Farm-fresh food, estate-grown wine and big-name music meet at the star-studded Festival Napa Valley in California, with events taking place throughout downtown and the vine-laced region.
From intimate star-studded concerts at prestigious wineries to free daytime performances, the Festival Napa Valley brings the arts to all (July 16-25, 2021).
Over 10 long summer days, world-class performances take place at iconic Napa Valley vineyards and venues, including Castello di Amorosa, a Calistoga winery designed to resemble a 13th-century Tuscan castle, and Charles Krug, the oldest winery in Napa and a National Historic Landmark. Meanwhile, the Jackson Family Wines Amphitheater at the Culinary Institute of America at Copia in downtown Napa’s Oxbow District hosts many of the free chamber music and symphony concerts. But that’s just a small sample of the many wineries, resorts, theaters and restaurants that participate each year – and that’s before we get to the artists.
Past performers have included Grammy-, Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning singer and actress Jennifer Hudson, Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth and conductor Carlo Ponti, the musically gifted son of Sophia Loren. Concerts for kids, featuring everything from Cuban music to opera, also set this event apart. So, gather the whole gang and get set to make a weekend of it, with our curated collection of Napa Valley hotels and experiences – bookable on Culture Trip.
People come from all over the world to attend Festival Napa Valley – and for good reason. The area truly is the stage here, with performances held at different venues across the valley, from a castle rooftop to a wine cave. “We’re known for food, wine and hospitality here in Napa, and when you put that together with world-class performances, it’s extraordinary,” says Latife Hayson, a patron of the Festival Napa Valley and a local business owner who sells luxury Wine Country estates and vineyards. “We say the festival’s like going to Europe for 10 days and seeing an incredible performance every day and every night.”
The variety of events draws a diverse crowd, too. Some invite-only galas attract the most well-heeled winery owners in Napa and international celebrities, while other concerts and dinners entice families, winemakers and visitors from the Bay Area.
“These are without doubt the 10 best days of summer: 10 days and nights at some of the most beautiful resorts, estates and wineries,” says Latife.
Festival events have long taken place all over the valley, but downtown Napa is a relatively new fixture, with performances taking place at Copia for the first time in 2021. It’s a great new addition since Napa’s thriving urban core is ripe for exploring on a weekend away. Go beyond the renowned Oxbow Public Market (although out-of-towners should always stop in here for tacos and Hog Island Oysters Co). The Napa Art Walk is a biennial, rotating exhibition of public art on display around downtown, and you can take a self-guided tour. The Rail Arts District Napa (RAD Napa), founded in 2016, is a free outdoor contemporary art museum that stretches for 2mi (3km) along the Napa Valley Vine Trail via railroad tracks. Colorful murals by local and regional artists adorn warehouse walls and a dozen utility boxes. It’s a fun destination to explore by bike or foot.
Above all, Napa is known for robust red wine, but increasingly, tasting rooms in downtown Napa offer other libations. The California Brandy House is a rare tasting room dedicated to California’s excellent luxury brandies. Next, sparkling wine lounge Be Bubbly pours everything from local blanc de blancs to premier cru champagne, and Stone Brewing’s 10,000sqft (929sqm) brewery is where beer lovers (and those looking for a wine break) can raise a glass to the festival via flavorful IPAs.