One Reel, the nonprofit group that operates Bumbershoot, has announced the first details for this year’s version of the annual Labor Day weekend festival, and they include lower ticket prices, new partners, and venue changes within Seattle Center.
The changes come after last year’s Bumbershoot ended up not as profitable as expected, resulting in One Reel laying off eight of its 14 employees. Although the nonprofit booked Bob Dylan to headline one night in 2010, attendance dropped to an average of 35,000 people per day for the three-day event, from roughly 50,000 in previous years.
One Reel blamed poor weather and a new, tiered ticketing system. Tickets last year cost more for mainstage artists than general-admission tickets. This year there will be one set ticket price, and the mainstage will be first-come, first-served for seating.
After a limited number of "BumberFan Club" tickets are gone, tickets will be made available to the general public at $90 for a three-day pass. Single-day tickets will go on sale after the Bumbershoot lineup is announced later this spring, for $35 in advance or $45 at the gate. Fan-club members get early access and discounts for tickets; three-day passes for $75 and single-day passes for $29 are available now. You can join the club for free by clicking here. One Reel did not disclose the number of tickets being made available to Bumberclub members.
The change in ticketing was expected after last year’s failed ticketing experiment. More surprising was a decision to move this year's mainstage back to the 14,000-capacity KeyArena, from the 22,000-capacity Memorial Stadium. While KeyArena is smaller, it provides Bumbershoot an indoor venue for mainstage performances. Also, as in years prior there will be two mainstage performances per day: one afternoon set featuring two acts and one evening performance with two acts. Last year there were only mainstage performances in the evening.Another change involves the programming at EMP's Sky Church. This year One Reel has partnered with Decibel Festival , which is known for spotlighting local, national, and international electronic artists.
One Reel also announced other venue changes, many of which are a result of broader changes at Seattle Center, including the opening of a new studio for KEXP radio station in 2013 and a Dale Chihuly glass museum in 2012. The Bumbershoot venue changes include the following:
- Music will return to Exhibition Hall and not be featured at Center Square, which was in front of EMP last year. The Chihuly museum is expected to open near the EMP in 2012.
- The visual arts exhibits will move from the Northwest Rooms to Seattle Center Pavilion and the adjacent courtyard. KEXP is expected to move into the Northwest Rooms in 2012.
- A stage on the north fountain lawn and another area (to be announced) will replace the Northwest Court and Broad Street lawn stages.
- The Bagley Wright Theatre has been added as a comedy venue and will showcase comedians along with Intiman Theatre.