Local boy makes good music

By Mark St. J. Couhig
Forks Forum Editor

Gabe Meyers, Forks High class of 1988, has hit the big time.

Meyers is the co-founder of BottleRock Napa Valley, a music-comedy-wine-food festival that opens its doors for the very first time Wednesday, May 8. It runs through Sunday, May 12.

As the name indicates, it will take place in the Napa Valley in California, where Meyers now makes his home.

It’s huge. So huge, in fact, that even Meyers seems a little surprised by its auspicious beginning.

“We weren’t planning to do a five-day event,” he said, “but the response from the bands was amazing.”

He said part of that resulted from good timing: Many of the bands already were booked for April and May festivals in the West.

He said compared to some of the major events of the season, including Coachella and Stagecoach, BottleRock will be “quite modest.” But it’s all relative. While those established names may draw 100,000 a day, Meyers believes BottleRock’s “astounding lineup” will draw a capacity crowd on Saturday.

That’s 35,000 people. Through the five-day run, he’d like to hit 150,000 — and he believes he has a shot.

“We’re announcing our presence with authority,” he said.

Then he laughed, saying most festivals don’t make a profit the first year. “We’d like to break that tradition,” he said.

He’s stoked about the location. When Meyers was still in high school he spent the school year in Forks, his summers in Napa. He said he’s watched the valley grow into one of the world’s great food and wine destinations — and both will be on impressive display during BottleRock.

But rock ‘n’ roll remains the top draw.

The lineup

Meyers said because of his roots in the Northwest, there will be a Northwest flavor to the music.

That includes Erin O’Hara from Bainbridge, Seattle’s Allen Stone and Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament.

But that’s just the beginning. The list of artists is incredible, including Kings of Leon, The Black Keys, Zac Brown Band, Furthur featuring Phil Lesh and Bob Weir, Jane’s Addiction, The Shins, The Avett Brothers, Train, The Flaming Lips, The Black Crowes, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis,Cake, Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite, Primus, Alabama Shakes, Jackson Browne, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

And then there are the comics, including Jim Gaffigan, Demetri Martin and more.

Hungry for more?

Three dozen chefs and restaurateurs will join more than 50 wineries and artisan brewers to provide an astounding variety of good food and drink. Food purveyors including Mustards Grill, Oenotri, ZuZu, Grace’s Table, The Girl & the Fig, Azzurro Pizzeria and Enoteca, Tra Vigne, Fish Story, Farmstead, The Model Bakery, C Casa, Barbers Q and Gott’s Roadside.

The dining options will be paired with some of the finest wines in the world, such as Grgich Hills, Beaulieu Vineyard, Hahn Family Wines, Ceja Vineyards, Flora Springs, Freemark Abbey, Sterling Vineyards, Acacia and Regusci Winery. For those who like their brew, how does a taste of Sierra Nevada, Gordon Biersch, Hangar 24, Speakeasy, Goose Island and Napa Smith sound?

Meyers said he’s also pleased the festival will lend a hand to those in need. It’s a big part of the effort, with two dozen “worthy causes, groups and charities,” including lung cancer research, music in schools and “Autism Chords,” a nonprofit that aids those with autism and their families.

“We want to do well, but we want to do good, too,” Meyers said.

Life in Forks

Meyers moved with his mother, Melissa Seymour, to Forks “around 1980,” he said. He hit the ground running.

“He had a lot of leadership potential,” Seymour said.

And a lot of energy. While at Forks High he played sports and studied, and he and his gang of friends created video projects, sometimes just for fun and sometimes for school credit.

After high school he spent some time studying in Bellingham, then moved full-time to California.

“He was always interested in movies and the movie business,” Seymour said. At one time Meyers considered going to film school, but life took him in a different direction, one that his mother says suits him. “He’s done well,” said the proud mom. She and her husband, Joe, are heading down to the festival and are encouraging everyone to join them.

They’re also looking forward to another of Meyers’ annual visits come July 4.

In the meantime: Festival passes are on sale now and begin at $139 for a single day pass, $329 for a 3-day pass, $399 for a 4-day pass and $599 for 4-day VIP passes. Passes are on sale at

More information can be found at, on Facebook at Rock Napa Valley, or follow on Twitter at, #bottlerocknapavalley.

Reach Mark Couhig at




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