By Jennifer Cuellar, on August 6, 2019

Everything You Need to Know About Bumbershoot in Seattle

Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival in Seattle is one of the biggest annual festivals in North America, and it’s been going strong since 1971! Though Bumbershoot is deservedly well-known as a music festival, it’s also a brilliant showcase for all sorts of art forms: dance, theatre, comedy, visual arts, and other styles. Named “Bumbershoot” (a colloquialism for an umbrella) in homage to its Seattle setting, this festival has its finger firmly on the pulse of what is hip and happening in music and art of all kinds.

Things You Need to Know

Crowd and stage at Bumbershoot Music Festival.
Via Ruth Hartnup/
Where is Bumbershoot?

Bumbershoot in Seattle takes place at Seattle Center, an entertainment center originally built for the 1962 World’s Fair and a stone’s throw from the Space Needle.


When does Bumbershoot take place?

Bumbershoot takes place annually over Labor Day weekend, the unofficial end of the summer celebration season. In 2019, the Bumbershoot dates are Friday, August 30 – Sunday, September 1.


How much are Bumbershoot tickets?

One of the best things about Bumbershoot is how customizable the festival experience is based on your budget and schedule. Bumbershoot tickets can be purchased for one, two, or all three days. A one-day general admission ticket is $109. VIP-level passes are $175 a day, while Emerald-level day passes are $275. All three tiers of tickets offer a discount on multi-day passes—a 3-day GA pass, for instance, is only $220, rather than $327. So if you’re looking to dance the whole holiday weekend long, a 2- or 3-day pass is the most economical way to boogie on a budget.


Who is performing at Bumbershoot in 2019?

The music lineup for Bumbershoot 2019 includes an eclectic mix of contemporary artists, from Lizzo to The Lumineers. Other on-trend Bumbershoot artists to look out for include Tyler, The Creator; Rezz; H.E.R.; and Jai Wolf, among a long list of others.


How many people attend Bumbershoot?

While Bumbershoot’s highest-attended festival weekends have welcomed as many as 100,000 guests, it’s more likely that Bumbershoot will be attended by about 50,000 concertgoers on Labor Day weekend.


What’s the weather like, and what should I wear?

The weather in Seattle is notoriously variable. The good news? Bumbershoot Festival is Seattle-grown, and a little (or a lot of) rain won’t stop the music. Late summer isn’t typically a rainy time of year in Seattle. But if you aren’t sure what to wear to Bumbershoot, you may want to pack a set of rain-friendly clothes—umbrellas aren’t allowed inside the festival, so a rain coat or jacket with a hood might be a good idea. Seattle in the summertime can get sunny and hot during the day, but nighttime temperatures may drop down into the 50s, so it’s best to bring a warm sweatshirt to slip on over your t-shirt after the sun sets.


What are my food options at Bumbershoot?

A wide variety of food vendors serving many different types of cuisine and catering to a number of diets (vegetarian, vegan, etc.) will be selling tasty meals onsite at Bumbershoot Music Festival. Festival maps, available at entrance gates, show the location of various vendors. Don’t want to carry a map around? The Bumbershoot mobile app also has a food map.If you have food allergies or other dietary restrictions, fear not: Festival-goers are allowed to bring in a small portion of food each day, as long as it fits into a single-compartment bag smaller than 17” x 12” x 10”.

Anything else I need to know?

Some practical tips for the festival will help you plan ahead and enjoy a stress-free festival experience:

  • Though you’ll probably be having too much fun to think about leaving the festival grounds, you don’t have to stay onsite all day. You can leave Bumbershoot and come back later in the day without forfeiting your ticket. Check out the onsite information booth to find out more about re-entry.
  • Lockers are available to rent, in case you want to stash your stuff and free up your arms for waving in the air.
  • Coolers, bicycles, glass bottles, umbrellas, and selfie sticks are among the items prohibited on festival grounds. You’ll also have to leave blankets and beach towels at home, unless you’ve bought a VIP package. Plastic water bottles, e-cigarettes, medium-sized backpacks, and lighters are all acceptable items.
  • If you forget to bring your power bank, don’t panic. There are mobile charging stations around the festival with plenty of power outlets, so plug in and juice up.

Where is the Closest Airport & Transportation?

Seattle International Airport at sunset, where you'll fly in for Bumbershoot.
Via Jody Claborn/
The closest airport to Bumbershoot in Seattle is Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, or Sea-Tac. No matter where you’re traveling from, you’ll find plenty of flights to Seattle that pass through this busy hub for travelers in the Pacific Northwest. Bumbershoot’s location at the Seattle Center event space is about 15 miles north of the airport, which takes under 25 minutes if you’re driving without traffic. Whether you fly, drive, bus, or take a train to get to Seattle, there are many options for getting from your airport, station, or hotel room to the Bumbershoot festival grounds:

  • Driving: There are many parking spots in the area surrounding Seattle Center, in both public parking spaces and private parking lots. Keep in mind that lots fill up fast at festival time, so arrive early if you want to find a space, and be prepared to walk a longer distance from your car to the Bumbershoot gates if you get a late start.
  • Biking: While bikes are not allowed inside Bumbershoot, they are not only allowed but encouraged as a transportation method for getting to the festival. On Broad Street, near the Space Needle, you’ll find Bumbershoot’s free bike parking area. Bike locks are not provided, so don’t forget to bring your own!
  • Public Transportation: King County Metro has a number of routes that run to or near the Seattle Center, making this a great choice for getting to Bumbershoot. The Metro Trip Planner, available online and through an app, can help you calculate the best routes and times to suit your travel plans in advance. Additionally, the Monorail runs between Westlake Center and Seattle Center every ten minutes, so if you’re hanging out downtown you can get to Bumbershoot in a flash.
  • Ridesharing: If figuring out public transportation in a new city has you stressed out, remember that rideshare apps like Lyft and Uber are a good way to get to the Seattle Center area without the hassle of finding a parking space.

Where to Stay?

An aerial view of downtown Seattle, where Bumbershoot takes place.
Via kan_khampanya/
With so many geographically and culturally diverse neighborhoods, and so many quaint and convenient hotels in Seattle to choose from, you might want to consider spending a couple extra days in this beautiful port city after the festival ends, just so you can explore.

  • Downtown Seattle can’t be beat for convenience. Not only will it give you bright lights and bay views, but the Monorail from Westlake Center (a shopping area where you may be tempted to check out for a few hours) to Bumbershoot’s Seattle Center location runs every 10 minutes.
  • If even a 3-day music festival like Bumbershoot can’t satisfy your arts & culture cravings, consider staying in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, a quaint and funky district of shops, pubs, eateries, and art installations.
  • Maybe if you had your way, the party would never stop. If you were born to groove and don’t want to quit dancing when the festival ends, you’ll find your kindred spirits in Capitol Hill. This cool district is full of bars and clubs where you can shake it all night long…and cafes where you can savor a cup of Seattle’s famous java when you need a pick-me-up the next morning.

Are there other things to do in Seattle?

Pike Place Public Market at night, one of the top places to visit when attending Bumbershoot.
Via Tiffany Von Arnim/
Seattle is a city of natural beauty and historic cultural contributions. On days off from Bumbershoot, there’s so much for you to discover in this jewel of the Northwest:

  • The Museum of Pop Culture: MoPOP is not your grandma’s museum. Rather, it’s an absorbing, engaging space full of ever-evolving exhibits and events that uniquely showcase artifacts and displays from literature, movies, gaming, leisure activities, and other pop culture pastimes—but there’s a heavy emphasis on music. Current exhibits include homages to hometown heroes Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam.
  • The Showbox: Catch a concert at the Showbox, a legendary music venue that has hosted a staggering list of music giants since it opened in 1939. From Duke Ellington to Muddy Waters to Soundgarden to Lady Gaga, the electric talent that has rocked the Showbox stage is as diverse as it is awe-inspiring. The Showbox is still swinging, with live shows several nights a week.
  • Pike Place Market: Indulge all your senses and stretch your legs with a visit to Pike Place Market, perched at the edge of the water and packed with shops and kiosks peddling seafood, fruit, curios, collectibles, and bowls of chowder. Keep an eye out as you pass the fishmongers’ stalls—you may see a whole salmon go flying past your head as the vendors toss their wares back and forth. And check out the antique and collectible shops for vinyl records and music memorabilia.

It’s only fitting that Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival is held in Seattle, a city with deep musical roots that celebrates innovation. The same city that’s been home to so many legendary bands and iconic venues is a matchless setting for a world-famous celebration of art, culture, and music like the Bumbershoot Festival.