At the turn of the 21st century, Seattle had nowhere near the amount of outdoor music-festival options that it does now. Sasquatch was still just a mythical creature, Capitol Hill's Block Party was in its toddlerhood, and REVERB, the Weekly's all-local music festival, wasn't even a zygote. South Lake Union was still filled with light industry, and Marymoor Park was mainly known for its Velodrome. With mainstage acts like Sheryl Crow, Jason Mraz, the Black Eyed Peas, Michael Franti, Modest Mouse, and the Old 97's, no one will accuse this year's Bumbershoot of still occupying its once-lofty space in the musical vanguard. But taking smaller stages and eclecticism into account, it's still about as dynamic a three-day fest as fests get. And even if the lineup strikes us as a bit 2003, Bumbershoot is worthy of an extra measure of accommodation. Without it, its smaller, hipper progeny wouldn't have had a path toward success. Hell, they wouldn't even have found the trailhead. But trust us, there's still plenty to like. Here's our guide to the best.
Special Section: SW's Guide to Bumbershoot 2009 + live festival coverage.