FloRida performing at Bumbershoot Courtesy Bumbershoot

The Ultimate Guide to Bumbershoot 2018

Break out the band tees and flower crowns, Bumbershoot is fast approaching! From planning your itinerary to refueling between sets, here’s how to make the most of North America’s largest urban arts festival.

By Aly Brady

It’s 1971, and hot pants and rock ‘n’ roll are all the rage. In a burst of color, 120,000 people storm Seattle Center (*305 Harrison St) for the Mayor’s Arts Festival, featuring 150 exhibits and events from laser light shows to a performance by famed country singer Sheb Wooley.

But after the runaway success of Festival ’71, it was time for a more Seattle-centric name: Bumbershoot, a nod to both the weather and the event serving as an umbrella for all arts. Today, Bumbershoot is an annual cultural mecca, and the festival is ready to take over Seattle Center this Labor Day weekend (August 31-September 2) featuring hundreds of artists and performers from musicians to comedians to dance groups. Shows span the 74-acre campus of indoor and outdoor venues, with a main stage at Memorial Stadium.

Pass options include single day (starting at $130), three days (starting at $240), as well as VIP ($475) and Emerald passes ($775).

Courtesy Bumbershoot

Bass Drop

Music is the beating heart of Bumbershoot. This year boasts an eclectic spread of hip-hop, indie and pop. Don’t miss crowd pleasers Ludacris and J. Cole, along with indie darlings, Cold War Kids, Portugal. The Man, and hometown heroes Fleet Foxes. Also, catch pop icons The Chainsmokers. For the full music lineup, see here.

Pro tip: Until then, get hyped and preview the artists with Bumbershoot’s 2018 Spotify playlists.

Comedy & Conversation

This year’s impressive lineup of more than 20 comedians and speakers are worth a spot on your Bumbershoot itinerary. Check out headliner comic and Bob’s Burger’s voice actor Eugene Mirman, and the folks behind the homage to all things horror, “Last Podcast on the Left.” Other must-sees include Variety and Comedy Central’s “Comic to Watch” Emily Heller, and the “Think It, Say It Do It” talk led by Seattle-based writer Nikkita Oliver. Lines for all comedy and conversation events start 15 minutes prior to showtime.

Pro tip: Passes come with access to all general admission areas and events, all with one wristband—go rogue and pick a random event off the schedule, it might just be the highlight of your weekend.


Visually Pleasing

Bumbershoot tips its hat to the traditions of visual and performing arts with dance performances, theater programming, and featuring local artists and groups like Urban Artworks and Northwest Pottery. Or, scope out the merging of art and music at Bumbershoot classic the Rockart Poster Show, with concert posters and silk screens created by Pacific Northwest artists on display. Theater lovers can check Theatre Puget Sound for this year’s programming, and the Laser Dome show at the Pacific Science Center (*200 Second Ave N) is always a crowd favorite.

Pro tip: Love local art? Check out Celeste Cooning’s public art or Seattleite Dylan Neuwirth’s light-inspired installations.



Need a breather? Slow it down on the Mural Lawn Saturday and Sunday with the festival’s newest tradition, Yogashoot, led by Corepower and Yoga Hustle.

Afterward, satisfy your hunger with Bumbershoot’s culinary offerings (B-EATS) which highlights the local food scene. Fall in love with fried chicken and biscuits from Seattle favorite Bok a Bok, get a true taste of the Pacific Northwest with seafood from Matt’s in the Market, grab a taco from Ballard’s Gracia, and more.

Pro tip: Bringing little music-lovers along? Ages seven and under get in for free with a paying adult, while ages eight and up need a wristband.


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