Congratulations to our BumberDiaries Grand Prize winner Julie Collison. As the winner, Julie will receive Platinum Passes for her and a guest to this year’s Bumbershoot and we’ll share her Bumbershoot story right here. We’ll also be posting some Honorable Mentions on our blog throughout these final days leading up to the Festival. Thank you to everyone who shared their stories, we received some great ones and it was clear that Bumbershoot is more than just a Music & Arts Festival, it’s a tradition. It thrills us, it inspires us and it brings us all together. It’s a place for exploration, innovation and discovery but most of all, Bumbershoot is Seattle’s biggest party! It’s that one time each year for us to get together, invite all of our friends and celebrate our City’s amazing Music & Arts culture. We thank each and everyone of your for being a part of it.
I met my husband in October of 1986 and he told me he was a Bumbershoot fan and had been attending for several years with his college buddies. We began going to bumbershoot together in 1987. During a Bob Dylan concert at the KeyArena in 1988, he took my hand, looked me in the eyes and took a small box out of his pocket. He opened it up and pulled out a beautiful pearl and diamond ring. Slipping it on my left ring finger he asks: Julie, will you marry me? Of course I said yes and then started crying just a little and we continued to watch the rest of the concert. We married in March of 1989 and continued to attend Bumbershoot every Labor Day weekend.
We have met so many nice people there. We like to set up under the Mural Stage right under the space needle and have made many friends who are there every year rain or shine! We love the good morning wake up song! My husband Pat loved going to Bumbershoot! We would get there extremely early and wait at the front of the line to get in and get our “spot”. Pat loved to stay until the very end and often came for 2 days. We had 4 children together. We had twins that were born on Sept. 2, 1992. Pat wanted to go to Bumbershoot but I forbade him from going that year! He was needed here! Our kids have continued to join us for Bumbershoot. We just got a bigger blanket!
We often bring cupcakes to celebrate the twin’s birthday and some of our friends at Bumbershoot give them gifts. My oldest daughter used to bring her guitar and make a few extra bucks. Now she brings HER daughter to Bumbershoot! Unfortunately my husband Pat died on April 1, 2005 and no longer can attend his beloved Bumbershoot. The kids and I still go, and we still sit in the same spot and visit with the same friends who have been there since I can remember-I guess back to 1987! 24 years ago! I just turned 50 and am a single widow who plans to attend all 3 days this year and hang out with my friends!
Maybe I’ll see you there! Right in front of the sound booth of the stage under the Space Needle. It has a new name now, but I will always think of it as the Blues Stage and I still remember my husband Pat, wearing his tie dyed Bumbershoot t-shirts, shorts and sandles, dancing up a storm right there on the grass. I miss him so. Many of our Bumbershoot friends have expressed to me how much they loved him and miss him. One year, one of his friends hung up a little sign in his memory. Thank you for letting me tell my story. Bumbershoot has always had a special place in my heart.
Julie Collison, BumberFan
Mike McGinn, Seattle Mayor
Bumbershoot 2011 act Brite Futures sat down recently for a special audio edition of BumberDiaries. Listen:
I was coming off a few year hiatus from Bumbershoot when I decided to go in 2004. I had spent my teens and early 20s trying to find my own direction as a musician, dabbling in a bunch of genres. I was raised on ’70s folk and roots music and I guess something clicked that day in 2004 when I saw this Canadian group called the Sam Roberts Band on the Lawn Stage. Sam Roberts came out in acid washed blue denim from head to toe, including a sweet jean jacket, long hair and a bushy beard, looking not unlike a young Bob Seeger. He took the stage foot-stomping and belting out this great southern rock sounding number to open. I remember he had such swagger. He took me back to my roots and really sold me on that classic twangy rock sound all over again. His set inspired me to start writing in that vein—and I still do to this day. When my band Massy Ferguson plays the Mural this coming Bumbershoot, I’ll be channeling Sam… and that awesome jean jacket swagger.
Ethan Anderson, Massy Ferguson
JoDavid and I met at Bumbershoot in 1981 and got married in 1989 and since then, have made it to point to attend and/or volunteer at Bumbershoot each year. When we had kids, we always went to the Friday event, and continue to take them each year, celebrating our wedding anniversary together at Bumbershoot. Last year we volunteered on Lele Barnett and Kathy’s “sound” show (including all the kids) and the year before, we worked on Greg Lundgren’s fashion/style art show. It’s a fun family thing we can do together. This year, it’s time for our own show called Bumber by Number, an interactive, fully-immersive paint-by-number salon, and our three teens will also help us set that up.
When Sam was about five, we were at Bumbershoot and there were these rambling jugglers called “Brothers from Different Mothers” and they called for volunteers and Sam raised his hand. Once they put him on one of the Juggler’s backs and got out the knives he got really scared! He almost started to cry! But we coached him through it and he helped them perform the trick without a hitch.
After that, he asked if he could take juggling lessons. He’s been juggling and riding unicycles ever since and this year, he’s won a scholarship for the Teatro Zinzanni Summer Camp!
Marlow Harris, curator, Bumber by Number
The diversity of the Bumbershoot lineup is something that’s always held a special place in my heart. I love that it’s such a diverse mix of music and arts all in one place. It’s a festival for the entire region, with something for everyone. Bumbershoot has been a part of my life for many decades. I’ve seen some of my favorite artists of all time in a magical setting, right in the heart of my city. Some especially memorable performances that come to mind are Al Green and Camper Van Beethoven in the late 80s, Ali Farka Toure, Sunny Day Real, Vic Chesnutt, R.L. Burnside, Beck, Wilco, Built To Spill, Modest Mouse, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Dandy Warhols, Pond, Spiritualized, Sleater-Kinney, Sonic Youth, Neko Case… Okay, we could be here all day at this rate. You get the point. I look forward to decades more to come.
Cheryl Waters, KEXP DJ
In 1995 my wife Cyndi and I went all three days of Bumbershoot—Ramones, Parliament, tons of others. And while we were just friends on the first day of Bumbershoot, by the 3rd we were dating. We had a long ten years of an on & off relationship, but when we decided to get married we picked Sept 4th, 2005 as our wedding date. The 10th anniversary of our first date at Bumbershoot.
Brian Foss, Funhouse / Sonic Reducer
I first experienced Bumbershoot in my 20s and it was everything I needed an arts festival to be: a chance to experience the newest up & coming band, to connect with seasoned veterans, and everything in between—all on MY terms, with MY people. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to fully appreciate a deeper meaning of Bumbershoot, particularly as I’ve taken my kids to the festival.
To paraphrase a quote from the late, great D. Boone: Bumbershoot provides a forum for me to experience the beauty of life through the arts, and allows me to not only teach my kids through it, but to ensure that my kids can teach their kids, too.
My all-time favorite Bumbershoot memory so far is what my then five year old said to me while we were wandering through the crowd: “I don’t like being my height because all the adult butts are in my face.”
Priceless. Just like all my Bumbershoot memories. Just like my kids.
Susie Tennant, Town Hall Seattle
When I was like 7 or 8, we saw George Clinton and the P-Funk All Stars at Bumbershoot… I got dragged over the turnpike thing when everyone ran into the building. I remember it was packed, but we were at the very front of the stage by a gate and I was on someone’s shoulders… after the show, my Uncle Kevin and Gerald & Thaddeus Turner (local musicians) took us to the back, and George Clinton signed my arm in red ink- I didn’t wash my arm for dayssssss!! Years and years later, George Clinton comes into Mel’s Market and I serve him lasagna… bananas!
Adra Boo, Fly Moon Royalty
Watching David Lee Roth scissor kick in fluorescent yellow karate firefighter/hospital scrubs, and by that I mean they had suspenders, was probably one of the finest Bumbershoot moments I’d been privy to. His tan made George Hamilton look like me. I was with my old roommate Carl, pretty much going hoarse from singing Van Halen really badly. Then we spotted Kim Warnick in the crows nest on the stage. I could practically see her black palm tree hair move from the wind produced by his showmanship turbines. It stays with me until this day. I can almost taste the glazed dougnuts.
Rachel Flotard, Visqueen
My first Bumbershoot was the fall of ’93, when I moved to Seattle and the Violent Femmes were playing. I walked into the festival, straight to their performance. I worked my way through the crowd and jumped off the stage and was carried until security escorted me out. I left, went around and did it all over again and the security gave me a wink a smile and said it looked like I was having the time of my life. I was. I never left Seattle again and have had a warm place in my heart for Bumbershoot ever since.
John Richards, KEXP DJ
In 1986 I witnessed my first Bumbershoot. I was very young then and remember the excitement and awe at all of the spectacles I saw at such a young, vulnerable age. I was pretty animated and my parents recounted how enamored I was by the circus-inspired woman on stilts, dressed like a willowy fairy, or how I stood captivated by the drum circle that filled the air with thunderous sounds that vibrated in my four-year-old chest. Man, I loved drums.
Bumbershoot made quite an impression. Even after moving down to Seattle from my hometown of Bellingham (born and raised!) six years ago, that sense of excitement and awe never really left. As a local, I had ALWAYS hoped one day to play the festival.
I remember seeing the Lonely Forest in the EMP Sky Church and thinking to myself “If I ever got to play Bumbershoot on this stage, it would be a dream come true”. Thanks to Bumbershoot, one dream will be realized – although I’ll be upstairs at EMP’s Level 3. I know my Seattle friends and supporters will be out in droves. I hope that Bellingham comes out in full force.
The phrase Bumbershoot holds a dear place in my heart. Having grown up here in the Northwest, this was a festival I always looked forward to. It represented the last hurrah of summer, and a great chance to see a handful of my favorite bands! Having attended every year from ’89-’09, it became more than a tradition, it was a nearly religious ritual.
I’ve seen performances from R.E.M, Wilco, Foo Fighters, and Sonic Youth on Bumbershoot’s main stage, to Mudhoney, Seaweed, Pedro the Lion on the side stages. Needless to say, I have dozens and dozens of memories from Bumbershoot’s past, not least of which is playing with my band! This year marks our third time: twice at EMP’s Sky Church (the second time there, we had crazy lines waiting to get in), and this year, which is absolutely ridiculous, we are playing in KeyArena!
It’s truly an honor! Consider me and the band humbled.
Tony Ruland, The Lonely Forest