(KRON) — BottleRock is now in its fourth year, and it is setting itself apart from other music festivals.
The three-day music soiree features not only an eclectic mix of sounds from local and International stars, but it also features a Williams-Sonoma Culinary stage which showcases the fuse between chefs, musicians, athletes and TV personalities.
Another difference between BottleRock and its other music festivals counterparts is the different level of VIP experiences for fans. From the general admission daily and three-day passes to the more standard VIP, all the way to the “VIP Platinum Experience” which included, gourmet dishes prepared daily, a meet-and-greet with artists, a top of the line AC powered private tent, and stage viewing. Also, all of the perks usually reserved for celebrities are part of this experience.
Day One of the festival kicked off with Oakland’s own La Misa Negra (one of a handful of Latin acts featured in this year’s line-up.) Just like when they play in Oakland or San Francisco, La Misa Negra’s infectious cumbia beats were sure to put everyone on their feet.
The band played at the Miner Stage (sponsored appropriately by the Miner Family Winery.) This stage was also the one where another of Oakland’s resident, Fantastic Negrito had the crowd mesmerized with his jazzy sounds. His set was soulful, contagious, and guaranteed to play a packed house (or grassy stage in this case.) If there is a local show to attend, it is one of his.
One of the best sets featured at the Williams-Sonoma Culinary stage was the “Up In Smoke” with chef Chris Constantino and Cheech and Chong. Another crowd favorite was the one with Kitchen Nightmare’s Gordon Ramsey.
However, the ultimate stars of the night were without a doubt, Lenny Kravitz and Stevie Wonder, both legends in their way, and both with an interesting fan base in attendance. In the sea of faces, lots indeed resembled a BRAVO’s Housewife cast.
Lenny Kravitz took thousands of breaths away; he looked flawless as his fingers play each note of “American Woman” and “Fly Away” which are iconic and fan favorites. His backup singers gave their all on stage, the sweat on their faces reflected not only the heat but their impressive vocals.
Even after Lenny Kravitz wrapped his set, hardly anyone left their spots despite the scorching hot temperatures which were well about the mid-80s.
When it was time for Stevie Wonder to take the stage, everyone had stayed put to witness one of music’s finest close out day one of BottleRock. His set was charming as it was slightly unusual. He decided to pay tribute to recently departed artists by morphing into DJ “Tick Tick Boom.” The tribute paid homage to David Bowie, Prince, Natalie Cole, Glenn Fry, and Maurice White. While some fans expected more Stevie and less of his DJ alter ego, the truth is, to see Stevie Wonder live should be on every music lover’s bucket list.
COLD WAR, THE ORWELLS & MORE
Other notable acts from day one included: Cold War Kids (playing at the Fox Theater on September 20th), Andy Grammer, Grouplove, and The Orwells.
Day two of BottleRock was an even hotter day, with bigger crowds, and fans anxious to attend as many of the performances as possible.
While Florence + The Machine was the headliner of the night, it was none other than 90s hip-hop group The Pharcyde the ones who stole the show; their set was talked about amongst attendees and media well into the night. A highlight was when TV food personality Adam Richman appeared on stage to rap with the group. Earlier in the day, Adam had freestyled while doing his demo at the Williams-Sonoma culinary stage with the group. It appeared that after Adam’s successful rap, the members of The Pharcyde invited him to join them on stage.
Ziggy Marley followed after The Pharcyde’s set, and it was equally impressive as it was significant considering who his father was, especially when he performed “One Love” to the screams and sing-alongs of hundreds of fans.
Another notorious moment from day two was the culinary set with two of the members of Green Day, Tré Cool, and Mike Dirnt, who prepped the “Green Day Fish Filet” with Chef Morimoto. Tré Cool surprised fans with a solo on a drum kit made out of pots and pans (an appropriate addition to the culinary stage, which perfectly showcased the mix of music and food at BottleRock.)
WARRIORS FANS IN THE HOUSE
A minor grievance for some who were in attendance was the lack of screens playing the Warriors vs. OKC game 6. While there was a Coors Light bar, it was shut down by the fire Marshall because it hit capacity during halftime.
Other notable acts from day two included: Chicano Batman, K. Flay, Iration, Son Little, Atlas Genius and Death Cab For Cutie.
Day three (the final day of BottleRock) was all about Red Hot Chili Peppers. Earlier in the month fans were concerned that the band would cancel their appearance due to Anthony Kiedis’ health problems and consequent cancellation of other shows.
But, fans were not disappointed, as they engaged in one of the most anticipated sets of the festival. Their set drew thousands of souls to the Jam Cellars main stage, where certain VIP sections were closed off after reaching capacity (an occurrence similar to the earlier mishap for the Warriors game.) Part of their repertoire included: “Dani California,”Otherside” and “Under the Bridge.”
PLAYING CATCH UP WITH VERNON DAVIS
From the culinary stage, the best of Sunday’s sets was none other than the one with recently retired Raiders player, Charles Woodson, Denver’s Mark Sanchez, and former 49er and SuperBowl champion with the Denver Broncos Vernon Davis (Davis recently signed a one-year contract with the Washington Redskins.) Chef Ari Weiswasser from Glen Ellen Star showed them all about the art of carving a lamb, as they indulged in wine from Charles Woodson Wines (this year along it has produced 110 barrels.)
During an interview with Davis, he talked about how he was looking forward to seeing the Red Hot Chili Peppers live. Vernon Davis attended the festival on behalf of KRAVE Jerky, a company he has been collaborating with for the past four years. Vernon Davis is not only a SuperBowl champion, but a well-rounded athlete with a foundation (Vernon Davis Foundation Of The Arts), to help underprivileged kids give them a chance to dive into the arts by providing them with scholarships, and grants to nonprofits. In addition to the foundation, he also owns Gallery 85 in Santana Row.
Back at the Midway stage, Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness defied the windy weather and performed a fantastic set which included songs from his earlier music project Jack’s Mannequin.
LA’s Ozomatli followed Andrew’s, and in typical Ozomatli fashion, the band concluded their set by jumping off the stage and joining everyone in the grassy area, then made the rounds back to the backstage area.
Other notable acts from the final day included: Gogol Bordello, The Lumineers, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Robert DeLong, Coleman Hell, Greg Holden and X Ambassadors.
For those who want to experience everything that BottleRock has to offer, next year’s festival will take place May 26th through May 28th, and more information on ticket sales should be available in the coming months.