Bumbershoot 2015 Recap

Photos by Eric Tra, Graphics by Brandt Imhoff

Held every year on Labor Day weekend, Bumbershoot has long been a celebration for Seattle’s diverse art and music scene. This past weekend marked Seattle’s 44th Bumbershoot festival to date and despite a poorly timed rainstorm on the first day, festival still managed to be a success. While it may not be as hip as the infamous Capitol Hill Block Party, Bumbershoot still offers an array of fantastic music –  from Brand New to Bassnectar this festival had something for everyone.


Saturday kicked of the weekend’s events with a great lineup of artists including such acts as  Elle King, Cake, and the highly anticipated R&B star The Weeknd. However, to say it went without a hitch would have definitely been an understatement. While the music was great the weather was not. In true Seattle fashion, the weather turned what was going to be light showers to a full on deluge complete with thunder and lightning. Fans at the main stage at Memorial Stadium were stuck in the pit as escape proved to be almost impossible. Organizers put a halt to the music and advised people who could to seek shelter until the rain let up.

Despite the setback from the weather Jhene Aiko was still able to bring a little musical relief to fans at the mainstage who had been stuck in the downpour. Although the rain had not stopped, conditions were decent enough to continue with the festival. The evening was capped off by The Weeknd and Chance The Rapper. Judging from the response from the fans as The Weeknd took the stage, it was clear that despite all of the weather complications the crowd’s spirit had not been broken. He went on and put on an outstanding performance. 


Despite forecasts, Sunday proved to be much drier, making for an actually pleasant day for the outdoor shows. Sunday’s music performances featured a variety of different genres from hip-hop to folk-rock. Nikki Lane, and The Cave Singers gave some of the most incredible performances of the day. Nikki Lane in particular gave a great show bringing the warmth of the South with country-esque songs off her latest album, All or Nothin’

Sunday’s mainstage acts featured heavy hitting lineup of throwback bands such as The Melvins, Social Distortion, and Faith No More. While there seemed to be an obvious generational gap amongst the crowd, there was still something for everyone reminisce about. One of the most notable included New York alt-rockers, Brand New. While they have since moved away from their former emo roots, it is safe to say that the nostalgia was very much palpable. The night closed out with a mix bag of performers including Faith No More on the main stage and ZEDD and Neko Case on the Key Arena and Never Tamed stages — a genre mash-up indeed. 


The final day of the festival definitely delivered in terms of both weather and performances. The day was filled with great acts such as Robert Delong, local band The Grizzled Mighty and some of the weekend’s biggest stars, Hozier and Ellie Goulding. Aside from the main acts, there were also a handful of fantastic performances from bands like Minus the Bear and Devotchka that, due to scheduling conflicts, made it difficult to see each band separately.

The finale performances on the mainstage consisted of back-to-back sets from two of the UK’s finest, Hozier and Ellie Goulding. As expected, Ellie put on a fantastic show. After speaking to a few first-time viewers it was evident the level of showmanship of her performance was much more dynamic than anticipated. Between her skills on the drums, singing, and overall stage presence it is no question why she has garnered so many fans worldwide. Sure she might be a top 40 kind of artist, but there’s definitely something magical about her show.




Brand New

Ellie Goulding

Faith No More


Fitz and the Tantrums


Jhene Aiko


Nikki Lane

Robert Delong

Social Distortion

The Cave Singers

The Weeknd