Bumbershoot VIP: Are Gold or Emerald Passes Worth It?

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Article Summary

  • Bumbershoot offers three passes: GA ($150-$235), VIP (formerly Gold) Passes ($425), Emerald VIP ($725)
  • The biggest perk of both VIP passes is skipping the lines and special viewing areas
  • Personally I would do Gold/VIP Passes; I think Emerald VIP is overpriced for what it offers

A classic question with nearly every music festival is if the VIP passes are worth it.  Bumbershoot is no exception.  Bumbershoot actually offers two levels of VIP passes: Gold and Emerald VIP passes.  Well, the first level of VIP used to be called Gold and now it is just labeled VIP. This article will first go over the benefits of each pass, and then I will weigh in if these benefits justify the costs for the Bumbershoot VIP passes.   It should be noted that Bumbershoot did add a layaway/payment plan in the recent years, which will divide up the cost of your passes into three equal payments. The Bumbershoot payment plan can be used for any level of tickets, including the VIP.

Bumbershoot Ticket Options

Let’s start with explaining each ticket option, their cost, and what you get with each pass to Bumbershoot.  There are three different ticket options for Bumbershoot:

Bumbershoot General Admission Passes: $249
General admission passes allows you to access the festival all three days.  In years past Bumbershoot required you to have a separate pass for the comedy and other performances but this is no longer.  General admission passes let you access any of the performances within the Bumbershoot festival.

Note that the prices for general admission passes begin at $249 but will climb to $275 as more passes sell out. Bumbershoot is like most other music festivals – the earlier you buy the more you save.

Bumbershoot VIP Passes: $450
The first level of Bumbershoot VIP passes are the VIP Passes, formerly known as the Gold Passes. These will cost you $450. Thus they need to provide at least $200 in value over the GA passes to be worthwhile. With the Bumbershoot VIP passes you get the following perks:

  • Exclusive VIP entrance into the festival.
  • NEW! VIP lounge with charging stations, exclusive lockers, exclusive water refill station, complimentary snacks and non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Access to VIP viewing area inside Key Arena lower level seats.
  • Access to VIP viewing areas at Fisher and Mural stages with private bars.
  • Access to VIP viewing area at Memorial Stadium with front of stage access.
  • Free VIP gift from the Merchandise Booth.
  • All VIP Guests MUST be 21+

Bumbershoot Emerald VIP: $750
The top tier passes for Bumbershoot are the Emerald VIP passes.  The Emerald VIP passes to Bumbershoot are $750, which is $300 more than the regular VIP Passes and $500 more than the regular Bumbershoot GA passes.  The Emerald VIP passes offer the following perks:

  • Exclusive Emerald entrance to the festival.
  • Access to Emerald Lounges with complimentary cocktails & charging stations.
  • NEW! Featured culinary bites curated by local chefs.
  • NEW! Complimentary bag valet.
  • NEW! Emerald exclusive viewing area of Memorial Stadium main stage.
  • Live Screen Print Experience.
  • Pacific Science Center & EMP passes.
  • Bumbershoot Merchandise.
  • All Emerald Guests MUST be 21+

Bumbershoot VIP Breakdown

I will now go into each passes perks and discuss which are actually worth the extra cost of admission.  Let’s start with the Bumbershoot VIP Passes:

Bumbershoot VIP Passes Perks

Lines at Bumbershoot

One of the best perks with the VIP (and the Emerald) VIP passes for Bumbershoot is getting to avoid the massive lines.  The picture above is the line for general admission festivalgoers to get into the festival.  If you have either of the VIP passes you can avoid this as you have an exclusive gate to get in and out of Bumbershoot.  So if you value your time at all the exclusive entrance to Bumbershoot is a huge perk.

The other big perk that comes with Bumbershoot is the VIP viewing areas. VIP viewing areas are included at Key Arena, Fisher Stage, Mural Stages, and Memorial Stadium near the front of the stage. This is another huge perk as you often need to line up really early for shows in order to secure a good spot (see lines above). It’s really nice that the lower level of Key Arena and the front of Memorial Stadium are included. If you don’t want to have to fight for a good spot at a stage then this is a solid VIP perk.

The final perk worth mentioning is the new Bumbershoot VIP lounge area that includes charging stations, lockers, and some more perks. In general I’m not a big fan of these perks and don’t value them too highly. Ultimately if you are using this at Bumbershoot it means you aren’t at a show. Yes, they are nice to take a break when you need to rest up. It’s also nice they include lockers so you can store a hoodie for at night or whatever you want to throw in there. That said, I don’t put too much stock in these: I rarely spend time in them and would rather be watching a performance, I can rest later.

Bumbershoot Emerald VIP Perks

The Bumbershoot Emerald VIP passes offer you the same ‘skip the lines’ benefits as the VIP Passes, so that’s already a huge bonus to these passes.  I’m not going to go into further detail on these benefits as they are described above.  This year they have an Emerald exclusive line, which is even separate from the VIP passholders, so you can expect to get right into Bumbershoot with this pass. Let’s go through the other benefits of these for Bumbershoot. 

The biggest edition to Bumbershoot VIP in 2017 is the complimentary cocktails inside the Emerald Lounges. If you read this article last year I had lamented Bumbershoot for charging this much and not including any alcohol. I felt this way because many other festivals had cheaper VIP options that did include alcohol. Clearly you aren’t going to drink $750 worth of booze all weekend (or maybe you will?), but it is nice to get some free cocktails when you are shelling out this much money on a pass. So this is a big plus for the Emerald passes. That said, if you aren’t a big drinker or if you just easily sneak in booze and other party favors like 90% of other people at Bumbershoot you may not care about this.

However, besides for the free alcohol the Bumbershoot Emerald passes to VIP seem a little light on the perks. You get some free ‘culinary bites’, which is code for some free snacks, which is nice, but not worth the additional $300 from the VIP passes. You also get free valet, which makes you feel cool but how much value does that truly provide you? This is nice if you need to drive into Bumbershoot, but if you are staying in the downtown area or take the train in then this is pretty useless. Passes to the EMP (which is awesome) and Pacific Science Center are nice, but again if you aren’t interested or have been to these they may or not be of value. The only real perks I see with the Emerald passes are the ability to skip the lines into the festival, the free cocktails, and the premium viewing areas. Are these worth an extra $500 over the GA or $300 over the VIP? I vote no personally.

Final Say

Personally I think the VIP Passes for Bumbershoot are probably worth it, but I’d pass on the Emerald VIP passes.  $450 nowadays for a VIP experience at a musical festival the size of Bumbershoot is pretty reasonable, and they offer a good upgrade over GA. VIP Passes still allow you to skip all of the lines at Bumbershoot, which is a very common complaint about Bumbershoot, but not nearly as expensive as the Emerald VIP passes.  The Emerald passes do include alcohol, which is undeniably a nice perk, but I don’t see $300 (the difference between Bumbershoot VIP and Emerald) of value in it. I will say if you need to drive to Bumbershoot and want to visit the EMP museum it increases the appeal of Emerald, but generally I think you can purchase those things separately and save some money. My final verdict is to go with the VIP passes if you can afford it and skip the Emerald passes.


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