Bumbershoot started off as a free festival in 1971.
Bumbershoot wasn’t always so expensive, and didn’t have the same name when it started.
It all started off with the name Festival ’71 — also known as the Mayor’s Arts Festival –– and was free to the public, except for an indoor motorcycle race and a performance by the Retina Circus, according to a preview article on Aug. 12, 1971, in the Seattle Times. The festival featured 150 exhibits and events.
A photographer described the festival like this:
“Rock groups — sponsored by the City of Seattle Youth Division — pulled 500 to 2,000 persons to the grass in front of the Food Circus. At times, it looked like an ad hoc rock festival.”
A day later, a Times article said an estimated 120,000 people attended the festival at the Seattle Center, the largest crowd since the 1962 World’s Fair.
Learn more about the festival’s history and about how Bumbershoot has continued.
See more throwback photos here.