BottleRock drops new 2021 lineup headlined by Guns N’ Roses, Stevie Nicks & Foo Fighters

BottleRock - 2021 lineup

BottleRock Napa Valley //
Napa Valley Expo – Napa, CA
September 3rd-5th, 2021 //

So much for 2020, right?

After releasing a lineup early last year that never got to play out over Memorial Day weekend due to the COVID-19 pandemic, BottleRock will return to Napa Valley this September with a refreshed roster that includes some newly announced acts as well as some that were revealed a year ago like Steve Nicks.

Joining the Fleetwood Mac singer at the top of the 2021 poster are iconic rock bands Guns N’ Roses and Foo Fighters, creating quite a trilogy of star power for the music festival’s eighth installment over Labor Day weekend.

While BottleRock has always catered to fans of rock ‘n’ roll (just look at many of the fest’s past headliners), it has also tried to offer an eclectic mix of genres and this year’s undercard that’s highlighted by Miley Cyrus, Megan Thee Stallion, G-Eazy, Run the Jewels, Brandi Carlile, Cage the Elephant, Portugal. The Man, Young the Giant, Maren Morris, Black Pumas, Future Islands, LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy (DJ set), Jimmy Eat World, FINNEAS, Polo G, Jack Harlow, Milky Chance, Jessie Reyez, Dominic Fike, Chromeo, Mavis Staples and Jon Batiste proves that to be the case once again. And don’t forget about Village People! After all, how often do you get to see the legendary disco group perform live these days? Anyway, peep the poster above for the rest of the lineup.

But amidst all of the music, the three-day event will have its annual live cooking demonstrations between a variety of celebrity chefs, musicians and athletes at its beloved Williams-Sonoma Culinary Stage that has seen appearances over the last several years by Alice Cooper, The Avett Brothers, Big Boi, Brett Dennen, Dan the Automator, E-40, Fitz and the Tantrums, Grouplove, Halsey, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Michael Franti, Questlove, Shakey Graves, Silversun Pickups, Snoop Dogg, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Tank and the Bangas, Warren G and more, too.

Tickets go on sale this Thursday, May 20th at 10 a.m. PT here and start at $369 for a three-day GA pass while it’s $849 if you’re going for VIP. And if you’ve been saving up during quarantine, there’s always the three-day skydeck pass that will cost you a cool $1,599 or the platinum for a whopping $4,350.

BottleRock - 2021 daily lineups

UPDATE (May 24th): BottleRock has released its daily lineups for 2021, with Stevie Nicks performing Friday, Guns N’ Roses rocking Saturday and Foo Fighters closing things down on Sunday. Take a look at the daily schedules above before single-day tickets go on sale here for $187 (GA) or $211 (FLEX) plus fees each day starting this Thursday, May 27th at 10 a.m. PT.

Arroyo Seco Weekend drops inaugural lineup led by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Mumford & Sons

Arroyo Seco Weekend

Arroyo Seco Weekend //
Brookside at the Rose Bowl – Pasadena, CA
June 24th-25th, 2017 //

For the past few years, there’s been talk about the city of Pasadena hosting a multi-day music festival near the historic Rose Bowl. Shaun White’s snowboard/music festival Air + Style was the first to give it a shot (read our review here) back in 2015, but after experiencing some noise issues, it moved to downtown LA the following year and has continued to call Exposition Park its home.

Now, those rumors have become a reality with Goldenvoice announcing the inaugural lineup for Arroyo Seco Weekend. Coming to “the shady oaks and parkland” of Brookside at the Rose Bowl in late June, the two-day festival will feature three stages of live music with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and Mumford & Sons topping the bill. But maybe even more impressive is the undercard, which includes Alabama Shakes, Weezer, The Meters, The Shins, Dawes, Fitz & the Tantrums, Live, Andrew Bird, Broken Social Scene, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Charles Bradley & The Extraordinaires, Galactic and more. Check out the poster above for the rest of the lineup.

In addition to all the live music, there will be curated menus from LA’s celebrated restaurants and chefs, including Union’s Bruce Kalman, Sweetfin Poke’s Dakota Weiss, Rose Cafe’s Jason Neroni, Broken Spanish’s Ray Garcia, Sotto’s Steve Samson and République’s Walter Matzke. Free day parking and a bike valet will be available for festivalgoers, and those looking to take public transit to the festival will have easy access to the Metro Gold Line.

Weekend passes and single-day tickets can be purchased here for $225 and $125, respectively, starting this Monday, March 20th at 11 a.m. PT. VIP passes will also be sold at a price of $399 and $225, with weekend preferred parking available for $50.

Brookside Golf & Country Club

Waterfront Blues Festival 2016: A colorful palette to feed the soul

Waterfront Blues Festival 2016By Tom Dellinger //

Waterfront Blues Festival //
Tom McCall Waterfront Park – Portland, OR
July 1st-4th, 2016 //

Portland is a remarkable city. It’s a city I’ve found to be one of the most hospitable I’ve ever encountered, and it was once again a great pleasure to cover their annual Waterfront Blues Festival over the Fourth of July weekend.

Now in its 29th year running, the Waterfront Blues Festival remains an anomaly in the world of modern music festivals. With a daily entrance cost of only $10 per day, though other levels are available like patron and benefactor which offer more perks, they continue sell out at all levels and annually raise surprisingly large amounts to donate to the Oregon Food Bank. This year they once again raised a stunning $1 million dollars! Represented in the musical lineup were artists ranging from the Portland area to California, Louisiana, Brazil and Nigeria with several of the higher-profile artists — JJ Grey & Mofro, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Samantha Fish, The California Honeydrops and Femi Kuti — also appearing at High Sierra Music Festival in Quincy, Calif., over the weekend.

Over the course of four days, there was a lot to take in. The festival featured two large stages at opposite ends of the main field, and beyond that, there were also a couple of smaller intimate stages — one offering a one-on-one opportunity with festivalgoers and the other with a dance floor. Both Portland and the Northwest in general have a wealth of excellent musicians to pull from, and every year I see a few new faces in addition to some I’ve witnessed a few times over the years. Local guitarists Ty Curtis and Ben Rice have become a couple of my favorites, and the soulful vocals of Andy Stokes and LaRhonda Steele never fail me. They always seem to provide memorable performances.

Waterfront Blues Festival 2016 - Christone Ingram


Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

There were many memorable moments over the holiday weekend, but one in particular came late in the day on July 4th as Christone “Kingfish” Ingram and Ty Curtis sat in with Samantha Fish. At just the age of 17, Ingram already has a few years of touring and recording behind him and has always been considered to be one with great potential. During his set on Saturday, it was obvious he was making good on that. He had a stronger stage presence, his voice more matured and the guitar work more expansive. It was a solid set that was well-received.

But on the festival’s final day as he, Curtis and Fish were taking things “out there,” Ingram let loose with some blistering hot runs, which in turn drove Curtis and Fish all that much harder. And the fans were loving it as if they were on a wild ride with no limits. Once the dust settled, everybody knew this was one of the great moments of the weekend with smiles all around.

Another standout performance came from Portland-based vocalist Liv Warield, a member of The New Power Generation who performed alongside Prince for several years. She reached out to members of TNPG as well as other locals to put together a tribute for Prince in a way she said he would want to be remembered. In addition to some Prince songs, there were also some of her own (Prince co-wrote songs with her) as well as from other artists whom Prince liked to play or cover. It was a riveting and powerful performance.

Waterfront Blues Festival 2016 - Igor Prado Band


Igor Prado Band

I always appreciate an international element at music festivals, and we had a few overseas acts again this year. The great Femi Kuti & The Positive Force played a stunning set with a large band that was heavy on horns, percussion and dancers as they worked a passionate performance in the Afrobeat style of his late father, Fela Kuti.

Hailing from Brazil was the Igor Prado Band, whose passion and understanding of this very American music form is undeniable. Prado is riveting on guitar, both for his playing and for his stage presence. The man knows how to work a crowd. They were also joined by keyboard ace Jim Pugh (who was in on many sets over the weekend) and Portland-based Curtis Salgado on harp and vocals.

Another big surprise came from Bay Area artist Aki Kumar. With a strong backing band at the singer’s side that featured Christoffer “Kid” Andersen on guitar, Derrick “D’mar” Martin on drums, Vance Ehlers on bass and Jim Pugh on keyboards, they played a wildly fun set that featured blues mashed up with Bollywood. It worked very well, and the crowd loved them.

Waterfront Blues Festival - Royal Jelly Jive


Royal Jelly Jive

There were artists who stretch what we might expect at a blues festival. Few embody that idea more than Los Straightjackets. Sure. Why not? We all need surf music from time to time, and these guys are fun to watch as well.

Bay Area collective Royal Jelly Jive defy categorization. With strong elements of swing, they nevertheless have a very modern sound with smart, well-crafted songs that both swing and rock a crowd, which is exactly what they did. In addition to being a fun band to watch, their unique sound and style made them a standout.

Ayron Jones and the Way were interesting. Though they are heavily blues-based, at times it felt like head-banging metal. What a kick that was!

Waterfront Blues Festival - Tedeschi Trucks Band


Tedeschi Trucks Band

Few bands seem to be so universally loved and admired more than Tedeschi Trucks Band, and on the festival’s opening night, they gave us one of their sublime sets. It was a perfect night in Portland with the Willamette River in the background and the band running through another one of its flawless, tasty performances, marking an elegant start to the festival.

Over the weekend, many names we’ve come to know and love made an appearance. Maceo Parker, Dr. John, Jimmie Vaughan, ZZ Ward, JJ Grey & Mofro and The California Honeydrops were all exciting sets to see. It was a festival that was rich in many ways. The diversity. The quality. The vibe. Even the weather was about perfect (last year it was in the 90’s).

Portland remains an impressive city that knows how to throw one hell of a party. I continue to be impressed with all they are able to accomplish, and this festival is at the top of the list. Big props to the city, the artists, the staff and the volunteers who make it all possible. I can’t wait for next year.

ZZ Ward begins Coachella week on a high at The Independent

ZZ-WardPhotos by Tom Dellinger // Written by Mark E. Ortega //

ZZ Ward with Grizfolk, The O’My’s //
The Independent — San Francisco
Sunday April 6th, 2014 //

Sunday night, in front of a sold-out crowd at The Independent, emerging R&B artist ZZ Ward proved that the old adage “pressure busts pipes” doesn’t always ring true. Ward brought her “A” game as she showcased her pipes both vocally and while breaking things down on the harmonica as she is winding down her tour before heading to Coachella this weekend.

Through the first few songs of her set, it was a bit murky as to where the show was headed. The Los Angeles-based Oregon transplant played a version of her hit “Til The Casket Drops” that was a tad understated, perhaps saving her voice for more difficult vocal endeavors later on in the evening.

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Right from jump, Ward brought an infectious energy, both in the course of her set and in her between song banter. Early in the set, Ward asked if SF was ready to party. “I know it’s Sunday, but I don’t give a fuck,” said Ward to the laughter and applause of the crowd.

By the time Ward kicked into “365 Days”, one of her other gems, she had things in full swing. She went from one side of the stage to the other, posing and serenading each section for moments at a time.

Midway through, Ward played a bluesy sounding cover of Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home” before breaking hearts with her ballad “Last Love Song” (of which a music video shot in SF would be coming out soon according to Ward). That song didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the upbeat set, but lyrically it might be her best work and she brought back the energy right away.

Before “Cryin’ Wolf”, Ward asked the crowd about a time in their life where they met someone under tipsy circumstances, to which few in the crowd volunteered the information.

“You were completely sober and it was magical and I’m happy for you,” said Ward, which got the crowd laughing again.

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Ward’s touring guitarist Erick Walls was absolutely incredible, as he wailed on the guitar all night. His contributions helped bring a more bluesy sound than what is heard on Ward’s studio work. In fact, many of Ward’s songs Sunday night sounded better live than on her studio album, a mark of a great live musician. That she’s been able to adapt her sound to the stage with ease speaks well to her future success.

Ward closed her 16-song set by coming out and performing “Blue Eyes Blind”, which had the crowd jumping up and down and waving their hands back and forth. Ward did a great job of building things up to a crescendo over the final 20 minutes, leaving fans wanting more.

Though it is still early, it is going to be hard to top her performance, which is the best I’ve seen so far in 2014. Anyone who has seen her on tour and is attending Coachella will have her marked down as must-see, and for good reason.

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