seattlemonorail.jpg
Megan Ching - Seattle Monorail Services
One of Bumbershoot 's greatest attributes is that the festival takes place right in the middle of Seattle. Unlike

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A Professional's Guide to Bumbershoot Preparation

seattlemonorail.jpg
Megan Ching - Seattle Monorail Services
One of Bumbershoot's greatest attributes is that the festival takes place right in the middle of Seattle. Unlike Coachella or Sasquatch, which usher crowds out to the boonies for a weekend of rock & roll isolation, Bumbershoot's locale means that planning isn't as crucial since patrons are within striking distance of supermarkets, pharmacies and restaurants. Regardless, there are still plenty of tips and tricks for making your Bumbershoot experience as enjoyable as possible.

For guidance, we turned to Bumbershoot veteran Mark Horowitz, a Fremont resident, who has been attending the festival since 1982, and who counts Ornette Colman, The Magnetic Fields and Shabazz Palaces among his favorite sets over the years. Horowitz starts his yearly planning by checking out the Bumbershoot schedule and mapping out the "anchor" acts he wants to see, making sure to leave time for wandering the festival grounds in search of lesser-known talent as well. "I always love the miscellaneous acts that are over by the International Fountain," he said. "Cyclecide, all the circus performers, even the endless drum circles." You can download the Bumbshoot iPhone app to help you find your anchor acts.

Once you've figured what you want to see, you need to figure out how you're going to get there. Horowitz says he buses to the festival most years since parking around the Seattle Center is expensive and limited. If you want to avoid the crowds on buses bound for Queen Anne, head downtown instead and take a five-minute monorail ride into the Seattle Center. If you must drive, arrive as early as possible and head into the neighborhoods to the east of Queen Anne for the best shot at scoring a street spot. Saturday is the trickiest day to park since meter restrictions exist on that day that don't on Sundays and holidays. If public transportation isn't a possibility, consider taking a taxi. If you live in the city, the cost of taking a cab isn't likely to be much more expensive than what you'd pay for parking anyway, and you'll get dropped off right at the entrance, saving yourself a long walk to and from the car.

For the festival itself, Horowitz packs light, bringing water, sunscreen and a sweatshirt for the evenings, as well as a pair of binoculars. Bringing a refillable water bottle is key as well. With ample locations at which to fill it, there's no reason to pay inflated water prices within festival grounds. Food-wise, many festivalgoers pack their own lunches and snacks, but there are plenty of decent food options should you not want to carry so much with you. Horowitz says the East African and Filipino booths within the festival are particularly good as well as the Bluwater Taco Grill, Chutney's and the free samples at Metropolitan Market for those hoping to feed themselves outside festival grounds.

Got any other tips? Leave 'em in the comments.

 
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