With a month of silence on social media leading up to the announcement of a lineup, it’s only fair that expectations were tempered for this year’s Bumbershoot Festival. And while the annual Seattle music festival had a scaled-down feel, highlighted by rearranged stage layouts and the addition of the MoPop stage instead of the usual KEXP, it didn’t stop thousands of adoring fans from flocking to the grounds at Seattle Center and filling the Memorial Arena each night.
Of course, no festival would be complete without a few last minute hiccups. Lizzo cancelled her highly-anticipated performance due to illness, and Jai Wolf’s set was cut short when thousands of attendees at the Fisher Green stage surged forward and knocked down the barricade. Fortunately, Jai Wolf was slotted in on Sunday for a redemption set at an absolutely packed Memorial Arena, and Hippie Sabotage slid into Lizzo’s slot on Friday, bringing a rowdy show full of crowdsurfing and mesmerizing visuals to warm up the crowd for the evening’s headliner.
One of the most buzz-worthy performances of the weekend came from Tyler, The Creator on Friday night. Kicking off the North American leg of tour for his brilliant new album IGOR, he had the mostly teen and 20-something audience wrapped around his finger. It’s no small feat to keep a crowd on their toes by yourself, but Tyler delivered: donning a blonde wig and neon green suit, he commanded the crowd’s attention for the duration of his hour-plus set, playing mostly new tracks from IGOR but also delivering the hits, including “Yonkers.”
Carly Rae Jepsen brought relentless energy and pop perfection to the main stage on Saturday afternoon. Opening track “Run Away With Me” had the entire crowd jumping, dancing and singing along with her, and the enthusiasm never wavered. 2012 smash hit “Call Me Maybe” delivered the nostalgia, with people rushing the stage to scream all the words in unison.
With the Space Needle lit up and towering above the stage, fans were out in full force to see indie pop heartthrobs COIN close out the Mural stage on Saturday night. Opening up their set with 2018 single “Growing Pains,” they kept up their high-energy performance for their hour-long set.
Saturday indie-folk headliner The Lumineers seemed like an off-brand choice in comparison to Tyler, The Creator and Rezz, but they delivered a stunning set to a captive older audience that filled the floor and the stands at the main stage. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who wasn’t singing along to “Ho Hey,” mesmerized by frontman Wesley Schultz’ constant smiles and fervent energy.
Sunday brought blazing hot sunshine to the festival, and The Aces kicked off the day on the main stage, rocking out to a small but passionate crowd. Frontwoman Cristal Ramirez was all smiles, belting out lyrics and dancing across the stage in the sun. Ending their set with 2016 hit “Stuck,” they left the crowd wanting more.
The passion and intensity of Reignwolf’s set went unmatched this weekend, and might have been the highlight of the entire festival. Band in tow, frontman Jordan Cook delivered a rowdy set thrashing across the Fisher Green stage. When he eventually brought his kick drum and guitar into the crowd for a song, the crowd surrounded him, clapping along and hanging on to every word.
With a growing crowd full of disorderly teenagers jumping and moshing at Memorial Arena, DJ duo Louis The Child delivered a hard-hitting set to warm up the stage for headliner Rezz. With an array of sparklers, pyro, and stunning visuals, Rezz’s set was filled with familiar tracks as well as new unreleased mixes. Capped off with a fireworks display, it was the perfect way to send off another excellent year in Seattle at Bumbershoot Festival.