Experience the first taste of summer at BottleRock! Each year in May, one of the world's most highly-anticipated music festivals takes over Napa Valley. This three-day music, wine, food and craft brew extravaganza takes place in the heart of the City of Napa at the Napa Valley Expo. Imagine Dragons, Neil Young, Mumford & Sons headline this year, along with an exciting lineup of rising stars (think Padma Lakshmi, Andrew Zimmern, and more) on the culinary stage. Planning to attend? Check out these tips from local photographer Bob McClenahan, who is on hand (and backstage) every year to document the festivities. 

What do first-timers need to know? BottleRock can seem overwhelming at first. There are four stages, a culinary stage, food vendors, the spa, and tasting rooms. BottleRock has an app that allows you to schedule your day. Get there early. Stay late. Soak up the experiences. 

Beyond the main music stage, what are BottleRock’s highlights? The culinary stage, where celebrity chefs are paired with athletes, actors, and musicians.

Name some “can’t-miss” pics. The best camera candy happens during the last acts of the day. Once it gets dark and the concert lighting kicks in, that’s when it gets really fun to shoot. It’s a lot more complicated to photograph with the crazy lighting, flames, and smoke, but it’s so worth it.

What’s your top BottleRock memory?  Hanging out backstage with rock stars, being on stage with 20,000 people in front of me, and photographing celebrities. My camera is my ticket to amazing experiences.

Find the artist lineup, culinary lineup, and tickets at bottlerocknapavalley.com. 

Interview written by Lauren Eberle for the 2019 Napa Valley Visitor Magazine.