Bumbershoot 2014 was a weekend to remember


A girl sits on the shoulders of her friend at the Foster the People concert on Monday night. This was the last mainstage show at Bumbershoot.

Nothing proves Seattle’s reputation as a hub for great music, art, and comedy, than the city’s annual arts festival, Bumbershoot. The festival took place over Labor Day weekend, and featured over 35 artists ranging from Foster the People to Wu Tang-Clan.

The three day event costs $70 per day for last minute tickets–still a bargain compared to other Pacific Northwest festivals like Sasquatch, which charges upwards of $350 for a weekend. Bumbershoot, however, is a day long festival, opening at 11 a.m. and closing at 11 p.m.

My favorite acts of the first day were actually smaller shows, like Walk the Moon and alternative R&B artist SZA. SZA worked the crowd for 45 minutes at the Fountain Lawn stage, despite a lack of energy from the crowd. Her entrancing vocals were backed up by equally intense beats. I actually managed to bump into her a few minutes after her performance and she was gracious enough to take a photo. For the record, her amazing freckles and hair are all real.

Exploring the grounds on Saturday was fun for my first time Bumbershoot. The festival took place outdoors at Seattle Center, with five different stages, in addition to art exhibits and food stalls. Those of us from Portland might recognize the food and crafts stalls as similar to Saturday Markets’, only with music blasting from all angles, and a looming view of the Space Needle. The range of different people from all ethnicities, ages and styles also rivaled that of Portland.

The average festival attendee, however, looked much like me: a teenager hopping from show to show with their friends.

Saturday wrapped up with a performance by indie-rock band Walk the Moon, and, at the main-stage, revolutionary rap group Wu-Tang Clan. While most people in the crowd clearly hadn’t even been alive since Wu-Tang’s formation in 1992, the experience was still incredible. Probably never again will I have the chance to see such influential rap artists in the flesh.

On Sunday, Seattle’s infamous rain made a comeback for a few hours, and I took the chance to head indoors and see some comedy. Pete Holmes, of TBS’ Pete Holmes Show, provided an upbeat, hilarious set, poking fun at himself and America’s disgusting fascination with McDonalds.

My last show of the day, indie-folk band Head and the Heart, was one of the highlights of the weekend for me. I had only ever heard one song, so my expectations were pretty low. It turned out their lowkey, Lumineers-esque sound, was just what I needed at the time. Something about an acoustic song, with the entire audience singing the words and swaying with hands in the air, feels like the ultimate concert experience.

For the final day of Bumbershoot, we managed to squeeze in a poetry slam and a visit to the festival’s art exhibit. After watching Foster the People pump out an upbeat, exciting performance at 10 p.m., my exhausted friends and I piled in the car and started the 3 ½ hour journey home.

Bumbershoot 2014 was a great success. The only downsides were somewhat awkward rap performances by various artists at 2 p.m.–it’s hard to “turn up” in broad daylight– and the city’s restrictions on noise limits. However, the shows were what you made of them and most were amazing.

The overall atmosphere at the festival was very laid-back, which might be due to the recent legalization of marijuana, or maybe just Seattle’s carefree attitude. Either way, it was a very easy experience for someone who’d never been to a festival before. I give Bumbershoot a solid A.

SZA after her show on Saturday. The R&B artist stayed at the festival for most of the weekend and took pictures with fans.
SZA after her show on Saturday. The R&B artist stayed at the festival for most of the weekend and took pictures with fans.