Tens of thousands of visitors are expected to descend on the city of Napa (pop. 76,915) this week, but, oddly enough, that has little to do directly with wine. They're coming for BottleRock, a five-day music festival featuring more than 60 bands on three stages, headlined by the Black Keys, the Kings of Leon, Jane's Addiction, Train, Alabama Shakes and the Zac Brown Band.
It would be a big event anywhere; it's truly seismic for Napa. BottleRock promoters expect to draw 35,000 to 40,000 music lovers each day to the Napa Valley Expo, a 26-acre plot of state-owned property best known for the annual Napa Town & Country Fair in August, which might draw 40,000 people in a week. To get a grasp on the scale of BottleRock, think Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn., or Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Southern California's Indio, two big outdoor music festivals with scores of big-name acts and huge crowds.
It's not all about the music, either. There will be about 50 wineries represented, including Miner Family, which is sponsoring one of the music stages. Dozens of local restaurants will be serving food as well.
Locals rightly expect to be overrun by tourists. Most of the choicest hotel rooms have been booked; restaurants are extending hours to accomodate the crowds. If BottleRock isn't in your plans and you hoped to visit Napa this weekend, consider Sonoma.
BottleRock is but the latest recognition that Napa, once the city everyone skipped en route to the greater Napa Valley, is a happening place. It has undergone a dramatic revival in the past five years and it now has its share of great restaurants and places to stay.
If BottleRock succeeds, it could prove to be the biggest event in Napa history.