Plenty of hip hop, dancing families and, of course, a ton of weed
By Guadalupe Triana /// Managing Editor
Michelle Garfias /// Staff Writer
Although it feels like school has been in session for at least 10 years now, and it’s hard to believe that the long, sweaty days of summer are gone for good (just so you know, fall break is about two and a half weeks away), we can still appreciate and reminisce on the exciting summer close-out festival that was Bumbershoot. The three-day music and arts extravaganza, appropriately named after an alternate term for “umbrella,” began as a soggy dance party and ended on a warm, toasty and certainly catchy note.
Taking place annually in Seattle, Washington, Bumbershoot seems to be one of the more relaxed summer festivals. With its non-profit roots, festival organizer One Reel didn’t mind people bringing their own food, not to mention their own water bottles (looking at you, MFNW). However, everyone should take note of the fact that it’s totally appropriate to whip out the ganja and smoke out in the open without being harassed—who would have guessed? Needless to say, that changes the festival’s aura for the better. Bumbershoot, which attracted headliners such as Wu-Tang, The Replacements and Foster the People, consistently boasts a family-friendly environment that maintains its fair share of cool and rakes in thousands of music lovers every summer. Here, the Pioneer Log brings you some prime moments from the 2014 edition.
Day 1 – Saturday, August 30
This year, Bumbershoot boasted an impressive hip hop lineup that easily brought some of the hottest acts to Seattle. Although it was a bit strange to see parents and their three year olds trying to groove to booty-clapping music, sometimes everyone needs a little hip hop in their life.
Bumbershoot deserves a big high-five for bringing such a diverse and wide range of artists to the Seattle spotlight (for cheap, too!). Big Freedia came with irresistible southern bounce, and the Queen Diva did not disappoint. Although Freedia’s set happened during the broad daylight, the sun didn’t outshine any of the intense twerking involved.
It was weird seeing Danny Brown perform at 4:30 p.m., since he’s the kind of rapper you’d see on a Friday night before smoke-jaded audiences. Brown, who consistently raps about getting high and.. well, eating pussy.. put on a so-so performance that could have been much better if maybe the audience was in the dark?
If there was any group that had the most loyal and present fans (meaning, not on their phones), it was most certainly Wu-Tang. As evidenced by the hundreds of folks sporting worn-out, delicately faded Wu-Tang shirts, the group probably drew the biggest crowd on the first night of the festival. “C.R.E.A.M.,” the third song during their set, had the best energy of the entire day. Additionally, if you are trying to catch the 20th anniversary celebration, be sure to check them out before the end of their tour. Hurry because they’ll be in San Francisco this weekend.
Day 2 – Sunday, August 31
Straight from the Bay Area, IamSu brought the club hits directly to the grassy field of the Seattle Center. The kids love Iamsu! for many reasons, one of them being his bangin’ singles. IamSu had everyone dancing and for that reason, his show was one of Sunday’s highlights. Of course “Function” and “Gas Pedal” didn’t disappoint, and Su made sure to get the crowd hyped.
As the guest host for “Star Talk Live” a show that explored the mysterious and seemingly unknown outer space, Bill Nye, along with co-host, Eugene Mirman and two other men engaged in a dialogue about asteroids and their implications. The talk was interesting, but it wasn’t the type of humor one would expect. It wasn’t the “Bill Nye the Science Guy” humor everyone has grown to love. However, they still had the audience laughing. During the Q&A, Bill Nye made it apparent that he is extremely passionate about evolution, and it’ll be exciting to hear even more of his thoughts on the matter when he visits Lewis & Clark this October.
At some point, Schoolboy Q mentioned that he never does shows at 4 pm, which is why he felt weird, but he proceeded to bring down the mainstage. Of course Schoolboy Q performed his biggest hits, but the highlight of the entire performance was when Macklemore joined Q on stage for an energetic rendition of “White Walls.” This definitely had the Seattleites going batshit crazy.
The Head and the Heart are just plain good for the soul. At Bumbershoot, they seemed like that kind of band you want to cuddle and drink tea to, all while next to your significant other. The love for Seattle that night was made apparent by their warm compliments and graceful Space Needle shots. Their serene sounds on songs such as “Cats and Dogs” balanced out the day’s eclectic mix of performances.
Day 3 – Monday, September 1
The bad thing about music festivals is that artists don’t always play the lesser-known-but-way-better-than-the-single songs that the hardcore fans know by heart, but the best thing about music festivals is that they DO play songs everyone with a radio knows. This was the case for J. Cole. Hits like “Work Out” had the biggest singalong, while others like “Land of the Snakes” were slightly more quiet. The Dreamville rapper began his set with a slideshow in tribute to the serious events taking place in Ferguson, MI. With a full band, including a 16-year-old drummer celebrating a birthday with Bumbershoot, Jermaine made sure to bring a full set to the stage.
Twin Shadow kicked off their set with one of the more popular pieces, “Five Seconds.” Although the band has not released a third album since 2012’s “Confess”, plenty of concertgoers crowded around the Fountain Lawn Stage to bang their heads along to the hip band’s sweet and hypnotic sounds.
Foster the People have been popular all around the country on alternative radio stations with their infectious melodies and catchy lyrics. It would not be a lie to say that although everyone at Bumbershoot was sad about the festival coming to an end, but let’s face it, everyone wanted to hear “Pumped Up Kids” already.
The Pioneer Log will miss Bumbershoot, but it’s time to get back in Watzek. We’ll get back to you with more Bumbershoot next year. Start saving now for this kickass annual festival.