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Bumbershoot makes triumphant comeback for action-packed 50th anniversary (DMNW Review)

Bumbershoot made its comeback for its 50th year and we’re ready to give you our breakdown of the return of Seattle’s original music festival! The Labor Day weekend was jam-packed with music from all different genres, including some big names in the electronic scene curated by the one and only Sean Majors.

The Stages

Bumbershoot put together five stages throughout Seattle Center: Fountain, Fisher, Mural, KEXP, and Vera. Although we were sad not to have Climate Pledge Arena or Memorial Stadium back in the mix, the stages they set up within the limited spaces were quite impressive.

Fountain Stage and Fisher Stage alternated performances and featured a comfortable amount of space. We were pleased to see both stages mix a little bit of electronic music into their lineups with Anabel Englund and A-Trak on the Fisher Stage, and Major League DJZ on Fountain.

Fountain and Fisher were the two larger stages, and the other three were quite a bit smaller. Mural Stage was the next step down in size and was housed near the Pacific Science Center. This stage hosted most of the festival’s bigger EDM names. On Saturday night we were soothed by the sounds of Zhu under the view of the Space Needle.

Zhu Mural Stage

Photo Credit: DMNW

On Sunday night, Phantogram and FatBoy Slim performed on the Mural Stage and these were our highlight sets of the weekend. Both sets were bucket list-level for us, and they were worth the hype.

The KEXP Stage and Vera Stage were small but mighty and set up next to the Climate Pledge Arena. They each hosted a unique lineup of smaller and local artists. As such a staple festival in Seattle, we appreciate their priority to giving opportunities to local acts and artists.

EDM favorites

Sunday night wrapped up the weekend on a high note with Phantogram leading into FatBoy Slim.

Phantogram is a duo we were looking forward to and they did not disappoint. They hit us with all the classics and treated us to some new tracks. The combo of their unique electronic style and talented female vocals shines on stage.

 

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FatBoy Slim was a crowd-pleaser and got the slow-swaying Bumbershoot crowd finally jumping. We highly anticipated this set, and he brought a ton of enthusiasm to the stage. And finally some lasers! We were so happy to feed our raver needs with a little bit of high-energy electronic music with some trippy visuals to go with it.

It was great to see Bumbershoot cater to the EDM genre with a killer electronic music closer on one of the stages. We’re pleased that both Phantogram and FatBoy Slim made it onto the lineup for the 50th anniversary.

FatBoy Slim Mural Stage

Photo Credit: DMNW

Highlights from other musical genres

We’re always happy to see Bumbershoot include some electronic artists, but we know this kind of fest is a little different than our usual EDM-centric events. We checked out plenty of other artists within different genres and some of our favorites were Sleater-Kinney, Sunny Day Real Estate, Band of Horses, and Uncle Waffles.

Sleater-Kinney is a female alternative rock band formed in Olympia, Washington. We loved their softer rock sound and their funky female energy. We found this awesome video of them playing Bumbershoot back in 1997 too!

Seattle-born Sunny Day Real Estate took us back to the 90s with their moody grunge rock. They played their set on the Mural Stage with the view of the Space Needle in the background, which we thought was extremely fitting. The set was full of heavy bass lines and sick riffs.

Festival accommodations

There were plenty of bathrooms and we didn’t experience any waiting when we needed to use them. The fest makes use of a lot of the buildings within Seattle Center including the Armory and Fisher Pavilion so having access to real bathrooms is always a plus.

Access to the Armory also meant even more food options, even though there were already tons of vendors and food trucks set up throughout the festival grounds. We saw gluten-free and vegetarian/vegan options too and that’s something we feel is pretty essential to bigger festivals. Drinks, however, were quite expensive for pretty small sizes, even more so than we’d regularly expect. Lines for bars/beer gardens were often long due to full capacity.

In addition to the existing water fountains in the Seattle Center, you could easily also find free water stations. Parking wasn’t as bad as some other Seattle events of this size. This is a great family-oriented festival and the kiddos looked like they were having the time of their lives. Patrons seemed overall laid back and chill, likely just excited to see some live music as the rest of us.

For the first year back since the pandemic, Bumbershoot was a success, even if some individual items can likely be improved in future years. Next year, we’d love to see Memorial Stadium host a stage next year rather than an art installation. Hopefully, as the fest continues to recover from the pandemic we’ll see additional features.

Welcome back Bumbershoot, it was great to see you again!

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