Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The 2011 Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival

It is hard to believe Summer is coming to an end already, but as is often the case, this part of the year is simply perfect in Seattle.  The good weather went along nicely with the Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival, a Seattle tradition and an event I've grown up attending.  Realizing this could be the last Bumbershoot I am able to attend for quite some time, I bought my 3-day ticket well ahead of time and was looking forward to seeing some great live music with friends.

The heart of the Seattle Center, the fountain lawn and the Space Needle. Yep, looks like it's going to be another beautiful Bumbershoot weekend!

I met up with three friends and went to see local group Champagne Champagneat the Fischer Green Stage.  This pretty much turned out to be the best stage of the year, and most of the shows I saw were here.

We left Champagne Champagne to check out a metal band that was playing in the Exhibition Hall Stage, Red Fang.  I knew nothing of their music, but they rocked hard and loud, and it reminded me of the underground metal show I went to in India, haha. This stage feels like it's in a concrete bunker, which is cool because they put a lot of the 'rougher/louder/darker' bands here and it makes for a fun environment.

Outside, I tried to go all the way around in the human hamster wheel. I didn't make it.

Flatstock, the poster convention in the usual spot.  A great event where every booth has something I like.  I do have two pieces from a few years back in my house.

Grabbing a vitamin-R.

Next was the Nortec Collective, electronica from Tijuana. Yes, it was as strange as it sounds and looks, and the two DJs did the whole thing from their iPads.

Next to EMP was a collection of crazy bikes to ride.

Inside the EMP Sky Church.

Belly-dancers preforming.

And of course some greasy, delicious, festival-food!

After dinner it was time for Shabazz Palaces, local hip hop.

Yes, it really is one act after another and this was concert five of the day: Little Dragon.  I was not familiar at all with this band, and was really surprised.  The music was fantastic and they put on a good show.

Just some scenery.  This is the entrance to the Pacific Science Center, where much of the 1962 Worlds Fair took place.

And yes, the Starbucks Stage is at the base of the Space Needle, which was also built for the '62 Worlds Fair.

On this stage was a legend: Mavis Staples, who still sounds great at 72 years old.  One day, six very diverse shows, this is why I love Bumbershoot.

The next day it was straight to the Key Arena.  For years this was used as a secondary stage at the event and Memorial Stadium was the main stage, but times are-a-changing.  I much prefer the big outdoor stage of Memorial myself.

Inside was Broken Social Scene, who put on a very lively show.

An art instillation: the impossible skate park.

This band, the 'boogie-funk' Dam-Funk + Master Blaster, was a great surprise.  Again, a group I'd never heard of, but had a great time watching.  Plus, who doesn't love the key-tar?

Oh look, more friends!

Off to Jabu's! This is essentially a tradition at Bumbershoot, and we go to avoid the $5.50 you pay for a Bud at the beer garden.  Bumbershoot is different from a lot of festivals because it is right in the middle of a city, and it is very easy to go out of the event and reenter which is nice when you want to go to bars and restaurants in the area between sets.

Count how many pictures of the Space Needle I  have, haha...

Because sometimes you can't avoid it! Anyways, the sun was going down on this day, and the night belonged to rock & roll. 

First off was the Butthole Surfers, which frankly I was disappointed by. 

Oh look, it's me.

Next up was the garage rock band The Kills.  The singer, Alison Mosshart  is also of The Dead Weather and I saw them last summer just rock a show.  Because of that I was pretty excited for this concert.  It was a good show, but not as good as the last time with Jack White.  Either way, it was a good, high energy show to end the night on.

Monday, the third and final day of Bumbershoot began with Big Boi (heh, alliteration) at the Key.  Half of Outkast, I'd seen him preform before as a solo act, but lets be honest, we all just want to see Outkast....

Oh look, more friends in the audience, Hunter, Kevin and Dan.

For a few songs, they invited 'all the hot ladies' on stage which at times was pretty entertaining.

Another Bumbershoot tradition, Pagliacci Pizza.  Just outside of the gates, and in every free Bumbershoot event guide, a 2-for-1 coupon. 

Next was the "Screaming Eagle of Soul" Charles Bradley, who put on a great show with some serious moves using the microphone stand.

At this point Monday evening, I was pretty tired and ready to go home.  The closing act on the main stage was Hall & Oates which I considered staying for, but ended up skipping.

In that case, one last goodbye.  Oh look, the Space Needle!

Each day I rode the bus from my house downtown and back, and the #15 worked out perfectly every time.  Another Fantastic Bumershoot weekend and another reason I love Seattle.

So what is next? Alaska!  Tomorrow I leave for a little over two weeks in Anchorage/Hope.  I'll be spending most of the time in Hope, helping to build my sister and her husbands cabin.  Rob and I will be doing a lot of framing, and it sounds like a lot of fun.  It might be interesting though, I checked the forecast and it is for 50s and showers, all while it's 80 and perfect in Seattle!  Not only that, but I've pretty much been in summer for the last 16 months, this will be my first time in cool, rainy weather in a long while!  Check back in about three weeks for the post of that trip!

Thanks for reading, now get out and have some fun!