Music festivals continue to grow, and between now and the end of the summer, there is essentially a major one every single weekend. The expanded menu requires a lot more diversity, both in the types of acts booked on the main stages and the other attractions offered on the grounds. Gone are the days when you could just set up a PA and invite some dudes with guitars—now there have to be multiple hooks to convince people to make the journey to your field.
Enter BottleRock Napa Valley, a new festival that launches its inaugural entry this Wednesday, May 8, and runs through Sunday May 12. The music lineup is impressive, and will include sets from the Black Keys, Zac Brown Band, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Kings of Leon, Flaming Lips, Jane’s Addiction, Train, the Shins, Alamabama Shakes, and dozens more.
Perhaps BottleRock’s biggest secret weapon, though, is its comedy lineup:A lot of festivals have comedy tents, but the parade of funny folks in Napa is a veritable Murderer’s Row: Tig Notaro, Rob Delaney, Kristen Schaal, Aasif Mandvi, Wyatt Cenac, Demitri Martin, and The Jeselnik Offensive host Anthony Jeselnik, who says that festivals offer him the opportunity to really test and stretch himself
“Festivals are a real mixed bag because some people aren’t coming to see you. Some people just want to sit down for a little while. Some people have no idea what they’re looking at,” he told EW. “It’s not my usual audience, which is exhilarating but also risky. I don’t do a lot of these things, but when I do I want to do the good ones.”
Jeselnik will be taking the stage Thursday afternoon at 2:45 (you can find the whole schedule here), which he considers an added twist to his set. “There’s something to being in the afternoon,” he said. “I think you really need to rally together to get through some of this dark stuff in the afternoon. I remember thinking once I was doing an early show, and I thought I couldn’t open with my normal things. And Jim Norton said, ‘Shut up. You’re putting on a movie. If somebody goes to see a rated-R movie at noon, they should be seeing the same movie everybody is seeing at nine o’clock.’ If anything, I may even amp it up even more and make it a little more brutal in the afternoon, just to challenge myself. It’ll be interesting. It’s certainly the most fun approach.”
So if you’re up for extra-dark afternoon comedy sets to go with your rock and your finely crafted microbrews, you can still get tickets here.
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