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Published: 2016/06/03
by Mara Menachem

BottleRock Napa Valley, Napa Valley Expo, Napa, CA- 5/27-29

RHCP- photo by Stuart Levine

While some music festivals have become gatherings for skinny fans in designer clothing who are there as much for the selfies as for the music, Bottlerock Napa offers a refreshing alternative. While it delivers comforts like foodie-worthy snacks, easy access to the stage and a kiddie corner, music is still the most important feature. In its fourth year, the three-day event included an eclectic mix of bands, from LA’s ultra- cool Guardian Ghost to the phenomenal acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela to Stevie Wonder and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Lenny Kravitz- photo by Stuart Levine

Opening day saw Lenny Kravitz take the crowd back to the 70’s in an all-out rock-n-roll show, playing favorites like “Mr. Cab Driver” and “Are you Gonna Go my Way?”; and Buddy Guy played a set so intimate that the crowd felt transported to his living room- proof that this man is keeping the Blues alive. After, Stevie Wonder closed the night with a perplexing tribute to Bowie, Glenn Frey and Prince by playing their songs from his iPod, the audience sat silent, but quickly changed their tune upon hearing “Superstition.”

Moonalice kicked things off Saturday night, their surprise guest Melissa Etheridge belted out a cover of “Me & Bobby Mcgee” giving everyone goosebumps. Dressed in a translucent lime-green gown and bounding with an astounding energy, Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine killed it with their hit, “Dog Days are Over.”

Rodrigo y Gabriela- photo by Stuart Levine

The talented Langhorne Slim & The Law and the funky Pimps of Joytime kept the energy high on Sunday. The Lumineers stopped everyone in their tracks with a truly authentic performance. Lead singer Wesley Schultz visibly paused to take in the recognition and love when what seemed like all 40,000 festivalgoers sang along to, “I Belong to You.”

But the Red Hot Chili Peppers ruled the day. The anticipation in the air was palpable even before they took the stage, but the first guitar rip of “Can’t Stop,” quickly broke the tension and the crowd rose to their feet to pay homage to the Rock & Roll gods standing before them. They played crowd pleasers like their cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” and “Californication,” ensuring that each fan left satisfied. They closed out the festival with “Give it Away,” the song that catapulted this one-time small band into fame.

At Bottlerock, the coolest people were on stage while the audience got to come as they were, eat well, drink well, sing along to every song and dance all day.

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