Bumbershoot | Music and Arts Festival in Seattle
Nothing says Labor Day weekend in Seattle more than Bumbershoot. No, I didn’t just sneeze — Bumbershoot (another word for umbrella) is the name of Seattle’s largest music and arts festival, and it happens over the three-day holiday weekend every year (since 1971) at Seattle Center. It’s our can’t miss event of the year in Seattle.
With more than 100 acts playing on 6 different stages, the highlight of Bumbershoot for us is the music. Bumbershoot claims to have the “most diverse and carefully curated musical lineups in the world.” From Grammy Award winners, to old-time rockers, to up-and-coming hip-hop artists, there truly is something for everyone at Bumbershoot (click here for the 2015 lineup). There’s a constant flow of music blaring through Seattle Center all weekend. Tove and I were only there for one day last year, and we got a taste of more than 10 different bands. While the festival does reel in national and international acts, it prides itself on showcasing local performers.
While music is the most popular feature at Bumbershoot, comedy also draws thousands of fans to Seattle on Labor Day weekend. Nearly 30 different comedy acts perform on 3 different stages throughout the weekend. Just like the music, Bumbershoot brings in big-name national and local comedians to make us laugh. There’s stand-up, improv, and even live taping of podcasts. The comedy festival is definitely worth enjoying at Bumbershoot. It’s a popular conversation piece in the crowd.
On top of music and comedy, Bumbershoot also has a film festival, literary arts and lecture series, theatre stage, and visual art exhibits and spectacles. From fashion, to popular indie films, to local plays, and so much more, it’s all on display over the three-day weekend at Seattle Center. Bumbershoot truly is a music and ARTS festival, and it’s boasted as one of the largest in the nation.
Although there’s quite a bit of weed smoking in the crowd and some bad words on stage, Bumbershoot is a family friendly environment. Children 10 and under are allowed in for FREE with a paid adult, and there’s even a section of the festival called “Youngershoot” dedicated to kids. When Tove and I passed by the area, we saw stations set up for art projects, small foot-powered cars with a little village to drive through, and more.
You have to buy tickets to enter Bumbershoot, but everything is free (aside from the food and merchandise) once you’re in. For comedy acts, you need an extra a ticket (that you get at a booth once you enter the festival) to see one of the shows (tickets are limited to one per person per day), but they don’t cost you anything. You do NOT need an extra ticket to see a musical act on the main stage, but you do need to wait in line. A fair warning: lines start forming 90 minutes before shows on the main stage. That means you need to get in line early, otherwise you run the risk of not getting in. It might sound like a drag, but it’s honestly not that bad. Even though the line we waited in stretched across the festival grounds, Tove and I only waited 40 minutes to see the show we wanted to see on the main stage.
There are hundreds of different festivals that happen every year in Seattle (or at least that’s what it feels like), but Bumbershoot is easily our favorite. We could honestly spend every second of Labor Day weekend enjoying the festivities. There’s nothing better than wandering through Seattle Center and falling in love with a band, comedian, author or artist you’ve never even heard of before. That always happens to us at Bumbershoot. It’s the festival of all festivals in Seattle. Don’t miss out on the fun!
Have you ever been to Bumbershoot? What’s your favorite part of the annual music and arts festival? We’d love to hear from you! Please leave your comments below or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out Seattle Bloggers for more awesome events in the Emerald City.
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