The partners behind BottleRock share insights on Napa’s largest and most anticipated music festival.
Since 2013, the music, food and wine extravaganza called BottleRock (bottlerocknapavalley.com) has steadily grown to become one of the most anticipated events for wine connoisseurs, foodies and music lovers alike. From Oct. 2-4, more than 75 acts are scheduled to appear at the Napa Valley Expo, including Dave Matthews Band, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stevie Nicks, Blondie and Janelle Monáe. Behind it all are partners Justin Dragoo, Dave Graham and Jason Scoggins.
From left: Justin Dragoo, Dave Graham and Jason Scoggins
1. How has BottleRock changed since you purchased it in 2014?
JS: Each year BottleRock finds ways to refine and elevate (literally and figuratively) the festival experience whether it be in the quality of the music lineup, the viewing decks, the culinary components or the art and overall aesthetic of the venue. Kudos to Live Nation for leaving things up to us, the local promoters, to organize and produce the event as we see fit and authentic to the Napa Valley.
2. What has been your favorite or most memorable act so far?
DG: Bruno Mars.
JS: Imagine Dragons.
JD: Tom Petty.
3. What is the process for choosing your lineups?
DG: We begin putting together our lineup at least one year in advance, so we are typically booking next year’s festival while we are staging the current festival. We also have some tried-and-true guidelines. One of them is don’t book what you like; book what BottleRock customers like. We also make sure there is something in the lineup for everyone. BottleRock has a wide demographic of customers, so we work hard to make sure that we provide a variety of genres as well as artists from different generations. We try to book artists that are touring, have new music to share.
4. How have you expanded or further showcased the food and wine component?
JS: Food, wine and beverages have always been as important as the music. We’ve stayed true to our culinary roots, and therefore we’ve built and maintained credibility with our world-class culinary partners. It all started by creating an event and environment that our food and beverage partners perceive to be on-brand with their own brands. In doing so, we attracted great culinary partners and an audience that responds to and demands these culinary offerings.
5. What can BottleRock-goers look forward to this year—and in the future?
JD: In 2020 our fans can look forward to expanded shade areas, more elevated viewing decks, a more open layout, new art installations and perhaps a couple new locations for fans to get their groove on. We’ve also been focused on sustainability for years, and in 2020 we’re continuing to push the path forward. In addition to our current programs (composting, carpooling incentives, recycling, food donations, etc.), we’re eliminating single-use plastic both at our festival and our offices, implementing a reusable wine glass program and further decreasing the use of diesel generators by moving to battery and shore power.
Photography by: Bob McClenahan (portrait); courtesy of BottleRock Napa (festival)