The Future of Bumbershoot

Lena Gorev and Max Klauser

For the last 47 years, Bumbershoot has been part of Seattle’s Labor Day weekend festivities. Starting in 2015, the attendance has been decreasing, putting the future of the music festival at risk, according to Chris Porter, Bumbershoot’s music booker of nearly two decades.

The SeattleMet, a local news source, claims that in 2015, AEG, the company that produces the tickets for the music festival, sold over 80,000 tickets, but in 2017 the sales decreased to under 75,000. Bumbershoot is a commonly known music festival in the Pacific Northwest, so with the chance of tradition being thrown away sparked a lot of communication around the city. Chris Porter told The SeattleMet that there was a “legitimate chance that Bumbershoot 2015 woud have to be canceled,  when we take two steps forward we take two more back.”

Many reasons are responsible for why ticket sales have been decreasing. For example, the 2018 lineup didn’t feature as many popular artists as in the past. Another reason is that the Key Arena wasn’t available to host a stage this year, while in the past it was used as the main stage. Due to not being able to have KeyArena as one of the main stages there was a crowding issue at Memorial Stadium, affecting people’s health such as, fainting due to little breathing room. Senior Kate Manley fears that all age groups, young or old, would miss out on future opportunities to see their favorite artists in one place.

“I’d be sad [if Bumbershoot ended] because Bumbershoot has been around since the 70’s,”said Manley. “And [it] is a highly anticipated annual event for people of all ages.”

Manley’s classmate, Megan Hatton, would be upset if Bumbershoot does not continue, but would be willing to go to Capitol Hill Block Party instead. Capitol Hill Block Party is a smaller music festival which featured artists such as Diplo and Run the Jewels last year. It’s no question that the possibility of Bumbershoot ending in the near future has stirred up a lot of conversation and mixed emotions around Seattle.

“If it was canceled then I would feel lost,” said Hatton, “but this years line up wasn’t very good so maybe it’s time for it to go. I will be purchasing a ticket for Capitol Hill Block Party instead next year.”

In 2017 and 2018 there were many technical difficulties on the main and smaller stages, resulting in the artists having to completely stop or delay their performances due to power outages and other electrical problems.

Senior Lily King explained her frustration in how Bumbershoot played out this year, “It’s incredibly frustrating to pay so much for a festival and spend most of my time standing and waiting for them to fix technical problems. I probably won’t be able to go next year due to college, like a lot of seniors, so it was sad how it all played out.”

Continuing to talk to Seniors Megan Hatton and Kate Manley, they both expressed extreme annoyance through our conversation with them. “I was never able to fully enjoy the music due to how many technical difficulties there were on each stage I went to. Either the artist had to end early or stop in the middle of their performance because of power outages, which was incredibly annoying due to how much money I spent on the festival.”. With the concerns of others health, tickets, and location there are more reasons for Bumbershoot to end than continue. The future of Bumbershoot is in the hands of the people who buy the tickets, with the negative response to how the festival is organized we might have to say goodbye to Bumbershoot once and for all.