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BottleRock 2016: All Grown Up

In Music
Crucial Unicorn: It wouldn't be a summer music festival without one.

Crucial Unicorn: It wouldn't be a summer music festival without one.

BottleRock, the Napa Valley music, food and art festival, has come a long way since it’s inaugural year in 2013, when the founding promoters lost their collective shirts on the event.

I didn’t make it to the first BottleRock, which featured headliners Kings of Leon, The Black Keys, Zack Brown Band and Further. But I did attend the 2014 festival—described by the festival’s new promoters, Latitude 38 Entertainment, as a “rebuilding year” in an interview with the Napa Valley Register.

Indeed, the 2014 festival had the feel of an event that was held together with superglue and duct tape. Things were working, but it was far from perfect. In particular, the parking situation in 2014 was a total mess: as I was attempting to leave, I asked a multitude of staffers where to find the shuttles to take me back to the offsite parking lot, which was several miles away. Ultimately, I found myself standing on a bridge overlooking the Napa River and nowhere near where I needed to be.

This year was different. Though I didn’t use the offsite parking, exiting the festival I did see much more staff directing foot traffic; the fully functional mobile app, was integrated with Spotify and Facebook and pinged me with reminders of the bands I wanted to see; festival wristbands were digitized, with tiny chip-embedded medallions, which I used to enter the festival every day; and there were far more food vendors that I could have hoped to sample over the course of my three days there.

All in all, BottleRock 2016 seems like a festival that’s all grown up. I look forward to next year. Until then, check out a collection of pics from this year’s event below, or check out the full gallery here.

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For the full gallery, click here.

 

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