Local music impresario Jon Kertzer has kept himself busy over the last decade pulling shifts at Microsoft, DJing KEXP's Best Ambiance show, and, most recently, collaborating with Sub Pop on the world-music imprint Next Ambiance. In the '70s and '80s, Kertzer held several leadership roles at Bumbershoot, sometimes booking the festival. Asked this week about the festival's decision to move the mainstage out of Memorial Stadium for KeyArena, and generally scaling back the fest, Kertzer says it makes sense.
"I never saw [Memorial Stadium] as the center of the festival anyway," he says. "There is no center of the festival. I see it as an experience. To me the best experience of the festival is always discovering new things."
Kertzer also pointed out that KeyArena--previously known as the Coliseum--housed Bumbershoot's mainstage for years. "I never really liked the stadium that much. I always really liked it in KeyArena."
Also of note:
1974: The first year the fest started booking national acts, they scored Ry Cooder. The mainstage was in the opera house, now gutted and rebuilt as McCaw Hall, the current home of Seattle Opera.
1987: Miles Davis played the mainstage in the Coliseum. He brought two bassists and packed the place. "Most of those shows in those days were pretty full," Kertzer says. "It was a different time, when the fest cost 5 or $10 to get in."
Other KeyArena/Coliseum mainstage acts Kertzer remembers: Ziggy Marley, k.d. lang & Dwight Yoakam, Chuck Berry, and Gregg Allman.