Seattle’s Bumbershoot Festival to return with new partner, reworked format

Jan 12, 2022, 12:46 PM
Seattle Bumbershoot Festival...
Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival in 2018. (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

After nearly a year of deliberation, a new partner has been found for Seattle’s Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival.

Bumbershoot to reassess future of festival following 2021 cancellation

In April of 2021, an exploratory committee was formed to determine the future of the Labor Day event, with One Reel — the company that had managed the festival for over two decades — stepping back permanently to assume a smaller advisory role.

Over the past few years, Bumbershoot has dealt with a myriad of obstacles, including frequent financial troubles, rising ticket prices, weather cancellations, frustrations over a short-lived experiment that briefly saw KeyArena hosting the mainstage, and an incident in 2019 where a collapsed barricade sent four people to the hospital.

On Wednesday, New Rising Sun was tagged as the festival’s new production partner, chosen by a committee that included a team of experts selected last year by the mayor’s office and city council.

“Making Bumbershoot a celebration of Seattle arts was central to this decision. After nearly two years of COVID-19 related shutdowns, our artistic communities need and deserve the level of community engagement which New Rising Sun has proposed,” Seattle Center Advisory Commissioner Brian Robinson said in a news release. “Seattle Center will work with our region’s brilliant artistic communities, philanthropic, and business partners to lead the revival of this iconic festival.”

New Rising Sun is comprised of a variety of local music and nightlife leaders, including Neumos Owner Steven Severin, McCaw Hall Operations Manager Joe Paganelli, and Museum of Museums Founder Greg Lundgren.

Rather than framing Bumbershoot as a festival taking place over the course of a single weekend, the group plans to convert it into “a year-round, community and nationally engaged arts and music events brand realigning the festival with Seattle’s current identity, growth and direction.”

“Reviving Bumbershoot with this enhanced new vision gives us the opportunity to respond to the uncertainty of the pandemic, electrify our city, and empower our communities by uniting around, revitalizing, and reinvigorating Seattle’s arts, music, and cultural scenes and sectors,” Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell said.

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Seattle’s Bumbershoot Festival to return with new partner, reworked format