As soon as I stepped into Uptown Theatre in downtown Napa on Friday night, April 13, I knew I wasn’t at an ordinary concert. The theatre was filled with experts in the music, food, and wine industries, making the perfect audience for the event.
The venue was small and intimate, complimenting the acoustic sounds of some of the most popular artists today. The event was Live in the Vineyard, the perfect pairing of three of my most favorite things: music, wine, and food.
The Uptown Theater in Napa Valley
For five years, Napa Valley has hosted one of the best kept secrets in the entertainment industry, Live in the Vineyard. Twice a year, the three day-event consists of a series of exclusive acoustic concerts, private winery tours and tastings, and food and lodging provided by Napa’s best. Southwest Airlines has been an official sponsor at Live in the Vineyard for the past three events, and this time around, Employees from across the system were invited to try their luck at winning tickets to the event.
Welcome to Napa!
Local Employees Distrubuting SWA Water to Attendees
This year’s event featured artists Jason Mraz, Matt Kearny, Graffiti6, Jon McLaughlin, Mayer Hawthorne, Green River Ordinance, and many more. As soon as I read the lineup, I knew I couldn’t turn down an opportunity to attend. When the Employee contest was announced, I immediately wrote a quirky essay on the reasons why I wanted to attend Live in the Vineyard 9 (quoting song titles from the artists who would be performing), and within a few weeks, I was contacted that I had won two tickets to this year’s music events.
Susan Justice started off the weekend on Friday night, followed by an energetic performance by Mayer Hawthorne that brought the audience to their feet. American-Idol winner Kris Allen performed next, featuring his new song “Vision of Love,” which he also played on one of Southwest’s Live at 35 inflight concerts. Mat Kearney premiered his new video for “Ships in the Night” before he took the stage. And last, Jason Mraz closed the night, with singles from his new album “Love is a Four Letter Word.”
American Idol Winner (And Live at 35 Artist) Kris Allen
Mayer Hawthorne Gives SWA a Shout-Out!
And this was only the beginning. What better place to host an event that pairs wine, food, and music than the beautiful Napa Valley? During my free time before each night’s concert, I spent Friday exploring San Francisco, and hiking through the redwood forest, Muir Woods, and Saturday was spent indulging in the best wines and foods of the valley, including visits to Sterling Vineyard and V Sattui Winery.
No matter how attendees spent the sunny afternoon, we all met back at the Uptown Theatre Saturday night for another night of incredible performances. Saturday night featured Meiko, Jon McLaughlin, Graffiti6, Green River Ordinance, and finally Daniel Powter.
I can’t imagine a better way to experience Napa, California, and I’m thankful to work for a Company that supports and sponsors such a fun event. And it’s not over yet! Southwest continues its Live in the Vineyard sponsorship through 2012; be on the lookout for more surprise concerts from other Live in the Vineyard artists in the fall!
Photos courtesy of SMF CSS Rodney Ramos