Bumbershoot 2016

Bumbershoot is an international festival of music and arts which is held each year in Seattle, Washington. It is one of the largest annual festivals in the US. This festival is usually held over the Labor Day weekend and takes place at the Seattle Center. The name “bumbershoot” is believed to originate from the colloquial word for “umbrella”.


Bumbershoot Information

Location(s) United States
  • Seattle, Washington
Years Active 1971 - present
Founded by city of Seattle
Date(s) Labor Day weekend
Genre variety
Website www.bumbershoot.com

History of Bumbershoot

  • This festival was started in the year 1971 and was commonly known as “Festival 71”.
  • It was funded by city funds through the Mayor and so was also known as the “Mayor’s Art Festival”.
  • Initially, there were a total of 125,000 visitors to the festival. It is said to be the largest event in the Seattle centre since the World’s Fair in 1962.
  • The show was hosted by Irving Clarke Jr. Lasers were used which were a novelty at that time.
  • It also featured computer graphics, an electronic jam session and inflatable sculptures.
  • There were several other attractions such as face painting, amateur motorcycle racing, a hot pants contest and even a performance by a guest country folk singer, Sheb Wooley.
  • In 1971, there were 175,000 visitors and it was called “Festival 72”.
  • The name “Bumbershoot” was coined in 1973 and there were 200,000 visitors to the festival. 1974 attracted 325,000 visitors.
  • Over the years, the festival gained more and more popularity, but towards the late 1970’s Bumbershoot suffered a decline due to budget constraints.

Facts About Bumbershoot

  • By 1976, the talent used in Bumbershoot was entirely local, and the festival was reduced to just the Labor Day weekend, from the several days that it used to span since its inception.
  • Unseasonable rains occurred over the Labor Weekends in 1977 and 1978, further dampening the spirits during this period.
  • In 1980 however, a non-profit organization called One Reel came forward in an attempt to save Bumbershoot from extinction, and this company has continued to run the festival till date.
  • One Reel injected funds into Bumbershoot and brought in international performers to the likes of Tina Turner, James Brown, and the Eurhythmics which drew large crowds to the festival once again.
  • The festival also owed much of its success to the introduction of international sponsors who funded the events, making Bumbershoot more popular than ever, even till the present day.

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