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Adventures in Bumbershooting

Spark Public

Adventures in Bumbershooting

Paris Nguyen breaks down his weekend at Seattle’s Bumbershoot 2017

September 5, 2017

For me, Bumbershoot has always been about discovery. I like to wander off the beaten path and find something I’ve never experienced before. Bumbershoot 2017 was no exception. I made a list of my favorite discoveries from the festival. And perhaps, if you’re feeling adventurous, you’ll seek them out at different venues around Seattle and get to experience them too.

Silent Disco

DJs battle for the Silent Disco event at MoPOP during Bumbershoot 2017; Photo credit: Kevin Conner

Silent Disco was easily one of the brightest standouts at Bumbershoot 2017. The idea is that one or more DJs play music in front of a crowd inside MoPOP, but here’s the catch: The entire room is silent. Yeah. Everyone (DJs, audience, confused bystanders who got lost while looking for a restroom) wears wireless headphones, adjusts the volume to a desired level and rocks out to the beat. To the untrained eye, Silent Disco appears to be a dark, suspiciously quiet room filled with crazy people who are vigorously shaking their bodies to absolute silence. To participants, however, it’s euphoric. You need to try it when Silent Disco inevitably finds its way to a dim room near you.

(Watch video of Paris experiencing Silent Disco on our Facebook Page)


Cataldo live at the KEXP stage; Photo credit: Kevin Conner

Cataldo is a Seattle-based indie-pop band led by frontman Eric Anderson. The band was recently signed to Mooncrew Records, a new label that releases music exclusively made by employees of Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream. Yes, you read that right — there is an indie record label that is run by a local ice cream shop featuring its employees. Anderson is a manager at Molly Moon’s. I watched Cataldo play a set at the KEXP stage during Bumbershoot and they crushed it. With their smooth, “vaguely danceable” (as Anderson puts it) pop music, Cataldo is destined to become a major player in the Seattle music scene. Keep an eye on this band, because they just might become the coolest thing since, well, ice cream.

The Drunken Tenor

Robert Mcpherson,AKA The Drunken Tenor; Photo credit:

Robert McPherson is The Drunken Tenor. He’s also the self-described “lovechild of Jack Black and Pavarotti.” It’s an apt description. McPherson and his drunken cohorts performed twice during Bumbershoot weekend and were clear standouts at the festival. McPherson is genuinely charming and impressive in his performance as a loveably inebriated opera singer and his show is unlike anything I’ve seen. The Drunken Tenor has made an impression at both Fringe and Bumbershoot this year, so I suspect we’ll be seeing a lot more of McPherson and the gang. I’m looking forward to seeing him perform again soon.

(Watch video of Paris interviewing the Drunken Tenor on our Facebook Page)

Discovering how old cover songs can be transformed into something amazingly new

Weezer electrifies the crowd at Memorial Stadium during Bumbershoot 2017; Photo credit: Bumbershoot

Sometimes discovery can be in the form of a new take on something familiar. Case in point — when Weezer covered Outkast’s “Hey Ya” in front of thousands, everyone within a six-block radius collectively lost their minds. I’m still looking for my mind and I think I’d be content with never finding it again. It was an intensely magical experience. Lend me some sugar because I may be hypoglycemic after shaking it like a Polaroid picture for what seemed like hours.

The seas of people

Lorde, loving her day job; Photo credit: Bumbershoot.

Perhaps not a groundbreaking discovery but an essential part of Bumbershoot is cramming yourself into the center of a massive crowd during one of the festival’s headline performances. To accomplish this, I simply followed the eruption of screams coming from the fans anxiously awaiting the appearance of Lorde. Here, I discovered that a lot of Lorde’s fans are teenage girls and they are all noticeably stronger than I am. An hour before Lorde’s performance, Seattle Center’s Memorial Stadium had already transformed into the world’s largest can of sardines — sardines that were limbered up and ready to dance like there was no tomorrow, no yesterday, no linear progression of time. As soon as Lorde made her entrance, I was swept away by the ebbs and flows of the ocean of fans. It was beautiful in its rhythmic chaos.

Want to see more discoveries, festival highlights and photos? visit


Paris Nguyen

Paris Nguyen is Spark Public's entertainment writer/reporter. He is a writer and journalist who specializes in entertainment news. He graduated from the University of Washington in 2013, majoring in psychology and cinema studies. With a passion for all things film-related, Paris spends the majority of his free time exploring the expansive world of cinema. When not munching on popcorn in a dark theater, Paris enjoys cycling, rock climbing and feebly tossing a frisbee in the general direction of other humans. Paris grew up in Issaquah, Wash., where he developed a deep fondness for hiking and pronouncing the name of his hometown incorrectly.

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