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Bumbershoot is Back, Baby

Posted by April 16th, 2023 1 Comment »

Bumbershoot 2023 Preview
September 2-3 @ Seattle Center 
By Todd Terry

What’s in a name? If your name is “Bumbershoot,” possibly a poor man’s portmanteau of an umbrella and a parachute alongside a ton of history. The storied Seattle music and arts festival recently announced the music lineup for their 50th anniversary and, needless to say, the stakes are high.

The road to this golden anniversary has been both long and winding, with long-time producers One Reel surrendering control to live event juggernaut AEG in 2015. AEG pulled out in 2019 and many wondered if the event, which began way back in 1971, might be done for good. Thankfully, local music and culture veterans Steven Severin, Greg Lundgren, and Joe Paganelli stepped in as producers under the moniker New Rising Sun.

Back after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Bumbershoot’s 2023 lineup feels like a deliberate course correction from the AEG years – when they seemed to be trying to make Bumbershoot into “Coachella Northwest.”

This year, all the Bumbershoot basics are covered. Pacific Northwest legends? Check. (Sleater-Kinney, Sunny Day Real Estate, and Girl Trouble). Old school punk rock bands? You bet. (Descendants, Jawbreaker, and even AFI kind of counts, right?) Local luminaries? Present and accounted for. (Chong the Nomad, Wimps, True Loves, and Beverly Crusher will all take the stage).

On the arts side of things, New Rising Son seems to understand the true spirit of the festival as well, with promises of roller skating, witches, robots, extreme pogo sticking, and a cat circus. It’s enough to make this long-time Bumbershoot veteran say, “Mercy sake’s alive!”

These days, summertime musical festivals are thicker than bugs on a bumper, but I am optimistic that the revitalized Bumbershoot will make like a great big convoy of bugs on bumpers and provide the Northwest with a unique and beautiful sight.

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