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Seattle’s Bumbershoot Festival Secures New Local Producer

The New Rising Sun coalition has been chosen as Seattle Center's new production partner for the long-running event.

Seattle’s beloved Bumbershoot Arts & Culture festival has secured a new producer. Seattle Center – part of the Uptown Arts & Cultural District and home to Climate Pledge Arena – has selected the New Rising Sun coalition as its production partner to reimagine the local event.

New Rising Sun is a coalition of Seattle-based arts, entertainment and cultural leaders. The group was founded by Neumos co-owner Steven Severin, Museums of Museums founder Greg Lundgren and McCaw Hall general manager Joe Paganelli. The founders will be supported by a team of Seattle’s business and community leaders, activists, artists and entrepreneurs in their work to develop a reimagined Bumbershoot.

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“Seattle arts are kick-ass, and we’re so excited to be partnering with Seattle Center to re-imagine how Bumbershoot can serve Seattle and the Pacific Northwest,” said Severin in a release. “Our vision includes a focus on the festival’s original essential characteristics: an affordable, inclusive, and engaging arts and music spectacle designed to stimulate and delight with artistic excellence – all with a fresh and progressive focus on community engagement and participation.” 

New Rising Sun was unanimously chosen out of six proposals that were asked to maintain the “festival’s essential character of artistic and cultural excellence in ways which celebrate regional, national and international arts and entertainment.” In their proposals, prospective partners were also asked to outline how they wold help the festival – which usually occurs over Labor Day weekend – to have more of a “year-round presence.” 

Bumbershoot began in 1971 as a free arts festival owned by the city. In 1980, the production of Bumbershoot was taken over by One Reel, which eventually teamed up with promoter AEG to help underwrite the festival beginning in 2007, according to The Seattle Times. AEG remained involved with the festival until 2019. One Reel stepped down from producing the event after the 2019 edition.  

“Making Bumbershoot a celebration of Seattle arts was central to this decision. After nearly two years of COVID-19 related shutdowns, our artistic communities need and deserve the level of community engagement which New Rising Sun has proposed,” said Seattle Center advisory commissioner Brian Robinson in a release. “Seattle Center will work with our region’s brilliant artistic communities, philanthropic, and business partners to lead the revival of this iconic festival.” 

New Rising Sun proposes the transformation of Bumbershoot into a year-round, community and nationally-engaged arts and music events brand that will realign the festival with Seattle’s current identity, growth and direction. As a local nonprofit, New Rising Sun will work with fixtures in the community to showcase the region’s best art, food, film, comedy, music and performing arts. 

“As we look to come together as One Seattle, Bumbershoot means sharing artistic experiences that drive thoughtful and impactful conversations and supporting the next generation of Seattle musicians and artists with meaningful avenues to learn, collaborate, and showcase their work,” said Seattle mayor Bruce Harrell in a release. “I’m particularly excited by efforts to uplift and empower new voices from diverse and underserved communities through deliberate curation and mentorship.” 

While the new team leading the festival has been secured, the next edition of Bumbershoot has yet to be announced.