We all know what Bumbershoot’s about, right? You stand around outside at the Seattle Center, come rain or shine, and wait for a band to come along and play a 45 minute set. Then you eat a corn dog. Then you wait some more.


Bumbershoot’s varied lineup is often ignored by those who are expecting a regular music festival, plus there are other ways to get your music fix this Labor Day weekend. Whether you’re heading to Bumbershoot 2012 or not, check out our new, improved list of ways to enjoy the festival. It’s a corn dog free zone.

1. Forget the music… make me laugh!

Despite the fact that Bumbershoot has always sold itself as a Music and Arts festival, everyone still comes along for the noise – but there’s enough going on to fill your day without going anywhere near a Marshall amp. Want to catch some short films? Check. Want to see a comedian? Check. Want to improve your brainpower with a mindbending discussion on hot contemporary topics? Check. Want to get down and dirty with cult film director John Waters? Check. So here’s the challenge: try to spend a couple of hours doing something that doesn’t involve a diva strutting around on a stage while someone stands beside a drum machine and looks cool. I dare you. (Check out Bumbershoot’s interactive schedule here for more ideas.)

2. Shop, shop, and shop some more.

Even if you want to catch a few musical acts, Bumbershoot also has plenty of opportunities to fit in some retail therapy between sets. The craft market always offers a few surprises (heck, it’s where I bought my beloved Viking socks), and Flatstock gives you the chance to own some of that underappreciated art form – the concert poster. Plus you have all the food options that Seattle Center offers, and a host of traveling vans, trucks and stands. Oops, we almost moved into corn dog territory there. Moving swiftly along…

3. Free your mind. And your radio.

Everyone gravitates towards the big stages at major festivals, but sometimes the small, up-close performances are the ones that blow you away. This year the Toyota Free Yr Radio stage has another great lineup of performances by some of the fest’s hottest buzz bands, and you get to stand within spitting distance of their hipster shoes. Who wouldn’t get excited about that? Check out the lineup for Bumbershoot 2012:

Saturday, September 1

11:30 – 11:50 a.m. – Onuinu
1:30 – 1:50 p.m. – Keyboard Kid
3:30 – 3:50 p.m. – TacocaT
5:30 – 5:50 p.m. – Unnatural Helpers
7:30 – 7:50 p.m. – DON’T TALK TO THE COPS!

Sunday, September 2

11:30 – 11:50 a.m. – Nü Sensae
1:30 – 1:50 p.m. – Deep Sea Diver
3:30 – 3:50 p.m. – Gold Leaves
5:30 – 5:50 p.m. – Katie Kate
7:30 – 7:50 p.m. – The Young Evils

Monday, September 3

11:30 – 11:50 a.m. – Dude York
1:30 – 1:50 p.m. – The Wombats
3:30 – 3:50 p.m. – Bryan John Appleby
5:30 – 5:50 p.m. – Noah Gundersen
7:30 – 7:50 p.m. – LP

While enjoying the performances you can strike a pose in the Corolla Lenticular Photo Booth, make a festival fashion statement with make-your-own headbands and wrist cuffs at the DIY Leather Art Station, and pick up a complimentary Seattle grocery store-friendly Bumbershoot Silk Screened Tote Bag. If that isn’t enough, Toyota is also offering Whac-a-Hipster at the Prius Family Playground. ‘Nuff said.

4. Camp out. Kinda.

The temptation is to wander around from stage to stage in a frenzy during festival time, forever fearful that you’re about to miss something even more spectacular just around the corner. You’ll have noticed those people who’ve got their act together at previous festivals, though. You know the ones. They set up camp at one stage and stay there for most of the day, picnicking, dancing, and enjoying the best seats in the house. If you can find a stage that rings your bell, then why go trekking from stage to stage? Bring a blanket and pretend it’s Woodstock. You know you want to.

5. Watch it at home!

That’s right – this year you don’t even have to go to Bumbershoot to enjoy Bumbershoot! TuneIn Radio is offering artist playlists prior to the festival starting, then during the festival Bumbershoot Radio will present full, live performances from M. Ward, Passion Pit and many more, thanks to KEXP 90.3 FM. They’re expecting 100,000 plus fans to attend this year’s festival – and you can be one of them, from the comfort of your armchair. But then you’ll be missing out on all the fun…

For more Bumbershoot coverage visit our dedicated Bumbershoot 2012 page.

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