Over the past several years, Napa, California’s BottleRock Music Festival has become one of the most noteworthy music festivals on the west coast scene. Tons of memorable artists like Bruno Mars, Florence + The Machine, Mumford & Sons, and Halsey have performed at the festival since 2013, and they continued to impress music lovers when this year’s lineup was announced. With artists like Guns N’ Roses, Miley Cyrus, The Highwomen, and Foo Fighters set to perform at this year’s festival, it was shaping up to be an exciting Labor Day Weekend for those lucky enough to be in Napa.
Held at Napa Valley Expo in downtown Napa, the festival is home to 7 performance stages and more food and drink options than one can imagine. Some of Napa’s finest wineries and eateries were represented at BottleRock, giving the crowd a wide array of food and drink options to choose from. The dining is incredible, but the star of the show at BottleRock is undoubtedly the live music. The festival’s first day included many exciting artists that we couldn’t wait to see, so we hustled over to the festival grounds and got our busy day of live music started.
The first handful of artists to perform included notable acts such as Crimson Apple – a group of four sister from Hawaii that make brooding dark-pop jams – and the lush and dreamy stylings of Suki Waterhouse, both of whom performed twice on the day. With the blistering sun shining down, synth-pop trio MUNA gave the early afternoon crowd a hugely energetic performance. Band members Katie, Naomi, and Josette danced their way through heartbreak while performing tracks from their two stellar albums, About U and Saves the World. This was just days before the band released their Phoebe Bridgers collaboration “Silk Chiffon”, which they introduced and performed for the first time for the BottleRock crowd.
As the day kept kicking, blues/gospel legend and civil rights activist Mavis Staples showered the BottleRock crowd in positivity and inspiration. Her magnetism is undeniable and her voice is as commanding as ever. Not long after, other acts like the funk-duo Chromeo, the pop-country charmer Maren Morris, and the multi-talented FINNEAS took over various BottleRock stages. Soon after came Big Freedia and her big diva energy, as well as six time Grammy winner Brandi Carlile – who was also set to perform later with her group The Highwomen in the headlining slot.
As the day was hitting its climax, it was time for headliner G-Eazy to take the Verizon Stage while other headliner The Highwomen took the JaM Cellars Stage. Both Stevie Nicks and Chris Stapleton were previously scheduled to play the JaM Cellars Stage at this time but after their respective cancellations, The Highwomen were announced to fill the spot last minute. The all-female country supergroup comprised of Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris, Natalie Hemby, and Brittney Spencer – the later of whom was stepping in for original group member Amanda Shires who couldn’t make it to the festival – were an absolute force to close out the first day of BottleRock.
Stunning harmonies and raw lyrics were delivered by the four charismatic women who seem born to be on stage together. Despite not being an original member, Brittney Spencer was absolutely fantastic and gelled beautifully with the other women. They each had their chance to shine and tell their story, while constantly supporting each other throughout. It was a fantastic way to end the first day of BottleRock that had us counting down the seconds until day two. Check out some photos from the first day of BottleRock below!
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