By Gemma Alexander
Photo by Jim Toohey
When I had kids, I thought my festival days were over, and for many years they were. Then, a couple years ago, I decided to give it a shot.
Armed with single-day passes, water bottles, snacks, sunscreen, raincoats and swimsuits, my husband and I brought our two daughters to Bumbershoot. That first year we made it through four shows and headed home in time for dinner. But we survived and we tried it again the next year. Each year, we saw a little more and stayed a little later.
Last year, when the girls were 9 and 4, we went all three days. We visited the art exhibits in Fisher Pavilion each morning, we saw a play, and we watched half a dozen shows each day, ranging from world music to jazz and even hip-hop. We always left by sunset, but we always managed to end the day with a “headliner” type of show.
On Sunday our headliner was The Grizzled Mighty. We were eating snacks nearby when the previous band finished playing, so we moved right up to the front. I figured we could move to the back when it started to get rowdy.
But once Ryan and Whitney took the stage there was no way my girls were going anywhere. My oldest had just finished a week at Rain City Rock Camp for Girls, and was thrilled to see a woman banging on the drums like everyone’s favorite muppet. She went home with a broken drumstick that is still one of her most prized possessions. My youngest climbed up on my shoulders because she couldn’t see over the barrier, and I discovered that you can actually headbang while holding a child.
To my surprise, no one minded the children taking space at the front of a rock show. Several people gave the girls high fives, and when the music was over, someone gave my 4-year-old the inflatable ball that had been tossed around during the show.
My kids had already been to several festivals, and they’d already seen dozens of shows that weekend. But on that night we all buzzed with post-show energy, excitedly repeating to each other details of the experience we had just shared. That Grizzled Mighty set was when my kids learned what the live music experience is all about.
Our Andy Bookwalter fell in love with The Grizzled Mighty back in 2012
Gemma Alexander writes a Bumbershoot “field report” for ParentMap magazine. She’s also written for Three Imaginary Girls and the KEXP blog. We’re excited to have her covering Bumbershoot for NadaMucho.com this year.
This year’s Bumbershoot lineup includes Wu-Tang Clan, Elvis Costello, Afghan Whigs, Schoolboy Q, Mavis Staples, Capital Cities, The Replacements and hundreds more. Tickets are still available.
More in this series:
- Against Me! (2004)
- The Locust & Flogging Molly (2005)
- Iggy & The Stooges (2005)
- Kanye West (2006)
- John Legend (2007)
- Man Man (2008)
- Monotonix (2008)
- Patton Oswalt (2009)
- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (2011)
- Tony Bennett (2012)
- Panel: Barsuk Celebrates 15 Years (2013)