Bumbershoot

The annual Bumbershoot festival brings the city of Seattle alive with music, art, and entertainment with thousands flocking to the event.

Event information

Bumbershoot is an eclectic music festival that has something for everyone. It takes place annually in Seattle, Washington. The name Bumbershoot is a colloquial term for umbrella and was coined to portray the all-encompassing nature of the event. Apart from the music festival-goers can enjoy some incredible art, comedy and other entertainment acts.

Bumbershoot first began in 1971 as a city-funded event. The idea behind it was to capture the spirit of Seattle and counteract the economic depression of the time. It was initially called the "Mayor's Arts Festival" and featured folk music, theatre, dance, body painting, motorcycle races, and even laser light shows. Since then it has grown to become one of the country’s largest events of its kind.

The festival organizers aim to promote Seattle-based musicians and artists. Over the years, bands and artists like Death Cab for Cutie, The Eurythmics, Tina Turner, Macklemore, Kygo and Tame Impala have all performed at Bumbershoot.

The event typically features both outdoor stages and indoor venues. There are plenty of games and delicious food options on offer for those looking for more. The organizers of Bumbershoot have succeeded at differentiating it from other music festivals and showcasing the best that Seattle has to offer.

Tickets

Like most other music festivals, there are a few options to choose from when it comes to passes. The tickets typically range from $150 (Early Bird) to $700 (VIP passes). If you commit to the festival early, you can save money by opting for the early bird passes. These are the same as the general admission passes and go on sale a month or two after the previous year’s festival. Prices of tickets tend to go up as the event approaches, so it’s a good idea to purchase them early. For up to date pricing information take a look at the Bumbershoot website.

Transportation

Driving

You can drive to the city in your RV and enjoy some breathtaking views along the way. Many of the routes have curves and bends, so it's best to take it slow and steady. While driving to the event is an option, it’s a good idea to avoid this since the city gets busy during the festival weekend. You may want to try to carpool from your campsite if possible.

Parking areas

There are plenty of parking spots near the venue, but they tend to fill up fast. Plan ahead and grab a parking spot early on in the day, since they become more expensive with increased demand. Starting early will also help you escape the onslaught of traffic later in the day. Be sure to remember where you parked your vehicle to avoid any frustration at the end of your day.

Public Transportation

Using public transport is the best way to get to Bumbershoot. One option is the Link Light rail which will drop you off close to the festival venue. It has stops from downtown to near the airport. The other alternative is to get to Bumbershoot by bus, and you’re sure to find a route that connects you to the festival area.

Where to stay

Onsite

Camping on the venue grounds is not an option, but you can choose from one of the many campsites and RV parks nearby.

Nearby

The Seattle area has many great campsites, and you will not find it hard to pick one that works for you. Camping in the great outdoors is the best way to enjoy the area’s incredible scenic beauty. The best part is that you can get to many of the sites from the city center in ninety minutes or less.

Getting around

If you’re in Seattle primarily to attend the Bumbershoot festival, you’re better off choosing a campground or RV Park closer to the city center. Seattle is well connected, and there are many ways to get around including bus or rail. You also have the option of driving to the venue or biking there.

What to pack

Clothing

Most people stick to casual and comfortable clothing for the festival. It’s rare to see people in costume or rave attire. The weather is likely to be warm, so you can't go wrong with shorts and a t-shirt. The event is open to all age groups so you may want to avoid wearing anything that you’d feel awkward in around young children.

Gear

Seattle is well known for having unpredictable weather. So make sure to carry everything you need for a stress-free festival experience. Wear plenty of sunscreen and take sunglasses and a hat. Another useful thing to bring is a portable phone charger. Backpacks are not allowed, so instead carry all your gear in a small single-compartment bag.

Health & Safety

The festival organizers are committed to providing a safe environment for attendees. They work with the Seattle police and fire departments to incorporate necessary security measures into their planning. There is a long list of prohibited items and bags are checked thoroughly before entry. Re-entry is not allowed so be sure to carry everything you need with you.

Where to eat

Cooking

Cooking on the festival grounds is not allowed, but it is permitted on most campgrounds and RV parks in the area. So, make yourself at home and cook up meals of your choice at your campsite. Some locations may have certain restrictions on the amount of fuel you can carry and the types of stoves allowed, so it’s important to be mindful of these.

Restaurants

Seattle is a food lovers paradise. Some restaurants have been around for years and helped shape the city’s food scene. There are also plenty of new eateries that are raising the bar with their delicious offerings. Whatever you’re in the mood for, you’re sure to find the right restaurant to satisfy your cravings.

Vendors

The organizers go all out to create elevated culinary experiences for festival attendees. Vendors selling delicious food and drinks will be present at designated spots all over the venue. Rather than only offering greasy meal options that some festivals provide, you can indulge in a curated selection of the best dishes from local eateries and restaurants in full Seattle-style. All forms of payment are accepted including cash, credit and debit cards.

Safety

Security

You will not be allowed to leave and return at will once you’re on the festival grounds. Illegal drugs are strictly prohibited, and alcohol cannot be brought onto the premises. Bags will be checked thoroughly for banned items. Additionally, police and private security personnel will be patrolling the venue periodically.

Weather

The festival is typically held at a time of year when the weather is great in Seattle. You can expect plenty of fun in the sun. While the days are warm, temperatures tend to plummet at night. So, it’s a good idea to carry an extra layer of clothing that you can pull on when desired. Always be prepared for rain by carrying a poncho.

Medical

At Bumbershoot, EMS and festival staff work together to create a safe environment and jump in when emergencies occur. Medical stations will be present throughout the venue to assist people as needed. Wristbands are available for people with disabilities to give them access to special viewing areas.