Bumbershoot 2016 Preview

As thousands prepare to flock to Seattle’s forty-sixth annual Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival this Labor Day weekend, we bring you our Bumbershoot Must List. From must-see bands to must-do activities, here’s a run-down of our ‘Shoot favorites. If you’re going (and we highly recommend you do, as there’s some pretty awesome stuff going on this year), this is also probably where you’ll find us.

Must #1: Love on Some Locals

Expanding their partnership and celebrating their new home on Seattle Center grounds, local listener-powered radio station 90.3 KEXP is curating their own stage full of phenomenal new, local musicians. These are the up-and-comers that shouldn’t be missed, and trust us, your street cred will grow exponentially if you can say you saw them before they blew up. Plus this saves room on must #7 because all of them are on our list. Here’s the rundown:

September 2: Snuff Redux, Fly Moon Royalty, DoNormaal, Chastity Belt

September 3: Ponytime, Manatee Commune, Lemolo, Dude York

September 4: Lisa Prank, Thunderpussy, Erik Blood, Deep Sea Diver

Must #2: The Ultimate Gallery Wall

Forever striving for that Pinterest-worthy, perfectly disorganized look? Presented by the American Poster Institute (API), Bumbershoot, and KEXP, Flatstock brings together some of the best gig poster artists in the game. There is some truly exquisite artwork to be seen, often featuring limited edition pieces, plus you get to meet the artists who created it. Their limited-edition screen prints will do your inflated-rent-walls justice. Bring your wallets, as we’ve never left empty-handed.

Preview the artists here.

Must #3: The Edibles

Don’t get us wrong, we have a deep appreciation for fair food. Delectable deep-fried goodness? Chocolate-dipped surprises? Everything on a stick? We’re right there with you. But new food program “B-EATs” produced by restauranteur Dan Bugge of Matt’s in the Market and Radiator Whiskey is making our stomachs growl in anticipation. With a mix of other local restaurants and chefs participating, this special tent will feature – what we can only assume will be – AMAZING, unique options for the foodies among us that want to step up their culinary experience. We’re just hoping this brings with it a whiskey-garden? Nudge, nudge.

Must #4: Brainpower is sexy, ya’ll

Sure, hunting down the hottest bands is cool, but dig a bit further under The ‘Shoot’s hood and you’ve got a whole host of Words & Ideas offerings to explore. For instance, the writer’s of Amazon’s Emmy and Golden Globe-winning series Transparent will be there delving into the process of what it takes to write compelling television. And then there’s “Why This? Why That? Why Now?,” guest-hosted by local comedy guru Emmett Montgomery. Now in its seventh year, this bit of programming slaps together two trending topics for some cultural brain-expansion. The concept alone is an intriguing premise, and with topics like “Why memes? Why internet dating?” it’s hard to resist.

Must #5: Laughter

Undateable cast member, record-holder for the most wins on Comedy Central’s @midnight, and all-around teddy-bear Ron Funches has two time slots on the lineup, both of which, we’re guessing, will be packed to the rafters. Queers: We’re Hilarious promises collective goofiness, outfit inspiration, and freedom from long words like heteronormativity. And FEELINGS brings satirical feminism to the forefront with yoga pants, dessert, and a buoyant dose of reality. Because laughter is still the best medicine.

Must #6: Protect Their Ears

Now, we don’t have any offspring of our own, but don’t yours deserve a break from the subwoofers? Reward their musical patience with a trip to the Seattle Children’s Museum’s Youngershoot Zone, where some hands-on exploration and arts-based activities and performances will keep everyone happy. And be honest, you know you want to play too.

Must #7: Tune In

We won’t presume to know your musical preferences, and there sure is something for everyone this year on the three-day lineup, but here’s a few we’d personally recommend.

Anderson .Paak and The Free Nationals: Paak has the music industry all abuzz lately, with his constant stream of releases blending hip hop, R&B, soul, funk, and EDM into a smoldering combo perfectly tuned for today’s genre-defying listener.

Billy Idol: One of the few throwback artists on this year’s schedule, Idol’s vibe is a forbear to all the other new electro-pop-rock artists out there. With both iconic tracks and newer material, he’s bound to be an unforgettable show. Educate yourself and show up to dance.

Flatbush Zombies: Despite the fact that their debut album, 3001: A Laced Odyssey, just came out this year, these three emcees have DIEHARD fans, and their live show is so much larger than life that even if you don’t know a single track, they’ll suck you in with their outsized performance.

G-Eazy: Bring extra bras.

Iska Dhaaf: this Brookyn-via-Seattle duo makes deeply exploratory, nuanced tracks that push the boundaries of pop to new places. Whether it’s a down-tempo, dreamily textured narrative or a hip hop laced space-rock spin, their live show draws the crowd in with indisputable tentacles.

Joywave: Get uber-meta with this Rochester, NY quintet as they explore concept-pop with irreverent dance moves. We’ve seen them several times, and not once been disappointed. Plus Daniel Armbruster is rocking a mustache as ironic/iconic as Kris Orwlowski’s and we’re hoping there’s some kind of bet we can get in on there.

Reggie Watts: If there’s one off-the-cuff performer not to miss, Watts is it. Blurring the lines of music and comedy, this fascinating artist has more accolades than we can count, and yet every performance is completely original. We can’t wait.

Run the Jewels: Critically acclaimed, the rap duo of El-P and Killer Mike puts together notoriously explosive, boundlessly energetic sets. It might be difficult not to lose your mind, so be prepared for them to deliver a gnarly ride that doesn’t shy from political controversy or bounce-worthy mosh pits.

TOKiMONSTA: This LA DJ/producer – née Jennifer Lee – drops beats that blow minds. At times it’s downright dirty, at all times, people are dancing. She’s reached worldwide acclaim, and LA Weekly has named her LA’s best female DJ. With an explosion of EDM and producers on the festival circuit, there’s certainly no shortage, but she’s one we’ll be sure to catch.