Festival Review: Bumbershoot - August 2019, Seattle
For the 49th year running, Bumbershoot has capped off a wonderful summer in Seattle with three days of fantastic music acts across four stages, all overlooked by the landmark Space Needle. This year’s festival was a bit smaller than previous years, having cut one of the stages and an overall smaller lineup, which could be a sign of the future for the festival. Regardless, it allowed for a much more relaxed weekend with fewer artist conflicts and less running from one end of the festival to the other on an hourly basis. All that aside, the lineup this year was packed with incredible artists.
We kicked off the weekend with Vancouver’s Evan Konrad and his incredible voice and skill on the guitar at the Mural Stage. Despite being one of the first acts of the day, he drew a good crowd as soon as he started playing. Friday at Bumbershoot seemed to be Vancouver music day: next up, we headed over to the MoPop stage, this year’s newest addition, located in the main atrium of the MoPop Museum, to see The Tourist Company. Their lush, substantial sound was only aided by the huge 50-foot screen behind them that engulfed the room with soothing visuals. The next hour was spent alternating between the Fisher Green and Mural stages, as well as their respective genres (hip hop and indie rock), in order to catch Bryce Vine, Shaed, and Sol.
With almost an hour between the last side stage set starting and Tyler, The Creator’s headline slot, it seemed like the entire festival descended down into the stands and floor of the main stage at Memorial Stadium to get a good spot. By the time he hit the stage, the stadium was absolutely packed and buzzing to see the legend, and he did not disappoint. Between bangers he sat and joked around with the crowd. A few thousand people’s bucket list item got ticked off.
Saturday started out on the main stage with Donna Missal, before we headed over to Fisher Green to catch Half-Alive and their choreographed dance moves. In a day of back and forth, it was back over to the main stage to catch pop queen Carly Rae Jepsen start a dance party. LP and Rival Sons were our next two acts, both on Fisher Green and both delivering some incredible rock vocals. A definite standout for the day were COIN, who headlined the Mural Stage with their energetic indie-pop, only bolstered by what felt like the entire crowd singing along to every word. The Lumineers headlined the night, while simultaneously a barricade collapse had Jai Wolf’s set cancelled and rescheduled for the next day.
The difference in crowds between the first two days was quite jarring, as Friday had a much younger draw than previous years due to having a much more pop/EDM/hip hop focused lineup. Saturday featured more rock and drew a much older crowd, while Sunday fell somewhere in the middle of the two.
Due to a shift in schedule to accommodate Jai Wolf’s new slot on the main stage, Sunday was by far the busiest day for the festival. Most of the day was spent at the main stage with pop acts The Aces, Kiana Ledé, and Clairo, with each drawing large crowds even early in the day. The second half of the day seemed to split the festival in two, as Jai Wolf, Louis The Child, and Rezz took over the main stage, and Bob Moses, Reignwolf, and rock legends Taking Back Sunday took over Fisher Green. Adam Lazzara of Taking Back Sunday was on fine form to finish out the evening, as he spent upwards of two songs in the crowd, dancing and interacting with whoever crossed his path.
Bumbershoot has once again spent the Labour Day long weekend showcasing a wide range of artists from many genres, giving everyone a chance to see something they love, and something new to fall in love with.
Words and photography by Kelli Anne.