Aug. 31 – Sept. 2
By Lindsey Potter
Photos Casey Brevig, Jake Hanson and Maurice Harnsberry
Is it possible to do Bumbershoot wrong? The answer is probably “no” and yet it feels like I keep making mistakes. I would like to emphasize that I always have a good time, but I cannot help but shake the thought that I am Bumbershoot-ing incorrectly.
In previous years, I tried to run around and catch part of as many shows as possible. I’d usually underestimate the time it takes to move between stages and miss more of the shows than I was anticipating. Also, am I the only person who gets super turned around when looking for stages? Just me? I do not understand what my problem is. I have been to the Seattle Center a million times over the years, but when I am at Bumbershoot I suddenly lose my bearings and cannot seen to figure out the best direction to walk through grounds to the various venues.
On top of that, I would look back at the schedule at the end of the night and realize I missed some rad comedians or art installations. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever made it to any comedy shows at Bumbershoot, despite my love of stand-up. I wish this was the part where I tell you that this year was the year that I nailed it and I am about to share how I maximized Friday of Bumbershoot. Spoiler alert: I did not.
Rather, I started the day off strong but quickly realized I was once again NOT doing it right. I managed to plan my day to leave work with enough time to catch as much of the late afternoon as possible, which I thought would be the perfect amount of time to commit to this year’s festival, since it’s the first time festival organizers implemented a no re-entry rule.
I got to Seattle Center and realized that I was on the completely opposite side of where the ticket pick up was and had to power walk much further than I expected. When I finally picked up my pass and got through security I realized the next show I would be able to catch was RL Grime. Unfortunately, even though I was near the field, I was on the opposite side of where you were allowed to enter. Here we go, let’s start this awkward trot, ducking and weaving as I try to navigate the groups of people trying to get photos with the glowing unicorn set up by the fountain.
I made it to the stage just in time for RL to start lighting up the stage (literally with flame cannons) while performing a song sampling Kanye’s new album. This was the part of the evening when I finally stopped fighting the current of concert goers. No longer worried about “missing out” or “trying to get to the center of it all,” I actually let myself enjoy the present and danced it out.
I decided to hang tight and watch people drink wine out of can in the beer garden until Lil Wayne was about to start. I may not have maximized the number of acts this year, but I definitely started doing something right because I had so much more fun. There is nothing like dancing with hundreds of other scantily-clad fans who are screaming every single lyric of 6 Foot 7 Foot. I was unaware that I even knew all of the words until it came on.
The rest of his set was a blur of dancing, with Wayne taking his shirt off to display his impressive and highly tatted bod and the crowd simultaneously erupting when A Mili started. I actually almost missed due to a concert cliché moment – I almost lost my phone at a Weezy show. Not my cutest move, but I got my phone back if any of you were worried.
I finished the night with Ludacris beautifully serenading my middle school self with Move B****H. Luda and his DJ had a continued disagreement throughout the set about if the crowd were full of real fans and would challenge us to sing all of his old songs. The crowd obliged. It felt like every single person on my side of the festival was screaming every word to Southern Hospitality, Rollout, Get Low, or Money Maker. I cannot begin to tell you how pleased I was that I got to that stage early to get to front to thoroughly relive the artist’s throwback classics. Also, I was close enough to be SHOCKED by how amazing Ludacris looks. It feels like it is my job to inform all of our readers that Luda is 40 and looks the same as he did 10 years ago. The literal SAME! We all need to pay him the respect he deserves for avoiding Father Time.
When I really think about it, my Friday Bumbershoot experience was awesome. I just have to learn to accept that the fact that there’s literally too much to see and I cannot possibly do it all. Once you decide what you really want to see and just let it happen, it can be the best time. Now hopefully I’ll remember this fact next year.