Bumbershoot has a new producer with big plans beyond Labor Day weekend

Michael Rietmulder, The Seattle Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Bumbershoot was most recently produced by AEG, the global concert industry power that also runs the Showbox. AEG stepped in for longtime producer One Reel, which retained some involvement, after the festival accumulated $900,000 in debt. The company's five-year deal ended after a 2019 event marred by a barricade collapse that sent four people to the hospital. Two months later, AEG declared it would not renew its contract.

Another core element to New Rising Sun's plan is "lowering ticket prices massively," said Severin. That should be music to the ears of critics who have long grumbled about the rising cost of admission (city subsidies kept prices down for years). While they still plan to book some bigger names, don't expect "giant headliners" that can make or break a festival.

"We want it to be more about the event and not just a show," Severin said. "We don't want you to come because you only love the headliner. We want you to come because we're going to create an experience that you want to be part of it."

In order to really keep ticket prices down, Severin — who became an unlikely fundraiser during the pandemic working to keep music venues afloat — is seeking subsidies from the city, state and county, as well as corporate and philanthropic donations. "That's the only way this works," he said. "Otherwise we're doing $125 tickets like they were before."

(Nellams said "the city has not made any promises about what it could or would do.")


While the look and feel of Bumbershoot has changed over the years, there's been at least one constant in the festival's recent history. No matter how the lineup looks each year, Seattleites are guaranteed to have opinions about it.

"I'm putting on my armor a little bit, so I can take the stabs," Severin joked.

Maybe some things never change.

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