This zippy two-minute video might be the best piece of advertising ever for the venerable end-of-summer music fest, and it couldn’t be simpler. In a dizzying montage of half-second shots, a hand jabs into the frame and slaps a sticky label announcing a band onto any available surface. A light pole, a fence, a Pike Place market fish. In the background you can make out a few iconic Seattle locations, but for the most part you just want to see which artist and band are revealed next.
It’s absurdly lo-fi and charming and, thanks to the infectious, machine-gun hip hop soundtrack provided by Mexican Institute of Sound (the song is called “Revolución"), it’s worth viewing again and again. And it’s also a catchy alternative to rummaging through the online or printed Bumbershoot program.
The clip might also entice me back to the fest. The last time I visited Bumbershoot a few years ago it felt like I’d strolled into a convention designed to sell iced coffee and faux microbrews to Gen-Xers. Corporate logos were everywhere, the Memorial Stadium mainstage was closed and the beer garden at the mural amphitheater had been turned into a Starbucks lounge. If I hadn’t already hit my last bowl of White Widow I would have run screaming.
As it was I moped around the fringes of the overcrowded venues worrying about a lack of fire exits and silently whining about the money I’d wasted. The current price for a ticket has crept up to $66 per day or $175 for a basic 3-day pass, a steep climb for middle-class hipsters and young people stringing together minimum wage jobs.
But there is something about seeing the names of Wu-Tang Clan, Los Lobos, Nada Surf, Mission of Burma, Jonathan Richman and The Replacements slapped all over Seattle streets in a giddy plea for inclusiveness that makes me feel like I might be truly missing something if I don’t attend this year. Plus, who can pass up a chance to experience a band called Hobosexual?
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