By Dave Pehling
NAPA (CBS SF) — After more than a year delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the eighth edition of BottleRock Napa Valley brings three days of music, gourmet food and regional wines to the North Bay this Labor Day weekend with a huge line-up of acts including headliners the Highwomen, Guns n’ Roses and the Foo Fighters.
While there have been numerous changes since the planned 2020 BottleRock festival was pushed back from its traditional Memorial Day weekend staging to early October of last year before finally being postponed until the current dates, organizers have weathered many of the challenges presented by the pandemic and emerged with a slate of performing artists that is arguably even stronger than the line-up that was originally announced. That despite having announced headliner Stevie Nicks pull out in early August due to health concerns. Country star Chris Stapleton was scheduled as her replacement as the Friday main stage headliner the same day.
In late July, the festival also announced its plans for COVID safety protocols, confirming that attendees will have to show proof of either full COVID vaccination or a negative test taken in the 72 hours prior to entering BottleRock. Complete information on entry requirements and festival health and safety protocols are available on a special section of the BottleRock website.
While the aforementioned Chris Stapleton was set to close the Jam Cellars Stage Friday, a late announcement was made via Stapleton’s social media accounts that he too would have to cancel due to a “non-COVID related illness.”
It is with a heavy heart that I will be unable to perform tonight at the @BottleRockNapa Festival due to a non-COVID related illness. We sincerely apologize to the festival & attending fans. Please know it isn’t a decision we made lightly & we thank you for your understanding. pic.twitter.com/Smvi0B2ugl
— Chris Stapleton (@ChrisStapleton) September 3, 2021
Filling his place on what seems like literally a moment’s notice is the Highwomen. An all-star, all-female collective of country singers patterned after the legendary outlaw country group the Highwaymen which included Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson, the Highwomen features established songwriters Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris (who were both already scheduled to perform on Friday and will still play their solo sets on the Jam Cellars stage), Natalie Hemby and Amanda Shires. The group put out its acclaimed debut album in 2019. While Shires is unable make the show herself after recent emergency surgery, the group will be filled out by special guest Brittney Spencer. Even if some are disappointed by Stapleton’s last-minute cancellation, country fans will be witness to a one-of-a-kind performance of this augmented super group.
keep getting well bc i love you, @amandashires. i’m singing with my hero’s tonight. rehearsing with @nataliehemby on the plane right now and she sounds like rich honey butter 🍯 https://t.co/8FrSXc8kd9
— Brittney Spencer (@BrittNicx) September 3, 2021
In addition to the Highwomen, BottleRock presents an array of pop, hip hop and rock acts across six stages on Friday, including gospel soul great Mavis Staples (3:30 p.m. Jam Cellars Stage), global indie folk-rock outfit DeVotchKa (4:15 p.m. Plaza Stage), funky psychedelic garage rock/blues hero Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears (4:30 p.m. Truly Stage and 7:30 p.m. VIP Village Stage), New Orleans bounce diva Big Freedia (5:45 p.m. Truly Stage and 7:30 p.m. Jampad), electro pop favorites Chromeo (4 p.m. Verizon Stage and 6 p.m. VIP Village Stage) and Bay Area hip-hop hero G-Eazy (8:30 p.m. Verizon Stage).
Saturday’s jam-packed schedule includes headliners Guns ‘N Roses (7:30 p.m. Jam Cellars Stage) with singer Axl Rose fronting the current line-up of the band featuring returning original members guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagen and Miley Cyrus topping the bill at the Verizon Stage with her 8:30 p.m. set as well as indie rockers Young the Giant (4:15 p.m. Jam Cellars Stage) and Portugal, the Man (5:45 p.m. Jam Cellars Stage), G-Funk rapper Warren G (3:45 p.m. Jampad and 5:15 VIP Village Stage ), bluesy jam-band North Mississippi Allstars (5:15 p.m. Plaza Stage), explosive hip-hop duo Run the Jewels (7 p.m. Verizon Stage) and jazzy experimental rap crew Digable Planets (8:15 p.m. Plaza Stage).
On Sunday the festival comes to a close with a headlining set from returning alternative-rock greats Foo Fighters (7:45 p.m. Jam Cellars Stage) after sets from kinetic alt-rock bands Cage the Elephant (6:15 p.m. Jam Cellars Stage) and Jimmy Eat World (3:15 p.m. Jam Cellars Stage) and rising soul group Black Pumas (4:45 p.m. Jam Cellars Stage and 7:15 VIP Village Stage ). Meanwhile, hip-hop superstar Megan Thee Stallion (8:30 p.m. Verizon Stage) delivers risque tunes from her hit debut album Good News, Talking Heads guitarist Jerry Harrison is joined by six-string wizard Adrian Belew and global funk crew Turkuaz to perform the Talking Heads classic Remain in Light (7:15 p.m. Plaza Stage) and New Orleans jazz/soul pianist and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert bandleader Jon Batiste (5:45 p.m. Plaza Stage) plays songs from his latest celebrated album We Are. Other highlights include Australian alt-rock outfit Atlas Genius (2 p.m. Jam Cellars Stage and 7:15 p.m. Jampad), indie-pop band Future Islands (7 p.m. Verizon Stage) and Bay Area disco legends the Village People (9 p.m. Plaza Stage). The full line-up and stage schedules are available on the BottleRock website.
BottleRock also welcomes back the Williams-Sonoma Culinary Stage that will present a schedule of chef demonstrations and performances that will feature an all-star line-up of chefs interacting with a variety of musicians, vitners, well-known actors and professional athletes.
The stage will once again be hosted by KCBS “Foodie Chap” Liam Mayclem, who will introduce such figures as “small plates” pioneer Chef José Andrés, North Bay cooking icon, restaurateur and Food Network host Guy Fieri, Korean-American food truck mogul and chef Roy Choi and noted local chefs Michael Mina, Tyler Florence and Ayesha Curry will join headliner Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters, along with top musical performers at the fest including G-Eazy, Portugal.The Man, Black Pumas and James Murphy.
In addition to everything happening at the festival, BotteRock has also scheduled a number of After Dark shows away from the festival at venues in Napa and San Francisco for those festival attendees with the energy and the funds to purchase separate tickets. While three-day festival passes priced between $369 to $4,350 and individual day tickets sold out quickly when they went on sale in May, the festival has opened it’s official ticket exchange website for those interested in buying or selling tickets. More information on the festival is available at the BottleRock Napa Valley website.
BottleRock Napa Valley 2021
Friday-Sunday, Sept. 3-5, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. $139-$3,000
Napa Valley Expo