Seattle Center: As Seen by Its Employees

People-watching, snowcones, and why it really sucks when you plug up the toilets.

Ever look at event staff and think they're lucky because they get paid to see all those great concerts and hang out backstage? Think again. SW caught up with buskers and Seattle Center employees to get the inside scoop on Bumbershoot from the folks who hold it together. Bryan Lee: Employee of Scoops ConcessionsHow's the crowd at Bumbershoot? Do they go wild for your snowcones?I've worked here for a little more than a year, and the crowds definitely are a little wilder at Bumbershoot.What's the most memorable performance you saw last year while working Bumbershoot?I remember seeing the awesome Wu-Tang Clan show. But I only had 15 minutes because we're so busy, and it was during my break. I'm a fan of the Clan, though.Any tips for the food lovers at Bumbershoot?If you want to get cotton candy, ours at Scoops is a little more expensive, but you get a whole lot more for it.*****Suat Eygi: Rice-writing artist, buskerHow do you write things on a tiny grain of rice?In my home country, Turkey, I was an air-traffic controller, and I worked with very tiny electric circuits. Writing on the rice came easily after that. I've written things like "Rumpelstiltskin" or "supercalifragilistic."What's the longest/weirdest word you've written on rice during Bumbershoot?Last year, I did "Fergalicious." I can't remember other years. I've been here for seven Bumbershoots.What do you do during Bumbershoot when you're not working?I watch the music from right here, but I keep pretty busy. It's fun to watch the people because there's such a difference between the types at different festivals. Sometimes people are dancing very crazily, and that's the best.*****P.J. Prim: Saxophonist, buskerHow long have you been playing the saxophone during Bumbershoot?Around 12 years now.Have times changed since you started?It's gotten a lot more crowded. And there are a lot more street performers out for Bumbershoot, so the competition is intense. But I don't have time to scope out the competition. It doesn't bother me.Do you compete with the event's performers for crowds?Nah, usually people are just walking by. And sometimes I actually play along with what I can hear in the background.*****Daniel Nelson: Games Agent for Seattle CenterHow many Bumbershoots have you seen in your time at Seattle Center?I've worked through two Bumbershoots already. This is a pretty cool summer job.Any memorable moments?When Kanye West played the mainstage at last year's Bumbershoot, the passes ran out really quickly. People were so desperate that my supervisor hustled his off two for 80 bucks. Normally they're free! Oh, I've also seen girls walking around in pasties—and nothing but pasties.*****Susan Roberts: Sketch artist, buskerSusan, how long have you been working during Bumbershoot?I think I've done 25 years of Bumbershoot.Wow, that's a long time. Any great memories?The first Bumbershoot I ever did, Jimmy Buffett was here, and the festival was free. I didn't work that hard back in those days—back in '76—so I got to see a few performances. Jimmy Buffett was really, really cool...That wild piano guy, Keith Jarrett, played too. I remember he stood up and pointed at someone who was talking in the audience. He told them to shut up.*****Kevin Case: Seattle Center custodianHow many Bumbershoots have you worked?This will be my fourth Bumbershoot. I wish it was my last.Why so negative? Is Bumbershoot that bad?It's hell. It's always hell in the Center House during Bumbershoot. Crowds all over, rest rooms backed up, trash cans overflowing!But doesn't seeing free live music make the hard work better?Well, on my designated break times I'll go wander around, but I'm too busy otherwise.If the bathrooms are so busy, where is the best top-secret place to relieve oneself during Bumbershoot?Definitely the third-floor rest room of the Center House.music@seattleweekly.com

 
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