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Ed Sheeran shrugs off technical issues to put an emphatic end to another triumphant year at BottleRock

The JaM Cellars Stgate was the placed to be on Sunday's final day of 2024 BottleRock

By: Valerie Milano

Photos: Ana Maria Gill

Napa Valley, CA (The Hollywood Times) 5/27/2024 – The final day of the 2024 BottleRock music, food, wine and spirits festival belonged to Ed Sheeran.

Ed Sheeran was a surprise special guest with The Offspring on Sunday at BottleRock (Photo: THT)

The English singer/songwriter, whose boyish good looks belie his 33 years, shook off a raft of technical problems to bring the festival to a triumphant close Sunday evening.  Sheeran started his day with a surprise on-stage appearance with The Offspring with a lively rendition of “Million Miles Away” at the festival’s Verizon Stage.  He later took to the Jam Cellars stage and charmed the crowd with a solid set and some deft chatter to the thousands of fans who had gathered to hear him.

“I would like you to go into the week without your voices, I will sing in tune, you will scream loudly,” he said during his own set.  And true to form, that’s exactly what he did. Sheeran wowed the audience with chart-toppers like “Photograph,” “Shape of You” and “Perfect.”  The crowd obliged his command, singing along passionately.  Sheeran maneuvered through the first three-quarters of an hour with a broken keyboard that scuttled his planned setlist, using his charm and improvisational skills to work gleefully through the set.

Ed Sheeran battled through technical problems to charm the 2024 Bottle Rock festival crowd Sunday (Photo: THT)

By way of explanation, Sheeran took the time to explain his set up to the crowd. He performs without a backing band, instead relying only on his guitar and a mechanism called a “loop station” that allows him to produce and layer his vocals, guitar chords, and keyboard live, creating a full-band sound.  Despite his obvious frustration that led him to bark, “we need it, man!” at an offstage roadie, Sheeran remained in good spirits, and so did the audience.

(Photo: THT)

His set included a spirited mashup of “Take It Back,” Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” and Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine.” Sheeran also treated fans to a heartfelt rendition of “Love Yourself,” originally penned for Justin Bieber. He ended the night with a powerful performance of “Bad Habits,” which left the audience charged up and wanting more.  Despite the day’s warm temperatures and those technical problems, Sheeran said he’s a confirmed BottleRock fan.  “This is one of the best festivals ever,” he said.

Singer/songwriter Norah Jones brought a much-needed intimacy to her afternoon set (Photo: THT)

Earlier in the day on the JaM Cellars Main Stage, veteran singer/songwriter Norah Jones sparkled during her set, bringing a charm and intimacy that’s difficult to achieve in a festival setting. It came at just the right time of day, too, when the sun was delivering a warmth of its own.

Other highlights of the day included:

  • Dreampop trio Cannons brought a refreshing ethereal and atmospheric sound to the Verizon Stage, on an afternoon which had featured heavier rock. Frontwoman Michelle Joy was reserved but had a quiet confidence that made the set even more inviting.
  • The Soul Rebels, New Orleans legends, who have been around in one version or another for more than 30 years, played some covers, including a solid rendition of Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved.”
  • Speaking of Bob Marley, he was a large part of son Stephen Marley’s festival closing set on the Prudential stage as a large portrait of his dad hung at the back of the stage alongside a golden lion statue, representing the Lion of Judah, and a portrait of Ethiopian Emperor and Rastafari messiah Haile Selassie.

    Stephen Marley performs Sunday at Bottle Rock (Photo: THT)
  • Toronto quartet The Beaches brought some much-needed electricity during their hour-long set with a little punk, a little rock and some well-times roots music. Add in the interplay between its members, and they brought a winning formula to the stage at the JamPad. “Wine hangovers are the worst,” guitarist Kylie Miller said. I’m ready to crush some wine grapes later in the day,” bassist Jordan Miller shot back. The crowd was delighted by both their humor and their music.

In all, it was a finale to remember for fans who turned out on Sunday, the last day of music, wine, food and brews, bringing the festival to another successful conclusion.