Bumbershoot Beyond the Music


courtesy Bumbershoot.org

There’s plenty of coverage for this year’s Bumbershoot Music Festival up on the interwebs discussing the best musical sets to catch or the local acts that deserve your attention, and we’ll absolutely be blabbing all about those things throughout the festival and beyond as well. For our preview though, we wanted to talk about some of the hidden awesomeness beyond the music.


I’ll be covering as both photographer and writer this year and as a food photographer, this new addition to Bumbershoot caught my attention. I’m excited that local chefs are being brought into new opportunities like this, especially to a huge crowd of people that may or may not imbibe in local fare all that often beyond their own neighborhoods. Dan Bugge of Matt’s in the Market and Radiator Whiskey has curated a new area of Bumbershoot’s food offerings. I’m excited to see Little Uncle on the list of restaurants sharing their fare as well as Bock a Bok Korean Fried Chicken (which I have yet to taste, but drool for it none-the-less). I’m annoyed that there is incredibly little information about this “event” beyond what I just described. From what I can tell, it’s simply a fenced-off area where more unique eats are available to Bumbershoot ticket holders. You still have to pay for the food, but I don’t believe there are any separate tickets involved (like the some other nightmarish food-related events in Seattle Center). We’ll see what all the fuss is about!

Visual Arts at the International Fountain Pavilion

Last year the Seattle, Havana, Tehran Poster Show was one of the highlights of my Bumbershoot. I had a secondary relationship with them photographing the space and the show once it was live, but after the fact I had a chance to browse through all the posters and I loved it. While the posters were created by artists from the three aforementioned cities, they all had a similar theme. The love of music and the inseparable bond and interconnectedness that visual and aural art have. That being said, this year’s installation is created by the local visual artist Ryan Molenkamp. He’s been featured in several PNW outlets, had several gallery locations and is currently being featured in the Portland gallery Duplex. Unfortunately there’s not a whole lot of information about him or his work available on the Bumbershoot site, but it’s on our list.


courtesy Bumbershoot.org

House #30

This production, held in the Center Theater, looks intriguing and intimate. Actor Mik Kuhlman performs in and around a seemingly fragile and transparent silk “house” that revolves around a house fire but also discusses themes of chaos, homelessness, and change. It has been a while since I’ve taken time to sit down and enjoy anything that entertains me longer than 30 minutes (minus the commercials) so some quiet time outside of my own head sounds fantastic, even if it is about darker subject matter.


This isn’t really an event during the festival weekend, but is equally interesting to us. It’s something I hadn’t heard about before, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was simply something that I had glossed over when reading through the festival site in the past. It turns out that even if you decide not to go to Bumbershoot, or if you have a few extra bucks and love sharing music with others, then you can help send a child and their family to Bumbershoot. It’s not just any random kids, its families that wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford going… which, to be honest, there are sadly more and more of lately. Seattle isn’t cheap to live in and luxuries like tickets to a music festival don’t fit into the average Seattleite’s budget. If you’re so inclined, it’s a great way to spend a buck.


Honorable mentions:


courtesy Bumbershoot.org

Flatstock – This is a welcome staple of Seattle’s biggest music festival. Since its inception, I’ve made a point of stopping for at least an hour (hopefully twice that) to catch up on all the local artists’ creations. I’m always excited to see the new work available, and even more so the new artists cropping up selling their wares. I may stop by and ask my favorites a few questions about their experience being a part of Flatstock.

Teatro Zinzanni – Added to Bumbershoot this year, but being outside of the official Seattle Center grounds makes it a little more difficult to catch unless you make it a priority.

Pottery Northwest – While it looks like this is mostly another art installation there’s also a cryptic description of “and an amazing spectacle outside on the Festival grounds”. What does that even mean? Sadly a lot of the festival opportunities outside of musical acts have vague explanations like this. This may simply be due to the people involved (outside of AEG/Bumbershoot folks) didn’t provide info… either way, it’s pretty annoying.

Balloon Chain – Similarly cryptic description on the Bumbershoot site but it seems to be the same kind of thing as the glowing “Bumbershoot” sign from last year. They’re essentially decoration that they decided to add as an “event” during the festival. It sounds pretty, especially when their lit up at night I guess?

SIFF showings – Taking from audience award winners, Northwest-specific films, and family films among others from the Seattle International Film Festival, One Reel is still slightly involved in the festival this year curating film; exactly what they should be putting their efforts toward.

Speak Your Mind