How to Get the Most Out of Your $100-Plus Bumbershoot Ticket

Don't make rookie mistakes. Take these festival tips from veteran Seattle music writer Chris Kornelis.

By Gwendolyn Elliott


August 31, 2017

This article originally appeared in the September 2017 issue of Seattle Magazine.

The annual Bumbershoot music and arts festival, which goes down this weekend at Seattle Center, has been a Seattle tradition since 1972. We asked Seattle music journalist and former Seattle Weekly music editor Chris Kornelis for his insights into how to experience the best of the fest.

1. Go on Friday.
Especially if you’ve never been before. It’s the lightest attendance day and gives you a chance to get to know the grounds.

2. Put a few must-see music acts on your daily schedule.
Then spend the rest of the day exploring other arts. See some theater, film shorts or stand in line for one of those Funny or Die conversations.

3. The best bathrooms are at the armory.
These aren’t just the best facilities at the festival. These are the best public bathrooms in the city of Seattle!

4. Don’t miss flatstock.
This concert poster exhibition—presented in the food court at the Armory—is, for first-timers, the best surprise of the fest. Browse hundreds of pieces of art from some of the nation’s best poster artists. It’s fun just to look, and most prints can be had in the $20 range.

5. Pack essentials.
Plenty of water (natch), unsalted peanuts (they’ll keep you full and won’t make you thirsty) and a pair of socks (trust me, there’s a 90 percent chance you’ll be glad you have them at 11 p.m.).

6. Skip the beer gardens, hit Lower Queen Anne. When you need a drink, wander out (reentry is allowed until 8:30 p.m.) to nearby establishments. McMenamins Queen Anne and Caffe Zingaro have been my Bumbershoot breaks for years.

7. Definitely go. Especially if you’ve never been before. Bumbershoot, on the whole, is more interesting than any marquee headliner (even though Lorde and Solange are probably going to be great). Not all of it’s for you, but it’s an essential Seattle experience.

Sept. 1-3, Prices vary; Seattle Center, 305 Harrison St.;


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