Here's the thing with music festivals—they're not always the best way to see music. Don't get me wrong; I'm not one to waste time on a music fest with a subpar lineup, or discredit the importance of having really killer bands as headliners. But festivals are big. They're crowded. They are, if you'll pardon my frankness, generally something of a sh*tshow.
But recently, festivals have developed all manner of edible attractions to entice new audiences. Bottle Rock, in its inaugural year, made clear that food, wine and beer were a major part of the draw, in addition to their musical lineup, which featured heavy-hitters like The Black Keys, Alabama Shakes, Ben Harper and Michael Franti. For a first-year festival, we were impressed on more levels than one.
Food offerings included dishes from major Napa and Sonoma luminaries: Cindy Pawlcyn, of Mustard's, Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen, and CP's Wood Grill and Wine Bar curated many of the selections, and featured a number of booths of her own scattered amongst the stages. A Whole Foods garden featured offerings from top restaurants including Morimoto, La Toque, The Girl and the Fig, and La Condesa. Food trucks held court near the festival entrance, offering pork belly tacos and milkshakes from Gott's Roadside.
There were some misses, like tacos from La Condesa and Morimoto's sticky, lackluster-looking ribs, and a Korean-style hot dog that would be promptly shamed by anything form 4505 meats. Lines were long, and food was expensive (pizza for $15, grilled cheese for $10), even for a festival, where inflation is the norm.
But minor criticisms aside, there was some truly excellent food to be had. The weather was gorgeous, the service was almost unfailingly friendly, and at the end of the sun-soaked day, we had plenty of fun eating and drinking our way through Bottle Rock's offerings.
Check out our snapshots from Bottle Rock in the slideshow above, and tell us about your Bottle Rock experience in the comments!
About the author: Lauren Sloss is a bicoastal food-lover who is based in San Francisco. Some of her favorite things include The Black Keys, goat gouda, and guacamole. You can follow her on Twitter @laurensloss.