Viral Video: Back to Bumbershoot?

Can a charming, low-tech promo video entice us back to Seattle's pricey, corporatized, 43-year-old musical extravaganza?
Can a charming, low-tech promo video entice us back to Seattle's pricey, corporatized, 43-year-old musical extravaganza?

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?

For more Viral Video nuggets, go here.



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About the Authors & Contributors

Rustin Thompson

Rustin Thompson

Rustin Thompson is a filmmaker, film critic and indie radio deejay. He enjoys strong coffee, red wine, IPAs and his wife and grown children. He is comfortable with the fact he will never be rich, but grows petulant if he thinks too much about it.