As a happening thing since 1971, the Bumbershoot Festival at Seattle Center over Labor Day Weekend needs no introduction to locals, at least.
Still, this year’s Bumber, held September 3-5, comes with a few fresh twists, according to Programming Director Chris Porter.
“This year we brought back the three-day pass,” relates Porter, “which to me is the greatest value. We have fee free tickets available at Seattle Center (at The Next Fifty Gift Shop, near the Monorail). All advance pricing will be available through Friday, September 2nd (which include single day tickets that are $10 off the gate price). Festival admission includes admission to the Main stage (as long as we’re not at capacity).”
Longtime “Bumbergoers” should heed some important venue changes.
For the first time in many years, says Porter, the Main Stage will be in Key Arena instead of Memorial Stadium. They will not have a stage on Broad St. Lawn. But there will be an added stage in its place on the Fountain Lawn, which organizers hope will bring a lot of added energy to the center of the grounds. They will be utilizing the Experience Music Project complex for two venues instead of just one (Sky Church and Level 3).
“Visual arts,” Porter adds, “has been moved to the Seattle Center Pavilion area (by the skate park). And lastly our comedy programming will all be happening in venues on the north side of the grounds (Bagley Wright Theatre, Intiman Theatre, and The Vera Project). “
Asked for his favorite picks among the festival’s many acts, Porter responds, “I am looking forward to the Darryl Hall & John Oates show with Fitz & the Tantrums opening. I love when we’re able to put older and newer acts together that are complimentary to each other and I think this is a great example. I’m also thrilled to have soul singer Charles Bradley join us (Monday Sep. 5).
“I’d also highlight,” Porter continues, “wonderful folk/indie-rock band Vetiver (Sat. Sep. 3), haunting singer Sharon Van Etten (Mon. Sep. 5), rock duo The Kills (Sun. Sep. 4), English rockers the Jim Jones Revue (Sun. Sep. 4) and world renowned dance company Trey McIntyre Project (all days). Locally speaking there are some fantastic artists, including The Lonely Forest (opening for Broken Social Scene on Sun. Sep. 4), soul-pop singer Allen Stone (Sun. Sep. 4), and Motopony (Mon. Sep. 5).
Porter said he is also excited about their partnership with Decibel Festival to bring some of the best local and national electronic music acts that will be playing at EMP’s Sky Church and at the special late night ‘Bumbershoot After Dark’ programming at the Exhibition Hall.
Porter emphasizes: that while there will always be particular acts that motivate people to buy tickets, he always encourages patrons to explore the festival and make new discoveries. That’s something that has always been a significant element of the Bumbershoot experience that he can’t stress enough.
“For the first time in a long time, what the near future will look like is largely unknown to all of us,” muses Porter when asked about the Festival’s upcoming challenges. “One of the greatest challenges for the festival is charting the right course through these challenging times so that Bumbershoot can thrive for decades to come.”