Tips on Buying Tickets to This Amazing Experience
By Eric Rivkin – May 22, 2019
(Originally published by Eric Rivkin on Medium)
BottleRock is this weekend! Below are a couple of tips on buying tickets, as well as undercard lineup recommendations to help you plan your schedule.
Do buy VIP: I’ve been to a number of festivals around the country, and very rarely splurge on VIP. If there is one festival where they really ramp up the perks for VIP ticket holders it is absolutely BottleRock. There are LARGE VIP areas with exclusive vendors, couches, fancy bathroom style porta-potties, roomy viewing spaces at each stage, and walkways between the main stages to avoid the general crowd. All that plus a VIP stage to see more intimate sets from some of the larger names on the bill, at times that are often earlier in the day and therefore less likely to pose major schedule conflicts.
Don’t buy from scalpers: I was part of the Official Ticket Exchange staff last year and I recall at least a dozen people came up to us because they bought fake or non-functioning wristbands from a scalper. On the same note, don’t buy Staff wristbands from scalpers. Last year there were dozens who tried to get in this way — buying wristbands from staffers who were no longer on duty. The core staff team was on the lookout for this and confiscated most of them. Moral — if tickets sell out for the tier/day you’re looking for, use the ticket exchange or buy from someone you trust.
The main stages can get packed: If you plan on seeing one of the top bills, be prepared to arrive at one of the main stages early. For those who bought a GA wristband, the area between the Culinary Garden and the Jam Cellars Stage can become a serious bottleneck. The top of this year’s lineup is more balanced than last year — when most of the crowd wanted to be at the main stage for Bruno Mars. However, it’s still best to get there a set early if you want to get a decent viewing spot for someone like Neil Young. Also worth noting — if you choose to avoid the closing headliners for a smaller stage performance you’ll likely still hear a bit of Imagine Dragon’s set considering how close all of the stages are to each other.
Undercard Lineup Recommendations:
Shannon Shaw • 12:15 • Jam Cellars Stage • Americana, Indie Rock, Garage Punk, Pop
Shannon of Shannon & The Clams, who also perform on Saturday, has been a big name in the Bay Area for a number of years — long a favorite for attendees of Booger Boogaloo in Oakland. Last year she put out her first solo album “Shannon in Nashville”, produced by Dan Auerbach. If you can’t make the fest by noon she also plays this Wednesday at The Chapel.
Liz Cooper & The Stampede • 2:15 • Lagunitas Stage • Americana, Rock
A genre-bending 3-piece rock group from Nashville that is ready to break out. Their sets include silly stage banter, some southern rock twang, surf rock solos and a whole lot of groove. Held down by tight drums and bass, Liz has free reign to shred in between vocal breaks. Also, for those who enjoy seeing musicians having fun, be sure to keep an eye on the drummer, this guy LOVES his job!
The Regrettes • 1:30 • Firefox Stage • Punk, Indie Rock, Pop
A teenage, mostly female, punk band with a ton of confidence and stage presence. Based on their studio stuff I wasn’t prepared for the level of energy and amount of moshing they encouraged at their last SF show. That show saw front-woman Lydia Night absolutely crush a cathartic cover of Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name.” Expect to move your feet and maybe thrash a little, in awe of the next generation of indie-punk.
Moonalice • 2:15 • Bai Stage • Classic/Psychedelic Rock
Fronted by popular author and venture capitalist Roger McNamee, Moonalice is another band familiar to Bay Area music fans. Expect to hear psychedelic rock covers and originals a la the Summer of Love. I’ve seen them a handful of times and have not been disappointed. A big plus — they always have a local artist commissioned to design at least one beautiful poster that they give away free at the end of their sets. If you’re a classic rock/Dead fan and enjoy free posters, go see Moonalice.
Con Brio • 12:15 • Jam Cellars Stage • Rock, Soul, Funk
Yet another hometown favorite. Con Brio is a big, powerful band led by a front-man that has drawn comparisons to Michael Jackson and Prince, in Ziek McCarter. Expect a lively, funky, soulful set that will have the crowd dancing and clapping. Also, be on the lookout for Ziek’s impressive dance moves including an occasional mid-set backflip.
Turkuaz • 5:30 • Bai Stage • Funk, Soul, R&B
This 9-piece neon “Powerfunk” band from NY is the funkiest band on the lineup. A festival mainstay, especially among the jam circles, Turkuaz keeps the energy going for the entirety of their sets. For those who enjoy horn solos, dancing, and bands that give the drummer some, this set is a can’t miss.
Also, big thanks to RushTix for getting me into most of these bands’ shows for free over the past year. For those interested in a whole month of free concert/event tickets, here’s my referral link :)
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Eric is a freelance writer and environmental professional based in San Francisco. His passion for live entertainment was born in the East Coast jam band scene but has evolved to include jazz, funk, rock, indie, and electronic music, in addition to comedy, sports, and theater. Find more of his concert/festival-related content on Medium, as well as regular contributions on RushTix.
Top Photo Credit: Eric Rivkin