This past weekend I worked with a group that spent its extended weekend in the Napa Valley attending BottleRock, the annual music festival held over the Memorial Day weekend. Each year it attracts a multicultural mix of big name bands, a something for everyone stew that ranges from Heavy Metal to Heavy Rap to Pure Pop to Alternative Rock to even Country and Western. This year’s headliners were Pink, The Black Crowes, 21 Pilots, Luke Combs, Mount Westmore (a rap supergroup featuring Snoop Dog, Ice Cube, E-40, and Too $hort) and for the first time local boys Metallica.

Let me get this out of the way first. BottleRock is not short for Bottle Rocket. It is a play on the term Bottle Shock, a condition white white occasionally has occur when it turns temporarily brown after being put into it’s bottle. The wine reverts in a week or so after the shock wears off. In other words, for a short time something becomes different, but quickly reverts to it’s old form.

Tickets to this extravaganza went for anywhere around $150 per day to stand in the infield to $4995 for three days which included covered suite style seating, special parking, gourmet food, and enough bowing and scrapping to satisfy any tinpot dictator. Click here to see a video of the suite.

I’m told my knees will heal in a couple of days.

Yes, my group was in the latter category, advertisers from one of the companies  sponsoring the festival. I suppose if you pay the freight they’ll comp you a few tickets. Then the company will claim the tickets as an expense on their taxes.

And you wonder how these big corporations avoid paying silly taxes that needlessly cut into their shareholders’ profits.

But this weekend was all about fun, music, and allowing 45 year old Gen-Xers to pretend they are still carefree kids living in the dorms, eating pizza and drinking fruit flavored canned cocktails. Whoever invented those needs to be put out of our misery.

I watched the chain link fenced off groups wend their way around each other, the Platinum crowd lordly out of reach of the commoner (or even Common). Overpriced beer for the multitudes, frozen daiquiris gratis for the lords of the manor. A persistent hum of jealousy.

“Next year, next year the Platinum” say the ones trudging several miles back to where their car is parked. I could hear it out the window as we luxury bussed my group back to their luxury hotel far from the maddening crowd. Thirty minutes flies by when you have beer and wine flowing and the genial host is happy to risk life and limb to pour you more as we weave in and out of traffic. Like Mel says:

It's good to be the king

All of this occurred during Memorial Day Weekend. While I’m not saying Memorial Day should be spent in sackcloth and ashes I do think it’s just a bit painful to see such a dichotomy on display on a weekend set aside to honor those who died in wars to make the dichotomy possible. Maybe as penance my group and their company could pay some of the taxes they should be paying and have the money go to the widows and orphans those soldiers left behind.

I doubt that would happen. Over the weekend there might have been lots of lip service among the multitudes to change, especially among those who believe my right to life isn’t as important as your right to own an automatic weapon of war, but soon enough just like the wine we will find out that things haven’t really changed at all.

We’ll end with the talk of the Sunday night performances. Pink flying and singing  her hit So What.

So, so what? I’m still a rock star

Shapiro Out




One thought on “BottleRocked

  1. Maybe some mention should be made about remembering the people killed by covid. The dead count is well over one million (and the daily death count is rising again). This over one million number is equal to between 10 and 20 MSAs (metropolitan statistical area — the name given to areas that are cities or large enough they might as well be a city [1]).

    So the populations of 10 to 20 US entire cities have been wiped out in a very short time by this disease, which is not done yet. I am not trying to be US centric, but when thing hit close to home, …

    [1] As I recall, various government agencies use the definition of MSA as:

    a.) One or more county(ies) / parish(es) with an incorporated/chartered city having a population of 50,000 or more.

    b.) same region type but without any incorporated/chartered cities but having a population of 100,000 or more —- essentially big suburbs.

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