Labor Day for some is the concluding three day weekend to soak up those last summer rays, but for those of us who stick around Seattle rain or shine it’s finally time for the largest music and arts festival in the nation. Or maybe anywhere. The 43rd annual Bumbershoot Festival is nearly here, and if you’re sticking around the city it’s a must experience event for Seattleites of all ages. Over 100,000 people flock to the Seattle Center every year to enjoy the best in comedy, film, theater, and of course every genre of live music from electronic and folk to gospel and hip hop. I remember the surge of adrenaline I felt in 2007 after seeing John Legend, Lupe Fiasco and that finale performance of “Protect Ya Neck” from Wu Tang Clan (sans Ghostface Killah) – this all in the same weekend as the Shins and Kings of Leon. I thought One Reel had really out done themselves, but year after year they continue to book amazing artists and this year’s lineup truly has some of the best from every genre. The three day schedule is packed and overwhelming, so here is my list of not to miss performances throughout the weekend.
It’s been an inspiring year for Seattle rappers since Macklemore and Ryan Lewis gained mainstream recognition and this weekend Bumbershoot attendees should be on the look out for another Seattle artist: Nacho Picasso came out of the shadows of Seattle’s underground rap scene back in 2011 when Pitchfork named his 2nd solo mixtape one of the best rap debuts of the year. Who doesn’t love a man who believes chips and cheese are the ingredients of life?
Snoop Dog, The Game, and Dr Dre named Kendrick Lamar “The New King of the West Coast” and this year Lamar has earned his seat on the thrown. In 2012 his debut of good kid, m.A.A.d was vastly recognized by NPR, Rolling Stone magazine, and Pitchfork among others, and his main stage performance is without a doubt one of the most anticipated shows of the weekend.
The Grizzled Mighty
Self described as erupting from the fiery belly of an active volcano, Seattle duo the Grizzled Mighty landed on my radar after a lively KEXP concert at the Mural and if you’re in the mood to have your ear drums throb, check out their show on Sunday. Whitney Petty should be considered armed and dangerous (drum sticks are her weapon of choice).
Columbia Record label signed Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser back in 2006, and with three Grammy nominations and a huge international fanbase, MGMT has certainly paved the road for electronic artists and continue to experiment and inspire the masses. Now performing as a 5 piece, be sure to stop by and check out their mash-ups from 60’s psychedelic to 90’s Britpop.
You might be surprised to learn that the most soulful artist at this year’s festival was born and raised in Eastern Washington. Allen Stone grew up in Chewelah, Washington and though he is forever humbled by his praise as a deeply profound R&B and Soul artist, will forever see himself as a “Hippie with a soul.” His voice alone has moved me to tears, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. His gift was meant to be shared, and his 2010 debut album that soared to the top of the Billboard charts is proof alone that socially conscious music has made its way to the top.