By Zoe K.
Bumbershoot is the holy grail of musical celebration for kids growing up in the Pacific Northwest. I attended my first Bumbershoot when I was 15, and it was like my rite of passage into adulthood. I had just discovered that there was a whole world of music out there that wasn’t being played on mainstream radio, and this was my chance to experience it live. The highlight of the festival for me was seeing The Presidents Of The USA on the mainstage in Memorial Stadium. The energy of the band and the crowd was unlike anything I had felt before, and I quickly got lost in the sea of sweaty people. This was where I belonged.
For young local performers, playing Bumbershoot is a huge achievement. One of the grand prizes for the EMP’s Sound Off! contest is getting to play the festival. This year, at least three Sound Off! alums will be performing, including veterans Schoolyard Heroes (2003) and The Lonely Forest (2006), as well as newcomer Sam Lachow (2012).
Every year there are tons of PNW artists performing at Bumbershoot. It would be understandable to ask, “I can see them anytime at The Sunset or The Crocodile, so why would I want to check out these local bands at a festival?” I’ll give you some reasons. First, one thing I love about seeing bands in many different settings is getting a totally different vibe from the show. Seeing Rose Windows play at the Fountain Lawn Stage in the afternoon will emphasize the grandeur of their sunny psychedelic sound, whereas seeing them at a DIY venue like the Black Lodge at midnight brings out the heavier guitar riffs. Also, it’s fun to follow a band as they evolve over the course of their career. The Head And The Heart are one of the headliners this year, but five years ago they were playing open mic nights at Conor Byrne. This will be The Lonely Forest’s last show after almost a decade of being part of the Northwest music scene, which I’m sure will be an emotional experience.
There are plenty of local bands spanning many different genres to discover this year. If you try one and don’t like it, there are over a dozen other shows happening simultaneously that might better suit your tastes. Take your pick:
La Luz, Sandrider, Iska Dhaaf, The Head And The Heart, Pickwick, Red Fang (Portland), The Lonely Forest (Anacortes), Schoolyard Heroes, Rose Windows, Shelby Earl, Hobosexual, Sam Lachow, Sandrider, Greyskul, Jarv Dee, Iska Dhaaf (soon to be NYC-based), Massy Ferguson, Cumulus, Modern Kin (Portland), Dude York (Walla Walla), La Luz, Fly Moon Royalty, Golden, Gardens, Kid Hops, RA Scion