Bumbershoot is no longer the biggest festival in the Northwest, but the event, in its 42nd year, is still the most important annual arts happening in town. Others, like Folklife, draw more people, but none encapsulate the Northwest and national zeitgeist quite as well as the 'Shoot. In five years, we may not look back fondly at the music of Gotye or Skrillex—just as we don't exactly pine for Bumbershoot Mainstage alums like Third Eye Blind or Everlast—but these bands are defining the pop-music narrative of the moment. Their appearances wouldn't have been as significant 12 months ago; good on Bumbershoot for catching them now. Bumbershoot is at its best when it pairs the oft-disposable sounds that people are talking about with a curated mix of music (Tony Bennett), arts (One Reel Film Fest), and conversations ("Remix, Plagarism, or Theft?") that are either important or exciting to stumble upon. Years ago, a real-estate agent in Moscow, Idaho, told me that "if you can't find something to do in this town, you're boring." Seattleites know they live in one of the nation's busiest touring hubs, and are spoiled cynical. Bumbershoot regulars know that they used to get to see Miles Davis and Beck for a fraction of this year's sticker price, and find it hard to believe that Bumbershoot is still a bargain. If you can't find something worth the price of admission, you may not be boring, but you certainly aren't looking hard enough. CHRIS KORNELIS

Sat., Sept. 1; Sun., Sept. 2; Mon., Sept. 3, 2012

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