The best (and largest) urban arts and music festival? Got to be Bumbershoot Festival

If Seattle is well-known for art and music then the Bumbershoot Festival is definitely the showcase event.

Established in 1971, the annual international art and music festival is one of the biggest in the country (not to mention the longest running).

So what is Bumbershoot?

Originally, the term was used for umbrellas in in the 19th century, combining the words bumber (a form of umbrella) and chute (from parachute).

However, more and more people have come t associate the word Bumbershoot with this festival that takes place in Seattle every year and attracts thousands of visitors.

In the beginning, the first iterations of the festival were supported and run by the city. Even back then in 1971, the very first year of Bumbershoot, a large number of people attended (around 125,000) and it's only grown since then.

The Modern Bumbershoot Festival
It wasn't until the early 80's that the modern festival really took its current form, and that entailed the festival organizers deciding to go back to attracting headlining musical acts as well as international performers, which continues with current festivals.

However, Bumbershoot wouldn't be what it is without its efforts to promote the talents of local artists and musicians as well. Not only can Tina Turner and the Eurythmics share the same stage at the festival, but local dance troupes or theater groups can join in on the fun as well.

But music isn't the only thing happening at Bumbershoot. Much like the Bite of Seattle that isn't just about food, the Bumbershoot Festival has more than just music.

Ever since the beginning, arts and food were very much a part of the festival and acts from the likes of Jerry Seinfeld to the Pacific Northwest Ballet have graced one of the over 20 indoor and outdoor venues.

In addition to food vendors, everyone from indie artisans and street performers are also welcome at the festival.

Heck, if you are interested in being involved as part of the entertainment at the festival, Bumbershoot more than welcomes your interest. All you have to do is go to the Bumbershoot Festival website and fill out the relevant applications.

Getting Tickets to Bumbershoot
The Seattle arts and music festival actually used to be free, but like any event that needs to turn a profit or go bust, the Festival started charging for tickets. While the prices now are a bit more than the $2.50 it was at the beginning, there are usually deals for the event.

If you're going to be in Seattle during Labor Day, check out the website above to get all the information on where and when to get tickets. As I mentioned, if you want to go, be sure to check around the site to see which events run each day.

The reason is because there is usually the option to buy a full three-day pass or just get one day passes. With the one day passes, though, you have to use them on the specific day of the ticket. Meaning that if you want to see a specific artist or group that is performing at Bumbershoot, be sure to buy a ticket for that specific day. You don't want to buy a ticket and later find out that the group you wanted to see isn't performing that day.

The best way to make sure that happens is to wait until the official schedule of events comes out before you buy tickets. Don't worry, though, the schedule usually comes out pretty early, allowing you enough time to pour through it and see what day has the acts that you want to see.

If you don't have any preferences, you probably won't go wrong choosing any of the days, as the performers are all pretty solid acts, and the day tickets can get you into all the Bumbershoot activities, whether in the afternoon or the evening. However, you'll want to make sure that you arrive early to the events, because once they're filled, nobody else will be allowed inside.

The same goes with the comedy shows. These are pretty popular, so you'll want to be sure and get there early to get the seats you want.

Another thing about tickets... Children 10 years old and younger get in free at the event, which is great, especially for a family like ours with young children. Just be sure to understand the nature of the shows you will be going to see, because some of the acts (as you can imagine) are not suitable for kids.

So if you want to have a good time with the family at one of the biggest Seattle festivals, be sure and check out the Bumbershoot Festival. It's one of the coolest shows around and you won't be disappointed.

Return from the Bumbershoot Festival back to the Seattle festivals.