Bumbershoot 101: What is it, where is it, when is it, & more

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Article Summary

  • We give a basic summary to Bumbershoot
  • It’s a music festival in Seattle, which happens over Labor Day Weekend each year.  Tickets start at $150.
  • The festival offers five music stages, as well as other stages for comedy, film and creative thinking.
  • You should book Bumbershoot early as ticket prices rise and hotels are sure to sell out give Labor Day weekend in Seattle is busy.
  • Tickets are on sale in October (presale) and there are several levels of tickets (GA/Gold VIP/Emerald VIP)

Welcome to Bumbershoot 101: your introduction guide to Bumbershoot.  Here I will provide basically a FAQ page featuring all of the common questions about Bumbershoot.  If you’ve never been to Bumbershoot and thinking about going for the first time this is a great place to start.  We will go in everything from how much does Bumbershoot costs to where in Seattle Bumbershoot takes place.  Let’s get to it.

Bumbershoot Tickets

 What is Bumbershoot?

Bumbershoot is an annual music and arts festival held every year in Seattle, Washington.  The festival is known for it’s eclectic music lineup and art that captures the spirit of Seattle.  The festival first began in 1971 and has taken place annually in Seattle ever since.  The festival really does aim to offer more than just music to festivalgoers.  Yes, Bumbershoot features six stages with music acts but also features centers for comedy, film and creative thinking speeches.  There is also culinary delights from all over Seattle and games for festivalgoers.  You won’t be bored at Bumbershoot – they really aim to make the festival diverse and differentiated from the other music festivals throughout the country.

What type of music does Bumbershoot have?

Bumbershoot Lineup

I feel it’s easier to show the type of music at Bumbershoot with a lineup posted.  Above you can see the 2016 Bumbershoot lineup, which really was one of Bumbershoot’s best lineups yet.  Bumbershoot always likes to support Seattle-based artists and 2016 was no different with Death Cab for Cutie and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis prominently featured.  Each year Bumbershoot features a lot of local artists, which gives the festival a bit of differentiation from other festivals. Aside from that you can see the music lineup is quite eclectic.  Bumbershoot features everything from major EDM artists like Kygo to major indie/alternative artists like Father John Misty or Tame Impala.  There will be something for everyone at Bumbershoot.

Where does Bumbershoot take place?

Bumbershoot is located at Seattle Center in downtown Seattle, WA.  The official address for Bumbershoot, and Seattle Center, is 305 Harrison St, Seattle, WA 98109.  This location is about 1.5 miles north of downtown Seattle, so it is quite a convenient location to host a music festival.

How much do Bumbershoot tickets cost?

There are a few different options for Bumbershoot passes, as there are with most music festivals.  The table below shows the costs for each option of passes to Bumbershoot.


Cost ($)

Bumbershoot Early Bird


Bumbershoot 3-Day GA


Bumbershoot Gold Pass


Bumbershoot Emerald VIP


The Bumbershoot early bird passes offer the same perks as the Bumbershoot 3-Day GA passes, they just on sale soon after that year’s festival occurs.  You basically save $30 by committing to the festival early.  Compared to many other large music festivals, the Bumbershoot pricing is quite reasonable.

When do Bumbershoot early bird passes go on sale?

Typically it is a month to two months after this year’s Bumbershoot takes place. If we use this year as an example: Bumbershoot 2016 took place September 2nd – 4th, 2016.  The early bird passes for Bumbershoot 2017 were announced on October 18th and went on sale on October 21st.  Again, the price of Bumbershoot early bird passes was $150.

When does Bumbershoot early bird pricing end?

Typically Bumbershoot releases all of the tickets about nine months in advance of the festival and will end the early bird pricing.  This means in roughly January to February you can expect the early bird pricing to end.  At this time the general admission passes will increase to $180, and the VIP options for Bumbershoot will go on sale as well.

Do Bumbershoot passes sellout?

Rarely.  In 2015 the single day passes for Saturday did sell out for the regular level passes.  You could still buy VIP passes for Saturday at Bumbershoot, but these passes were $250 instead of the regular $99 for a single day pass.  Besides this rare occurrence the festival rarely sells out so you have time to buy tickets.  Of course, you do save money if you buy the passes early, especially the early bird passes.  So if you are thinking of going to Bumbershoot you should buy tickets early.

When is Bumbershoot?

Bumbershoot occurs every year on Labor Day weekend.  In years past Bumbershoot has run Saturday to Monday over Labor Day weekend.  Recently Bumbershoot has taken the more traditional schedule of running from Friday to Sunday.  Bumbershoot returns in 2017 on September 1st to September 3rd.  Keep in mind that because Bumbershoot occurs over Labor Day weekend Seattle is going to be very busy.  Seattle is very popular for Labor Day and Bumbershoot brings even more people to the city for the weekend.  If you need to book accommodations I strongly suggest you book early if you are trying to find a deal.

When does Bumbershoot announce their lineup?

Bumbershoot will usually announce the lineup for this years festival in late April or early May.  As I mentioned before, Bumbershoot occurs on Labor Day weekend each year, so the festival announces the lineup about four months in advance.

Where should I stay for Bumbershoot?

Good question! I have written an entire article on this topic, which you can read here. To summarize that article I would say if you can afford to stay in downtown Seattle it is by far the best area to stay for Bumbershoot.  You will either be able to walk to Bumbershoot or hop on a very brief bus ride to the festival.  You will also have plenty to do in the hours you aren’t at Bumbershoot.

What are the rules for Bumbershoot?

      • No outside beverages are allowed except for one factory-sealed water bottle (20 ounces max) per person.
      • No alcohol/drugs allowed in, no glass bottles, no cans, no flasks.
      • No pets, but service animals are allowed.
      • No spiked jewelry and large chains.
      • No totems, signs, poles, flags or anything used to display anything above the head
      • No selfie sticks.
      • No tents, chairs, coolers or ice chests.
      • No wagons, carts or bikes on festival grounds.
      • No fireworks, drones, glow sticks, laser pointers, spray paint, stickers, air horns, hula hoops or dust masks.

How should I get to Bumbershoot?

You of course can drive to Bumbershoot, but I would suggest you avoid this if you can.  As I mentioned, Seattle is extremely busy for Labor Day weekend when Bumbershoot is going on – expect lots of traffic and overpriced parking spots. However, if you really do what to drive to Bumbershoot you should try to grab a parking spot early in the day.  You can find a list of all the parking spots near the Seattle Center here.

If you aren’t going to drive there are a few options for getting to Bumbershoot.  You can take the Link Light Rail, which has stops from downtown to near the airport.  The Link Light Rail will cost you under $4 each way regardless of where you are taking it.  It has a stop at 3rd & Vine which is only a seven minute walk from the Seattle Center and Bumbershoot.  There are also bus options to get to Bumbershoot.  If you are staying in downtown Seattle for Bumbershoot you can take the 99 Bus to within a few minute walk to Bumbershoot.  You can see all of the bus options for getting to Bumbershoot here

A final suggested option for getting to Bumbershoot is to ride a bike.  Parking is available near the Space Needle lawn, which is right next to Bumbershoot.  You are responsible for bringing your own lock so be sure to do so.  One other friendly reminder is to remember where you park your bike! A lot of people will be riding their bikes to Bumbershoot and it’s easy to lose your bike in the massive hoard of bicycles.

What hours does Bumbershoot operate?

Gates for Bumbershoot open at 1:30 p.m. everyday and the festival goes until 11 p.m. at night.  You may leave and re-enter the festival until 8:30 p.m.  Starting at 8:30 you will not be able to return to the festival if you leave, so be sure you are done for the day if you leave Bumbershoot!

What’s the weather like for Bumbershoot?

September is one of the nicest times of the year in Seattle.  Typically the highs will be in the high-60s to low-70s, although somedays it can still get into the 80s.  The nights are much cooler and usually dips into the 50s.  Obviously Seattle is known for the rain so always be prepared for that as a possibility.

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