After a four-year hiatus, long-running Seattle music festival Bumbershoot will return this Labor Day weekend — with help from e-commerce giant Amazon.
As announced Tuesday (Feb. 21) by new Bumbershoot producer New Rising Sun, the festival will return for its 50th edition on Sept. 2-3, 2023, and Amazon has agreed to underwrite presale tickets for this year’s edition to keep it affordable. The e-retailer will sponsor a special early bird $50 single-day ticket and $85 two-day general admission ticket — prices that are 50% lower than when the event was last held in 2019. Amazon has also announced plans to work with arts organization Third Stone to give out 5,000 tickets to area non-profits and community organizations.
First launched in 1971, Bumbershoot faced a double whammy in recent years thanks to declining ticket sales and attendance in the 2010s followed by three years of closure due to the pandemic.
Bumbershoot was previously produced by AEG Presents, which had agreed to produce the festival with Seattle non-profit festival production company One Reel beginning in 2014 to help cover the $1 million in debt One Reel had racked up and restore the event’s financial footing. In 2019, AEG Pacific Northwest vp Rob Thomas announced the company was not renewing its agreement, hinting at financial differences with One Reel. That same year, a barricade collapse at Bumbershoot injured four attendees.
One Reel executives announced plans to stage the festival in 2020, only to be stymied by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, host venue the Seattle Center put out a new request for proposals for the event, with the winning bid going to New Rising Sun, a collective founded by Neumos co-owner Steven Severin, who now serves as Bumbershoot’s co-president & director of music programming; Vital 5 Productions founder Greg Lundgren, who serves as curator; and McCaw Hall general manager Joe Paganelli, who serves as producer.
“We heard from our community and took action — fulfilling our promise of affordability and inclusivity,” Severin said in a statement to Billboard. “When re-imagining our festival for this return, we examined everything through an arts lens and expanded upon what art is and can be. We look forward to sharing our vision this Labor Day weekend.”
“As ticket prices steadily climb for concerts and events around the globe, we’re excited to support reduced and free ticket prices, creating opportunity for more of our community to enjoy the diversity of Seattle’s creative ecosystem, participate in Bumbershoot’s exciting education programs, and immerse themselves in the arts,” added Amazon senior vp/general counsel/secretary David Zapolsky.
Tickets go on sale Friday (Feb. 24) at 10:00 a.m. PT via bumbershoot.com. Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance as they are expected to sell quickly. A performer lineup will be announced at a later date.
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