For 21-year-old Bryce Meichtry, skipping his graduation ceremony to join in the fun of Sunday’s BottleRock festivities at the Napa Valley Expo meant more than anything to him.
Who could blame him?
The third and final day of BottleRock drew nearly 40,000 people who enjoyed the cool, breezy temperatures and laid-back Sunday vibe after two days of music and fun.
People in colorful cowboy boots carried festival umbrellas and twirled and waved their hands in the air in the crowd.
The big headliners of the day, P!nk, country music singer Luke Combs and rapper and singer Pitbull, among several other artists, closed the last day of the huge Wine Country.
Aly & AJ, the sister pop duo who joined Warriors National Basketball Association champion Festus Ezeli and journalist Adam Housely to make Sangria at the Williams Sonoma Culinary Stage in the late afternoon.
Bryce Meichtry, 21, from O’ahu, Hawaii, dressed in a cap and graduation gown on Sunday, said he was nearly two hours away from graduating from the University from San Diego when he decided to skip the ceremony and join his family for his mother. 50th anniversary and for BottleRock.
“I’m throwing up my graduation pom pom on one of the sets,” he then grabbed a vodka lemonade drink from one of the festival’s drink stands. “I’m here for my family, the girls, the booze and the music.”
The three-day music, food, craft beer and wine festival resumed its regular Memorial Day weekend schedule this year after being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and postponed to 2021 over Labor Day weekend.
On the JaM Cellars stage, indie artist Jaleh’s sultry voice attracted hundreds of grateful fans, who sat or lay on blankets, as she continued her electrifying musical performance full of cabaret sounds, funk and soul.
The extremely cold and groovy performance had the event’s security guards dancing during Jaleh’s musical performance.
A participant, in her second year, watched Jaleh’s performance while holding a pink umbrella in the air. She said she had been listening to BottleRock’s playlist for months and came across indie artist Jaleh.
“I discovered Jaleh’s music months ago and fell in love,” said Yifat Scheen, 42, who traveled from Reno with her husband to join thousands of others for the festival. “I wanted to check it out.”
People looking for a change of pace and refreshment found themselves at the Club, a small dark indoor venue that featured flashing red and blue lights and a crowd of around 100 people dancing to the deep house artist DJ Jetset.
San Francisco couple Allegra Aguiar, 24, and Jack Palmore, 26, who were spinning and shaking their heads to deep house music inside the Club, proclaimed the three-day experience as one of their favorite music festivals.
“BottleRock is one of the best festivals in the country,” said Aguiar, whose shimmering eyeshadow shimmered in the spotlight. “We love coming to the Club. It’s a nice change of pace.
“We can’t wait to see P!nk tonight,” added Palmore.
An attendee hanging out near the festival’s Cisco Silent Disco stage where hundreds of people with headphones gathered in front of a DJ and danced – drinks in the air without a care in the world.
“The music festival is so open and accepting,” said Olivia Rose Rubinelli, 23, who showed up in a punk rock outfit. “It’s just good vibes.”
You can reach editor Mya Constantino at [email protected] @searchingformya on Twitter.