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To BottleRock or Not to BottleRock?

That is the question. Is wine country's own mega music festival worth it?

Bad Religion is among 60 acts taking the stage at BottleRock.

Napa’s first mega-size music festival (May 9–12) has quite a lineup: Furthur, The Black Keys, the Flaming Lips, Kings of Leon. But with so many other Bay Area mega-musicfests to choose from, is BottleRock worth the schlep?

Reasons To Go

Bragging rights: If BottleRock becomes the next Bonnaroo, you can say you were there at the start.

You may actually get close enough to hear: The estimated crowd is 35,000, versus 65,000 for this summer’s Outside Lands and 500,000 for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass.

The party isn’t over just because the concert is: The downtown Napa location means lots to do into the wee hours.

You don’t have to commit: One-day passes are already on sale (you can’t get them for Outside Lands until the weekend before).

The weather: The average daily high in Napa in May is 74 degrees. Real toilets! 82, to be exact, plus plenty of Porta-Potties. 

Reasons To Skip

The acts are spread a bit thin: With 60 bands over four days, you’ll need to use some precious vacation days to see every one—and many of them will probably be back for Outside Lands or Treasure Island Music Festival, anyway.

There’s nowhere (affordable) to stay...and a 50-minute commute sucks: Although you could hop on a shuttle from downtown S.F.

You just blew all your money on Coachella: Maybe next year?


Originally published in the May 2013 issue of San Francisco.

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