The Amber Snider Trio playing BottleRock Napa Valley in the VIP Lounge 6/1/14 -
Photo courtesy of Sweetie Pies.
I grew up in and around Napa and when I was in school all those years ago, there wasn’t too much excitement happening for a young person, especially if you were under the age of 21, there definately WAS NOT a music scene. The entire county (and world!) seemed to cater to the wine drinking tourists and after the wineries closed up for the night, you could literally hear crickets (drunken crickets, but crickets nonetheless).
Over the next decade or so, I moved to San Francisco, Los Angeles and then circled back to the Napa area as have so many others I know (the common joke among us being that in an ancient Native American language, “Napa” really means “to return home again” – though before it was a wine producing region I’m pretty sure it meant Chinese cabbage).
|Jake Lake of The Sorry Lot & I Back Stage|
In the years to follow Napa’s music scene grew and grew. There had always been small bars & restaurants in the Valley with the occasional mini- music scene that would come and go, though nothing worthy of the hordes of eager tourists, most of whom always seemed a bit lost and disappointed after the wine tasting for the day was done. I saw this up close as in addition to being a musician playing shows, including hosting open-mike nights, a web designer/graphic artist/marketing girl, I was also a limo-driver who did wine tours).
Of course there were private winery parties but not everyone received an invite. I saw this up close and personal because in addition to playing music, hosting open-mikes, doing web-design/graphics, I also ran limo wine-tours. Please always asked me what there was to do at night, my answer was always "not much".
The Deadlies playing BottleRock Napa Valley on the City winery Stage 5/31/14
Me with KVYN DJ / City Winery Marketing Goddess, Mindi Levine.
My band played in the VIP lounge (we were also selected to perform in a few promotional events leading up to the festival: a BottleRock Promo Video/Photo Shoot, Guitar Center and Pre-Bottle Rock Breakfast shows). All of us local musicians and music enthusiasts helped with promoting BottleRock Napa Valley 2014 handing out & putting up flyers, posting online, etc.
|Alena Bliss of Miss Bliss Booking & Cole Armstrong, |
our VIP Lounge Manager both worked tirelessly.
BTW, I'm a big LL Cool J fan from way back. This picture (left) from when I was 14 years old shows a life-sized poster of him on my door, complete with glitter heart fantasies stickers :) Pic below was from BottleRock Napa Valley - June 1, 2014.
Shameless Hair Plug (LOL): Of course, I had to get my pre-BottleRock hair cut & color by Mega Hair Stylist Lindsey McCabe at Bloom in Napa! Yeah baby! (See image right) She transformed my hair from Raggity Ann to Festival Fashionista. Oh and BTW I haven't had bangs since I was a kid. Thanks girl!
Back to the festival... The incredible musical lineup brought a diverse and eclectic group of people together from all over the planet and so did the dozens of high-end food and wine options available.
You could get almost anything you were in the mood for and though it was pricey (4 beers = $48 ), it was mostly amazing; it is after all, the Napa Valley. Food and wine is a given, but music? Now that’s a whole new beast and I am glad to see it finally happening.
Here’s a list of the festival foodie/wine offerings (BTW some wineries had shaded lounge areas with views of the stages and the wines were delicious!):
MINER FAMILY WINERY
DEL DOTTO WINERY
CAKEBREAD CELLARS SCHRAMSBERG VINEYARDS
ROMBAUER VINEYARDS CLOS DU VAL CLIFF LEDE VINEYARDS
HILL FAMILY ESTATE
MI SUEÑO WINERY
GIA BY COPPOLA
BELLO FAMILY VINEYARDS
RED STITCH WINE
THE THOMAS FAGIANI'S BAR
SMOKE OPEN FIRE COOKING
JAX WHITE MULE DINER
THE Q RESTAURANT BAR
FUME BISTRO BUI BISTRO CA' MOMI OAKVILLE GROCERY GERARD'S PAELLA RISTORANTE ALLEGRIA WHOLE FOODS KARA'S CUPCAKES ME SO HUNGRY CURRY UP NOW TIPS TRI-TIP SUNRISE DELI DREWSKI'S HOT ROD KITCHEN MARKS THE SPOT BACON BACON ULTRA CREPES KRAVE JERKY CLEARLY KOMBUCHA BEN & JERRY'S URBAN REMEDY STARBUCKS MARIPOSA ICE CREAM VINTAGE SWEET SHOPPE SWEETIE PIES THREE TWINS ICE CREAM NAPA VALLEY CRUST SPRENGER'S TAP ROOM
It is both a surreal and gratifying experience for me to observe the blossoming of former sleepy little Napa town into the entertainment hot-spot it is today. I’d like to think after years of playing shows entertaining the masses here, I had some small part in that. And now, today, with its wide assortment of top-notch music & comedy, there is finally an Entertainment Industry that is finally “pairing” well with the wine industry that has famously attracted tourists for over thirty years. I can’t wait to see what BottleRock Napa Valley 2015 will be like and/or what’s next in store for my hometown.
My husband, guitarist and long-time Napa resident or “Napkin” as some call it, Aaron Snider, remembers vividly being a bored teen and saying to a friend “wouldn’t it be really cool if there was a big music festival in Napa with all of our favorite musicians? And wouldn’t it be super cool if we played it too.” Yes, yes it was.
- Amber Snider
Singer/Songwriter/Graphic Artist/Web Designer/Blogger/Marketing Consultant
(Picture Above) My band: David Youdell, Me & Amber Snider