Seattle Center, Seattle, WA
09.01.17 – 09.03.17
Undoubtedly the most highly anticipated festival in the city every year, Bumbershoot is like Seattle’s own little PNW Coachella, if you will. And while we may not have photogenic carnival rides or a dry desert space to host everyone, #SeattlesFestival takes place right in the heart of downtown, letting you get lost in some of the most notable places while seeing some of the best live music of the year.
With a massive lineup that spans six stages–not including the spaces dedicated to other arts features–and three days, it’s impossible to see everything. On the same note, it would take quite a large character count to review the whole weekend for a single article, so in honor of back to school season, we bring you our Bumbershoot superlatives.
Best Dressed: J GRGRY
Bumbershoot may not go quite as hard as Coachella in terms of fashion statements, but there are always a few people that take it to the next level, J GRGRY is one of them. Sporting DIY one-legged jeans and beautifully done body paint and makeup on the rest of his body, he honestly could’ve been one of the art displays at the festival rather than a singer. However, his musical performance was entirely stunning in its own way, a perfect local act to get the weekend rolling.
Life of the Party + Sweatiest: Lil Yachty
Lil Yachty’s set was honestly just a huge party. After “iSpy,” his track with Kyle, made such a big splash, you can only imagine the hype building up to this performance. And while Lil Boat’s set exceeded expectations, it was also at an outdoor venue during a very humid high-80’s afternoon—are you really covered in your sweat? Or maybe it was just the water bottles he kept throwing at the loving fans.
Most Badass: PVRIS
You make way for them in the hallways and wish you could be as cool as them. PVRIS rock the all black attire and in-your-face attitude of a classic hard rock band. They delivered on it with their live performance, standing out from a pop-filled lineup, and singer Lynn Gvnn looked like she was having a blast.
Biggest Dreamer: Lorde
Lorde’s set was so talented and unique, it made a great day two headliner. Not only does this young artist have an incredible singing voice, she’s also got great choreography to go along with it and the cutest personality to ever thank a crowd (with a New Zealand accent).
Biggest Heartbreaker: LANY
LANY’s the biggest heartbreaker in two way: looks and sound. First, their hazy dream-pop vibe floats you along with their sometimes-crushing lyrics. The band’s performance packed in a huge crowd of drooling teenage girls who watched with googly eyes as lead singer (and former model) Paul Klein danced around singing about love.
Biggest Flirt: Big Sean
Pretty much everyone I talked to before going to Bumbershoot listed Big Sean as one of their ‘must-sees’ for the weekend, which definitely shocked me a little at first. His performance turned out to be a great fit for the festival though. Our biggest flirt of the weekend grooved around his Main Stage platform with smooth hip hop and R&B jams, surely winning over the hearts of many adoring fans Friday afternoon.
Most Unforgettable: Flume
Flume closed out day one as one of the most memorable acts of the festival. The electronic musician took everyone on a wild trip with an aesthetic you could both see and hear. Before his performance, a brightly colored tapestry–printed with a watery, marbled, floral pattern–was draped across the stage, enveloping the crowd in visual stimulus, especially if you were lucky (and brave) enough to make it to the front. And for the rest of his set, Flume’s summery sounds and funky beats kept everyone dancing nonstop.
Most Random: Flo Rida
But not in a bad way. It seemed as if festival-goers were pretty divided on Flo Rida: people were either super hyped to see him, or ready to run as far away as possible. While at first glance he might have seemed an odd choice for the lineup, the Bumbershoot bookers hit the nail on the head. A sizeable crowd was treated to high energy, champagne showers, and all the hits.
Best Hair: Big Wild
I would sell an arm and leg to see this guy and his hair every time he comes to Seattle. He seems to have the perfect ear, making mixes that never take a bad dip, and have some of the most fun shifts and developments you’ll ever dance to. All his wonderful music and you get to watch his shoulder-length hair bounce around, what more could you want?
Most Likely to Brighten Someone’s Day: Honne
Dreamy soft-pop is great to brighten any day, but any day spent shouting along to “Warm on a Cold Night” is a pretty good time. Honne crushed their set with huge smiles and fun songs for a great afternoon set.
Biggest Overachiever: Dillon Francis
Sometimes the title of “overachiever” comes with a negative connotation, however in Dillon Francis’ case, it really shouldn’t. He went all out with his light show, lighting up Key Arena for the perfect party to shut down Saturday night.
Best Bromance: Louis the Child
The duo came on stage at KeyArena and got straight to work mixing some tracks for the packed venue. Their music would’ve been quite enough to make their performance a great one, but it’s always fun to watch performers do wild stuff like dance on top of their setup together, and take breaks to run out and crowd surf. These guys work really well together, making a set with both great music and a fun performance.
Best School Spirit: Odesza
Finally, to close out the weekend was the much-anticipated set of local heroes, Odesza. The duo might be out of school, but they were by far the most Seattle-proud act of the weekend. The set edged a little on the mellow side, and there was an extended break where they lost sound, but they brought plenty of fire to the crowd. Literally and figuratively. They put on a great set with plenty of special guests, including Leon Bridges and a drum line, winning over everyone from the front-row enthusiasts to the hula-hoopers in the back.
There were a lot of doubts in the air around Bumbershoot’s lineup this year, many thinking that it dropped the bar previous years had set so high. But frankly, any weekend at Bumbershoot is bound to be an incredible one. Bumbershoot has been around for years, but under new management the past couple, they’re proving that they can sustain an excellent reputation. With a killer weekend of fun music, it is now sadly time to wave goodbye to summer and start the Bumbershoot 2018 countdown.
Review by Lulu Dawson
Photos by Stephanie Dore