Bumbershoot has always been an awesome event for Seattle and this year definitely did not disappoint.
Over this past Memorial Day Weekend, Bumbershoot took place at the great Seattle Center, one of my favorite places for music in Seattle. Bumbershoot has always been an awesome event for our city and this year definitely did not disappoint.
Bumbershoot was the first music festival that I ever attended back in 8th grade. I saw Kanye West, John Legend, T.I., and since then, have had a ton of nostalgic experiences that I will never forget there. I have attended the festival numerous times over the years and was ecstatic to get my first media pass for the shows. The only disappointment of having one is that when you want to take pictures of larger artists, you have to wait in line, causing you to miss other shows throughout the festival. If you don’t make it there by the time the escort takes media to the pit, you are out of luck because you can only be down there for the first 3 songs. This did not stop me from getting some great coverage of the shows.
On the first day of Bumbershoot, I made it down to Seattle Center just in time to check out B.A.G. (Blimes and Gab) at the KEXP stage but just missed one of my favorite Seattle artists, Kung Foo Grip. I have been a big supporter and fan of Gifted Gab for years and this was my first time being able to watch her with Blimes live. They both killed it, but this was not a surprise because I was not expecting anything less.
The next show I was able to catch was somewhat of a joke and just straight intriguing to at least check out. From Dr. Phil to the Main Stage at Memorial Stadium, Bhad Bhabie brought all of the young YouTube fanatics out from the woodwork. The few songs I saw were ridiculous and it was definitely hard to take her seriously.
Next was Poolside at the Monster Energy Fisher Green Stage. I first found out about them through the video game Grand Theft Auto that has some of the most well-curated soundtracks I have ever heard before based on any genre. Their music is definitely very chill and relaxing, perfect for the name of their band. They did a great job at Bumbershoot and were definitely a great addition to the already solid lineup.
After that show, I took a break for a while to get some drinks in me before the show I was really waiting for, Lil Wayne. During my time in the beer garden, I, unfortunately, missed one of the homies Jake Crocker’s set at Exhibition Hall Stage but we all know he killed that, and RL Grime. One of my friends made it over to RL Grime at the Main Stage and said that it was a great show, I have heard of him before but it was not a huge deal for me to miss him. Bumbershoot packs so many good artists into their lineup that you really have to pick and choose who you want to see or hop around from show to show and catch the beginnings and endings of shows. Last year, I had VIP passes which made it easy to do that by skipping the huge lies at Key Arena, but without that, it would be nearly impossible to catch everybody you like. 7:35 finally rolled around on Friday and it was time to watch Lil Wayne. He has been an artist that I have always wanted to see, as he was one of the ones to get me into rap music. Weezy will always be a legend so he could have played anything and I would have been happy, but he decided to pull out all of the classics and make it one of the more memorable shows I have ever been to thus far. One of the only weird things was the fact that a large majority of the crowd seemed like they knew Lil Wayne but didn’t really know Lil Wayne. What I mean by that is if you are in high school now, you probably aren’t aware of how legendary the first Carter albums were or what datpiff.com is. I watched Waynes entire set and didn’t think twice but missed another headliner, Mura Masa at Monster Energy Fisher Green Stage which was during the same time.
The next artist I saw was another one of my favorite artists in hip-hop, Ludacris. Talk about nostalgia again, this show was amazing and a great nightcap. My favorite song of the set was Blueberry Yum Yum.
At the beginning of the day on Saturday, I was able to walk around the festival and check out some of the different vendors and sponsors for the event. The set-up around the fountain at Bumbershoot was pretty cool, last year they had the blow up bunnies and this year they had a huge art installation of a flower, their classic B U M B E R S H O O T sign, umbrellas hanging everywhere, the long chain of balloons above the fountain, and a really random 20-30 foot silver unicorn. And they had a live mural by one of my favorite local Seattle artists, Ten Hun that turned out amazing! All of these things help to add to the scale of how big this event/space really is and the Bumbershoot team always does a great job of filling it up with interesting things. In terms of sponsors and giveaways, this year seemed like there was a lot less than in the past, the memorable tents and booths were from Titos Vodka, High Brew Coffee, Redvines, and Odwalla.
After walking around the festival for a little bit, I was able to watch Travis Thompson at the Mural Amphitheatre Stage and it was very impressive. I have seen this guy all over my social media feeds grinding and like his music a lot but have not had the chance to see him live until Saturday. You can easily see why he is strongly recognized in the town and ready to go big at any moment.
Young Thug was the next artist I wanted to see on the Main Stage. I am not a huge fan of his music but definitely knew a few of his songs and that it would be a fun show. He ended up bringing out all of the ones that I knew, plus more and had the entire crowd going crazy for the whole set. During Young Thug, I, unfortunately, missed Grynch who is a legend and one of the first Seattle hip-hop artists I listened to back in the day.
Bas and T-Pain were the next big artists that I wanted to watch but only ended up making it for T-Pain which was amazing. I have never seen T-Pain and always thought his live shows would be somewhat of a joke with his serious auto-tuning but it was very impressive. My buddy was able to catch Bas and said that he played a little bit of his old/new stuff and sounded the exact same in person as he does on recordings. Some of the highlights of the show were Boca Raton, Tribe, Spaceships, Nigh Job, and Too High To Riot.
During T-Pain and Bas, one of my friends’ favorite artists by the name of FISHER performed at Exhibition Hall Stage and told me that it was nuts. Other artists, I wanted to see but couldn’t catch throughout the night were Illenium and Chromeo which was ok with me at the end of the day because I saw all of J Cole’s set which was unbelievable. I have seen him once before at Summer Jam back in 2012 I think. This was right as he was just starting to blow up and was not nearly as big as he is now. It has been awesome to watch the progression of his career and him as an artist. I was lucky enough to get backstage for part of this show and had a crazy experience watching the show from that angle with so many people in the crowd.
After a crazy Friday and Saturday night, it took me a little bit longer to make it to the festival Sunday, and there was not really anything going on during the day that I recognized. The first thing I tried to do was check out the Laser Dome because they had some pretty cool shows set out for the weekend. Last year, I saw Laser Kendrick Lamar and it was definitely worth going to again. Unfortunately, we waited in line for 45 minutes and then had another 30 to wait before it opened so we decided to go watch a show instead.
The first show I watched of the day was GG Magree at Exhibition Hall Stage. I had never heard of her but wanted to check out the stage because they haven’t had it open at Bumbershoot for a while. I remember seeing Brother Ali there back in high school and it was one of the more memorable shows I have ever been to. She had some very hard dubstep music, was climbing all over her DJ stand, and had her group of followers going nuts.
Portlands very own Portugal, The Man was next on tap for the day and played an amazing set. They truly are a great sounding band live and on recordings which explains their cult-like following, I just wish they played their song that they feature on with Flatbush Zombies. The next band I saw was Cold War Kids who I was not too familiar with prior to the festival but thoroughly enjoyed watching.
London On Da Track was the next artist in the Exhibition Hall Stage and was packed. The parts of his set that I was able to catch were an interesting mix of electronic and hip-hop music but overall, he is a great DJ and had the place bumping.
Fleet Foxes were another band that I was vaguely familiar with before Bumbershoot this year but was pleasantly surprised by the last couple songs of their set that I was able to watch. They have an amazing sound together as a band and seem like they would be a great candidate to play at The Gorge.
The last show I wanted to see for the night was SZA, who I have heard time and time again is outstanding live. This was nothing but the truth and her sound truly does envelope your soul at first listen.
Overall, Bumbershoot 2018 was a success. They did a great job of curating the lineup, adjusting their layout to not include Key Arena, and putting together the festival as a whole. Thank you, Bumbershoot! We cannot wait for next year!
Pictures are on the way, for now, check out the videos from the festival on our Youtube Channel!
Bumbershoot 2018 Overview Videos
Taken by Jacob Zottoli