Bumbershoot is one of Seattle’s biggest and best festivals. In late summer each year, Bumbershoot takes to Seattle Center, bringing ample music, arts, and performances from film showings to comedy to dance shows. With a little bit of everything, Bumbershoot is a hit with festival fans. The event website states that this is the largest urban arts festival in the U.S.!
Bumbershoot is no new festival either. It first debuted in 1971 and has gone on every year since. Each year, there is a lineup of performers, including names both large and small. As time has gone on, the number of performances has grown from less than a dozen to closer to 100 in present times.
The very first Bumbershoot was called Festival ’71 and had some events you won’t see today, including a "Hot Pants Contest" and a logging show. Notable acts of past years include Jimmy Buffett (1975); Tina Turner (1982); Spinal Tap, Eurythmics, and Fleetwood Mac (1984); 10,000 Maniacs (1995); Sir Mix-A-Lot (1996); and Kanye West (2006). Hundreds and hundreds of well-known musicians have gone live on the stages of Bumbershoot.
Location: Seattle Center
Bumbershoot 2012 Dates: September 1-3
Tickets gain you entry either for one day or for all three days of the festival. For 2012, single-day entry costs $40 in advance and a three-day pass costs $110 in advance. If you purchase tickets the day of the event, they are $45 and $165, respectively.
Bumbershoot 2012 Lineup
Saturday, September 1:
7 Minutes in Heaven | Alela Diane | Awolnation | Bedsnake | Black Breath | Christopher Martin Hoff | Remembered | City and Colour | Cosmetics | Damien Jurado | Don’t Talk to the Cops! | Eight and a Half | Election Show | Elvistravaganza | Eyehategod | Galumpha | Go the F to Sleep | Gotye | Heartless Bastards | Hedgebrook | Jane’s Addiction | Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit | JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound | John Waters | King Kahn & The Shrines | M. Ward | Miss Fanny’s Fun Box | Missy Higgins | Modernist Cuisine | Now | Nude | Oberhofer | Polecat | Prong | Ramayana Youth Ensemble | Sam Record Store | Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra | Sera Cahoone | Skerik’s Bandalabra | Skyward! | Tacocat | The Barr Brothers | The Heavy | The Helio Sequence | The Jayhawks | The Soul Rebels | The Spittin’ Cobras | Theesatisfaction | This is Glass | Unnatural Helpers | Why This? Why That? Why Now?
Sunday, September 2
7 Minutes in Heaven | Am & Shawn Lee | Barcelona | Bedsnake | Big Sean | Blitzen Trapper | Charles Phoenix | Christopher Martin Hoff Remembered | Civil Twilight | Deep Sea Diver | Eighteen Individual Eyes | Eldridge Gravy & The Court Supreme | Election Show | Elvistravaganza | Fruit Bats | Gold Leaves | Harmonica House Party | Ian Hunter and the Rant Band | Karen Lovely | Katie Herzig | Katie Kate | Keane | Knowmads | Lee Fields & The Expressions | Letters to Kurt | LG! Caberet | Mac Miller | Mad Magazine’s Joe Raiola | Mudhoney | Niki & The Dove | Now | Sam Record Store | Sandbox Audio Live! | Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings | Sketchfest Seattle | Skyward! | Symphony Untuxed | The Cherdonna & Lou Show | The Greenhornes | The Jezabels | The Promise Ring | The Young Evils | Thenewno2 | Theoretics | This is Glass | Tony Bennett | Ty Curtis Band | Wanda Jackson & The Dusty 45’s | Why This? Why That? Why Now? | Writers of Futurama | Yelawolf
Monday, September 3:
7 Minutes in Heaven | Ana Tijoux | Best Coast | Bombino | Bryan John Appleby | Bushwick Book Club | Cascadia ’10 | Christopher Martin Hoff Remembered | Debo Band | El Vez | Elvistravaganza | Fishbone | Foxy Shazam | Fujiya & Miyagi | Ghosts I’ve Met | Hey Marseilles | Ken Jennings | Kina Grannis | Lights | Low | LP | M83 | Miss Fanny’s Fun Box | Nerdprov | Noah Gundersen | Now | Omar Souleyman | Passion Pit | Posse | Ramayana Youth Ensemble | Rebirth Brass Band | Reignwolf | Remix, Plagiarism or Theft? | Sam Record Store | Seapony | Skrillex | Skyward! | Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs | Super Geek League | The Atomic Bombshells Burleque | The Paints of Being Pure at Heart | The Pharmacy | The Vaselines | The Wombats | This is Glass | Ty Segall | Tyrone Wells | Velocity | Why This? Why That? Why Now?
Why You Should Go and Tips
- Tickets are cheaper if you buy online in advance.
- Bring cash. There are ATMs, but lines can be long and ATMs often have fees.
- There are plenty of food and drink vendors so you can stay for a while.
- Beer gardens are also available.
- Along with performances, many performers sign autographs at tables near the stages after performances.
- Several stages keep the music going all day long.
- Take public transportation in to avoid paying a lot for parking.
- Some stages don’t have a lot of seating. If there’s a group you really want to see, try to plan ahead and beat out the crowds to make sure you get a seat.
Parking and Directions
Getting to Bumbershoot isn’t difficult given that it’s at Seattle Center. Many King County Metro bus routes stop along the perimeter of the 72-acre campus. There are bike racks located at 5th and Thomas, if you want to bike in.
You can also drive, but be aware that even though there are many parking lots all around Seattle Center, there are also a lot of other drivers heading to the festival. Parking rates usually go up and it can take some time to find a spot, especially later in the day. There are three parking garages on the Center’s perimeter (Mercer Garage, 1st Avenue North Garage, and 5th Avenue North Garage), as well as several pay lots on just about every block. Make sure to read signage carefully and bring cash if you intend to use these lots as many are unattended and cash only.