Friday on My Mind: Bumbershoot 2014

It’s time again for Friday on My Mind. Our weekly blog post where we look at videos centered around one common theme. This is a collaborative effort between KEXP and King 5 News.

It’s time for Bumbershoot, Seattle’s premiere music and arts festival. The fest is set to take over Seattle Center for three days jam packed with awesomeness. This year in particular, Bumbershoot seems to have put together one of the strongest line ups to date. There are some great and well thought out changes in store for festival goers this year too. For those who weren’t a fan of being corralled into Key Arena for main stage shows, you’ll be glad to know the biggest acts have been moved back out to Memorial Stadium. They’ve even added a second “end zone” stage there to play between massive acts like Elvis Costello and The Wu Tang Clan. And apparently fans won’t have to mess with separate main stage tickets or hours long lines this year. It all spells good things for both people who don’t go to Bumbershoot JUST to go to the main stage acts and for those that do plan to camp out out for big acts for hours.

But if you are going to Bumbershoot just for the main stage, you’re missing out. Seriously, this is by far the most varied festival in our region, with bands new and old, big and small, not to mention endless comedy, arts, and lecture offerings. Don’t go attached to just one or two bands you have to see. Allow yourself to go with the flow and be introduced to what might be your next favorite artist. If you haven’t been to Bumbershoot before, arm yourself with a bit of research beforehand. Read up on the bands, study the layout of stages, and keep an ear out for special happenings. We here at KEXP notice that nearly every act at Bumbershoot gets love at the station. We pride ourselves in giving all bands, big and small, a chance to be heard and it looks like Bumbershoot is doing this even more so this year.

For me, over the years one of the coolest things about Bumbershoot is the relationship that the festival has developed with us here at KEXP. For the past several years we’ve hosted the Bumbershoot Music Lounge, a secret stage at an undisclosed location. These small, intimate shows are the only place at the whole festival where everyone shuts up, puts away their cell phones, and just listens to the magic unfold. Even if you didn’t score spots from us for these secret shows, you can still enjoy each and every one of the performances broadcast live on KEXP throughout the three days. Also consider stopping by the KEXP information tent to see if any people are no shows for the performances, and you may still have a chance to get in on Music Lounge action. Who lost track of time or forgot what they were supposed to do. So, as we celebrate Bumbershoot and a fabulous last hurrah of summer, I want to highlight some of the bands we’ll be hosting on our secret stage.

The Both – Volunteers of America

The Both might be one of those bands you haven’t heard of yet. They only formed in 2013, and their self-titled debut came out this past April. But this duo, which consists of Ted Leo and Aimee Mann, have a lot of experience behind them. Each has had a long musical career leading up to this collaboration. Expect some humorous stage banter from these two. They were just on the Morning Show not too long ago and beyond the music the amazing music they create, the banter between them is also well worth listening to and seeing.

The Head and the Heart – Summertime

Seattle indie folk darlings The Head And The Heart have had a number of hits during their short career. Signed to local label Sub Pop, their sophomore album Let’s Be Still came out in October of last year. Known for their beautiful harmonies and heartfelt lyrics this band has been family since we debuted their music a few years back and we couldn’t be more happy to host them again.

Nada Surf – Popular

Nada Surf are old friends of the station. They’ve been on our airwaves a whoppin nine times, which makes them a contender for most performances on the station by a band. The record for a solo artist is Robyn Hitchcock, followed by John Doe, and young upstart Joseph Arthur. besides the nine Nada Surf visits, lead singer Matthew Caws has also been by the station with John Roderick and Jesse Sykes. And yet again with Juliana Hatfield as Minor Alps. So at the end of the day, I’m pretty sure Matthew Caws is the winner of “Mr. KEXP”.

Honorable Mentions:

The first two spots on our honorable mentions list go to local bands who will also be gracing our secret stage.

The Lonely Forest – Turn Off This Song and Go Outside

Final Lonely Forest show! I’m happy for them to be going out on their own terms. I’m sad for us because they won’t be making music together anymore.

Rose Windows – There Is A Light

“There Is a Light” from Rose Windows’ June 10th, 2014 7″ record

Next in our honorable mentions, we move on to some of the awesome main stage offerings at Bumbershoot.

Wu Tang Clan – C.R.E.A.M.


Elvis Costello – Pump It Up

The Replacements – Alex Chilton

Paul Westerberg’s iconic song praising the man himself, Alex Chilton (Box Tops, Big Star). Available on “Pleased to Meet Me”. Chilton passed away in 2010. Big Star’s Third will be performed in its entirety at Bumbershoot, with a big cast of guest stars.

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