop star Logic, who takes the Firefox Stage at 8 p.m. He’s a solid entertainer, so give him a half hour or so before getting your Celtic-rock fix over at the Bai Stage with Flogging Molly. Then, depending on your mood, end your evening with either electronic-music legend Paul Oakenfold on the Lagunitas Stage or radio favorites Imagine Dragons, who close down the big JaM Cellars Stage on Day One.
Day Two, May 25
Organizers do a really good job incorporating local talent into this internationally renowned festival, so let’s start Day Two with the Napa Valley Youth Symphony at noon, followed by the Silverado Pickups at 12:45 p.m., both on the Bai Stage. And you might want to do so while chomping on some of that famed Ad Hoc fried chicken, which should make for an excellent brunch. But you definitely need to be over at Firefox Stage by 1:30 p.m. so you can catch all 45 minutes of the excellent L.A. punk act the Regrettes.
Did somebody say donuts? Why, yes, that’s an excellent idea, so off to Boon Fly Café you go. Then work off all that food – ugh, OK, so maybe fried chicken and donuts were not the best combination – with Florida punk-rockers Against Me! on the Firefox Stage at 2:45 p.m.
Move on to see the multi-talented rock-pop star Elle King at 3:15 p.m. on the JaM Cellars Stage. And, really, we won’t stray too far (or too long) away from JaM the rest of the day, given what’s to come.
As King finishes up with the top 10 single “Ex’s & Oh’s,” make a short trip over to see Sir Sly at the Firefox Stage. Then it’s right back to JaM with Gary Clark Jr., as the guitar hero lights up the fretboard fireworks beginning at 4:45 p.m. Trust us, there’s no other place you need to be for the next hour. Then, however, race over to Firefox Stage for some Chevy Metal
What’s Chevy Metal? Glad you asked. It’s a ‘70s rock cover band, which plays Black Sabbath, Van Halen and other well-known acts, and it’s led by Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters fame. That should definitely be worth 30 or so minutes of your time. Then head right back to JaM again with Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, which take the stage at 6:15 p.m. Give them a full hour, then make sure to catch at least some of the Cypress Hill set in progress on Firefox Stage, which continues until 7:45 p.m.
With “Insane in the Brain” still echoing in your ears, take a break for dinner and grab a sandwich from Bouchon Bakery.
Two words: Neil Young. It’s been way too long since the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer played a big show in Northern California so let’s enjoy every second of his set with Promise of the Real, which runs 8:15-10 p.m. on the JaM Cellars Stage.
Day Three, May 26
By this point, most fans are feeling the impact of two full festival days and might want to slow down on Sunday. Sorry, that’s not an option here. We need you at BottleRock right as the gates open so that you’re ready to hear rising Bay Area vocal star Jes Frances take the Lagunitas Stage at noon.
Stick with Frances for 30 minutes and then tear yourself away to catch the remainder of the Con Brio set, which runs through 1:15 p.m. at the JaM Cellars Stage. Then back to Lagunitas to hear Dustbowl Revival’s mix of funk, bluegrass and roots music, before jumping over to see accomplished pop singer-songwriter Skylar Grey take the JaM Cellars Stage at 1:45 p.m.
It’s past lunch time, so make time for some Forge Pizza and then aim to catch some of electro-pop trio SHAED, performing on the Bai Stage 2:30-3:30 p.m. That leads us right to one of top attractions of Day Three – Too Short – who rocks the Firefox Stage beginning at 3:45 p.m. Too Short is an East Bay legend, so expect the crowd to really be fired up to see this hip-hop star perform.
Stick with Short right to the end of the set then spend 20 minutes or so with another Bay Area favorite, Michael Franti and Spearhead, performing on JaM. But you’ll want to be back at Firefox Stage by 5:15, so that you enjoy the amazing vocal talents of Bishop Briggs.
Briggs will take you all the way until 6:15 p.m., leaving you just enough time to make it to the Lagunitas Stage for the awesomeness that is the New Orleans eight-piece brass band Soul Rebels. We fully expect that the Soul Rebels will be one of the top acts of the entire weekend.
Fully realizing that haven’t devoted enough time to the Williams Sonoma Culinary Stage this weekend, we recommend catching at least part of the collaboration between Chef Andrew Zimmern and shock-rocker Alice Cooper, which begins at 7:30 p.m.
Where will you spend the last hours of the 2019 BottleRock Napa? Mumford and Sons is the headliner on the big JaM Stage. But both Santana on the Firefox Stage or Big Boi sound more appealing. So, split your time between Santana and Big Boi, after stopping at the Girl and the Fig stand for some quick dinner.