Seattle has an arts festival very similar to Austin City Limits (ACL) called Bumbershoot that we attended this past Monday with Aunt BB. In my humble opinion Bumbershoot is better than ACL. The major difference between the two is that while ACL has an amazing line up of musicians with many stages and styles of music to choose from, Bumbershoot doesn’t stop with the music but extends it’s doors to almost all forms of performing art. There are about 5 stages of music, but the fun doesn’t stop there, 4 other stages are devoted to other types of performing arts such as comedy, film, monologues, and dancing for this weekend long event. Another major difference was the venue. The day Kyle and I attended ACL was the hottest weekend of the summer, and the sun bore down on us with no reprieve. Water fountains had hour long lines since no water stations were provided. Trees were the only shelter because the venue was in Zilker Park, entirely outside and heat stroke was a serious danger. Bumbershoot had many indoor stages along with the outdoor stages. If the 67 degree heat was too much for any of the Seattleites unaccustomed to the sun, shelter could be found. We began our day, satisfying our growling stomachs with a plate of cilantro salmon on rice, (not your typical carnival food.) We explored the park grounds, admiring Keniche’s architectural designs found on the grounds, the first being a metal dome shooting out streams of water called the International Fountain. Vendors lined the sidewalks with everything from “caveman jewelry for the modern men and women,” to very fashionable pasties. We abstained from buying the fascinating goodies, however much we wanted them, (we are on a budget you know.) We were grateful for the grassy knoll to rest our rumps while listening to a new form of music branded “country noir,” called Mark Pickerel & His Praying Hands. Our next activity was the comedy show featuring the author of “He’s just not that into you.” BB had requested that we see a specific feature at the movie stage, but by the time we arrived, the show was full. We wandered around some, catching the last song of Mariee Sioux, a Indie folk singer who sang a song about blood and flowers (I can't pander a guess as to what that was about.) The next movie showing was called True Stories and we chose it just for filling a time gap. As we sat in the theater, BB asked the name of the show again. We knew nothing of what we were about to see. Three documentaries that can only be described as bizarre, or as bizarro as my mom likes to say, followed. The first film was a French documentary about women and breast cancer. Pictures of naked women floating through the water was the main visual for the entire thirty minutes. The next documentary was all of five minutes and included a grumpy old German man and his giant rabbits. The third and final documentary was the only film in English, named Certain Green, but was no less weird than the ones before it. An old woman continuously talked about a certain green that she saw once but could never find again. In all honesty I have not idea what it was about, and I am not sure the writer and director did either. The highlight of our evening was listening to “Old 97's” a band I recently heard interviewed on NPR. We downloaded some of their music and we were delighted to discover that they were playing at this festival. We sat on the grass, but the music was contagious and made it impossible not to dance, even if only bobbing with one’s head. The day was a fabulous success! Too bad we don’t live in Seattle and can’t make Bumbershoot a yearly event.
(Sorry there are no pictures to go with this post, bumbershoot did not allow cameras with recording devices on the fair grounds, although once inside we saw several people with cameras, but we played it safe.)
p.s. You can check out the bands by clicking on the links and some of them have sample songs as well.
The International Fountain by: Keniche's firm http://www.nakanoassociates.com/