Every great festival lineup induces some decision fatigue due to the overwhelming number of talented and diverse artists featured. This year’s BottleRock Napa Valley lineup is no different, packed with acts from the Bay Area’s special local music scene in addition to internationally renowned bands and pop stars on six stages. If you are planning to attend this weekend but don’t know where to start, you are in luck. Here’s a handy guide with selections from the busy three-day roster; you can focus on your outfit and packing your bag instead of agonizing over the hourly schedule.
Friday, May 26
Start on Friday with Bay Area-based The Band High Noon (Truly Stage, noon), which recently released its debut extended play “Swell.” Stay around for a performance by Sgt. Splendor (1 p.m.), a supergroup consisting of indie singer-songwriter Kate Vargas and guitar virtuoso Eric McFadden. The duo released its second album “Death of the Hoochie Koo” last week. If you would like to stick with rock, try Moonalice (Allianz Stage, 2:45 p.m.), which is made up of former members of the San Francisco rock band Flying Other Brothers. The band released the album “Light Side of the Moonalice-An Acoustic Adventure” earlier this year. You might also want to stop by Southern California talent Nicky Youre’s (JaM Cellars Stage, 2 p.m.) set to hear his TikTok-viral hit “Sunroof.” Find your way back to the Truly Stage to hear San Francisco’s own rock and roll band The Stone Foxes (3:30 p.m.).
Late afternoon will require some serious personal decisions. Indie pop band Lucius (VIP Village Stage, 4:30 p.m.) has released several hit records, including 2022’s “Dance Around It” featuring Brandi Carlile and Sheryl Crow. The group’s more mellow sound can provide a nice change of pace for those in need of a breather. Gen Z-favorite Yung Gravy (Verizon Stage, 4:45 p.m.) will bring his blend of trap, pop and soul to the festival grounds. His million-selling hit single “Betty (Get Money)” filled the airwaves last year. Los Angeles rock band Starcrawler (Truly Stage, 4:45 p.m.) brings its pop punk charm to wow the audience at the exact same time.
Electronic rock duo Phantogram (Verizon Stage, 6:15 p.m.) is not to be missed. The band has released four studio albums, with the aptly titled third album, 2016’s “Three,” reaching No. 9 on the American charts. After that set, catch indie rock newcomer KennyHoopla (Truly Stage, 7:15 p.m.), whose single “How Will I Rest in Peace if I’m Buried by a Highway?” and eponymous debut EP created a lot of buzz. Cap the evening with your choice of headlining performances. For old school alt-rock, return to the Verizon Stage to see The Smashing Pumpkins (8:05 p.m.) in action. For something trendier, there’s rapper and singer Post Malone (JaM Cellars Stage, 8:30 p.m.), likely to feature some of his rock-inspired work.
Saturday, May 27
The second day of the festival kicks off with a performance by East Forest (Allianz Stage, 11:45 a.m.), intriguingly described as a “multidisciplinary artist, producer and ceremony guide.” If that’s not your cup of tea, a performance by Napa Valley Youth Symphony (Truly Stage, 12 p.m.) highlighting local talent could be your first show of the day. San Francisco-based musician Jennifer Furches takes the stage as Spring Summer (Truly Stage, 1 p.m.) right after. She released an album titled “T.E.A.R.S” under the moniker last year. Buzzy singer-songwriter Maude Latour (Allianz Stage, 2:45 p.m.) is another do-not-miss performance. Her latest single “I am not the sun,” which came out earlier this month, is a shoo-in for every summer playlist. The legendary Nile Rodgers & Chic (JaM Cellars Stage, 3:15 p.m.) then brings some much-needed groove and funk to festivalgoers bathing in the California sun.
Violinist Brittney Denise Parks impressed music critics and fans last year with the release of her sophomore album, “Natural Brown Prom Queen” under her stage name Sudan Archives (Allianz Stage, 4:15 p.m.). With an immaculate track list, the record was rightfully named among the best of the year by multiple publications. Cult-favorite pop musician Carly Rae Jepsen (JaM Cellars Stage, 4:45 p.m.), who you might remember by her 2012 smash “Call Me Maybe,” will follow up Nile Rodgers & Chic with a groovy set of her own. One-man-band Dayglow (Verizon Stage, 5:15 p.m.), an indie-pop artist with lots of feel-good tunes, will provide a perfect segue into the evening.
The Unlikely Candidates (Truly Stage, 6 p.m.) are an indie rock band whose debut studio album “Panther Island” was released last year. As that set ends, indie-pop darling Tove Lo (Verizon Stage, 6:45 p.m.) will begin hers, including songs from her latest album “Dirt Femme” from last fall. The Swedish singer-songwriter is most famous for her global hit “Habits (Stay High)” and for penning hits for other artists, including Ellie Goulding, Dua Lipa and Lorde. R&B and indie pop singer-songwriter Cautious Clay (VIP Village Stage, 7:30 p.m.) is a safe bet for a cool performance. His debut single “Cold War,” released in 2017, was sampled by none other than Taylor Swift on her 2019 album “Lover.” As for the headliners, rock fans will appreciate Duran Duran (Verizon Stage, 8:20 p.m.) taking the stage right after sunset; pop powerhouse and all-around icon Lizzo (JaM Cellars Stage, 8:15 p.m.) is a must-see, worthy of your time as well.
Sunday, May 28
Thunderstorm Artis (Verizon Stage, 12:15 p.m.), who was a finalist on NBC’s singing reality competition series “The Voice,” makes the right amount of uplifting and reflective music to start Sunday’s program. Oakland-bred artist Oke Junior (Truly Stage, 1 p.m.) will bring his storytelling skills and versatile flow for a taste of Bay Area hip hop. Right after, stick around for indie pop band Honeyboys (Truly Stage, 2:15 p.m.), a five-member group including lead singer Ari Eisenberg from Napa and drummer Matt Sato from San Carlos.
Legendary singer and nine-time Grammy Award-winner Sheryl Crow (JaM Cellars Stage, 3:30 p.m.), recently announced as a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, performs next. The artist’s decades-long career is full of audience-pleasing bluesy tunes. Hip hop duo Little Stranger (Truly Stage, 4:45 p.m.) hails from Philadelphia and promises to deliver a unique melodic rap performance, citing Gorillaz and Beck as influences. Alternatively, popular Americana band Caamp (JaM Cellars Stage, 5 p.m.) will follow Crow, for those who prefer to stick around for a more folk sound.
The final evening has some tough conflicts to navigate. Wu-Tang Clan (Verizon Stage, 6:15 p.m.) hits the stage a mere 15 minutes before The National (JaM Cellars Stage, 6:30 p.m.). If you do not want to lose your spot, The National’s catalog is tailor-made for a festival, and the band’s known for its tried-and-true live performances. However, we can’t deny the important legacy of Wu-Tang Clan either—a coin toss might be needed. Blues music veteran Taj Mahal (Allianz Stage, 7:15 p.m.) debuted over 50 years ago; his vast catalog calls for a celebration Sunday evening. Red Hot Chili Peppers (JaM Cellars Stage, 8:15 p.m.) and Lil Nas X (Verizon Stage, 8:15 p.m.) are the closing headliners of three-day event. Much like Saturday, rock fans might enjoy the Red Hot Chili Peppers most, but genre-bending LGBTQ+ trailblazer Lil Nas X provides appropriate encore with a high-energy set filled with hit singles. The decision is yours.
BottleRock Napa Valley takes place May 26-28 at the Napa Valley Expo, 575 Third St., Napa. It’s sold out, though resale tickets (starting at $229 for one day) may be available via Lyte, the official verified ticket exchange. For tickets, map and more specific details, visit https://www.bottlerocknapavalley.com/ or download the BottleRock app on your smartphone.