Bumbershoot: Is it still important to Seattle?

Bumbershoot 2011 / Photo: Bumbershoot

It sure seems to be important to the thousands of fans converging around Seattle Center, willing to drop several dollars per day on tickets, merch, parking, and so on, for the “all you can eat” musical banquet.

Like years past, the 2012 “Bumbercrop” promises to produce quite an eclectic mix of  hip hop, rock, soul, funk, indie and  That Which Cannot Be Labeled. (As Billy Joel once said, “It’s still rock and roll to me.”) No doubt, Bumbershoot has something for everyone. (See Full Schedule). 

Bumbershoot started in 1971, and was a city-funded event. By 1973, it was officially dubbed “Bumbershoot.”  It was a community event designed to celebrate the music and arts of the city of Seattle.

Is Bumbershoot still truly relevant as a regional cultural event? Or… is the festival just a big musical smorgasbord, trying to appeal to as wide as a demographic range as possible, while drawing a massive amount of corporate sponsorships and vendors? The not-for profit-organization One Reel has run the show for several years. They conclude each festival by sitting down to a post-mortem to determine what worked, what didn’t, and then make adjustments. In the past few years, the festival seems to have reinvented itself.

Bumbershoot delivers big things on a smaller scale

Like Seafair, Bumbershoot  is one of the bigger community events around Western Washington. We also have The Bite of SeattleTaste of TacomaTaste of Edmonds, and other large scale music events. These festivals offer a lot of the same spirit and energy as Bumbershoot, but at a much lower price…free.

That said, most of the bands that perform at the free festivals are generally professional cover bands, many who may be working for almost free just to get the exposure. Moreover, the bands that play the free festivals are there to provide entertainment while people take a tasting tour of different cuisines. These events provide great opportunities for the various communities to come together under the summer sun (hopefully) in an outdoor and family friendly festival environment – but the music isn’t necessarily the main event.

For music buffs, Bumbershoot is a pretty big deal. As the last big outdoor festival of the summer, it provides the opportunity for a huge number of passionate music fans to celebrate together right in their back yard.

Is Bumbershoot important to Seattle?  Depends who you ask. At Seattle Music Insider…the answer is a resounding yes! We hope you will join us in celebrating three days of peace, love, & music!

Check out the SMI Facebook page and Twitter page throughout the weekend for updates.

Bumbershoot 2012: Seven artists you need to see and hear



Bumbershoot 2010 Wrap up: SMI Radio Bumbershoot Post Event Special

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Greg Roth
Not only is he a multi-media journalist, he is also an accomplished musician. He is the founder of SMI and drives the creative look, feel and branding for the publication. His years of writing, arranging, and performing live music in a variety of genres inform his ability to communicate the message and the mechanics of music. Roth’s work on SMI reflects his philosophy that music is the universal language, and builds community. He believes it has the power to unite people of every race, religion, gender, and persuasion.