With Skrillex Headlining, Will 2012 Be The Year Bumbershoot Learns How To Rave?

Master chef Sonny Moore
Last year, Bumbershoot teamed up with Decibel Festival to launch Bumbershoot After Dark, an electronic after-party for Seattle's biggest music festival. But what should have been a proper rave was, at least by my highly subjective experience, kind of a flop. The Exhibition Hall was too brightly lit, the security seemingly outnumbered the audience (and was easily more zealous)--I think my exact words were: "a rave with all the vibe of a high-school dance held in a juvenile detention center." Presumably, some of this is unavoidable--festival security will always be festival security (and, you know, they're not the Hell's Angels or anything)--but today's line-up announcement contains at least a couple reasons to think that 2012 will be the year Bumbershoot learns how to rave.*

The big one is, of course, Skrillex. Love him or hate him, the fact is that Sonny Moore's Grammy-winning haircut (and "drops")--as well as a larger cultural shift that has even Madonna embarrassing herself with "molly" talk--will bring the kids out in sweaty, saucer-eyed droves.

Just as crucially, though, Bumbershoot and Decibel have worked out to include the After Dark party in the regular festival passes. Last year, the After Dark events were a separate admission, which ruled thousands of casual, curious, or just broke festival-goers out of checking them out. All other concerns aside, what made last year's attempt feel a bit weak was the turn-out, an Exhibition Hall half empty rather than surging with revelers. With After Dark included in the festival ticket, it should be a lot easier to fill that room up.

Stupidly, though, Skrillex closes out Bumbershoot on Monday, which makes it a school night and presumably means no After Dark afterwards (last year, Decibel's party happened only on Saturday and Sunday nights). Instead, Decibel gets the lingering crowds from, uh, Tony Bennett. They'll probably be about Madonna's age, right?

*And, yes, it should be noted that Bumbershoot has a long, if uneven history of booking electronic acts (although none with the kind of mass cultural shifting force of Skrillex)--so you could also say "the year Bumbershoot remembers how to rave" if you like.

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