The three-day festival has too many competing stages, too many bands, too many art booths and comedians and writers and actors crammed into its line-up.
The 43-year-old event takes over Seattle Center this Labor Day weekend, and while known for being an arts festival, the biggest draw in any given year is the music. Here are some of the biggest names coming this year.
Saturday features a reunited Wu-Tang Clan on the main stage, along with earlier sets by Elvis Costello and Panic! At the Disco. Side stages will welcome a diverse mix of acts, including Mavis Staples, the Afghan Whigs, Walk the Moon and Mac DeMarco.
Sunday keeps things rolling with alt-folk band — and Seattle natives — the Head and the Heart, along with the Replacements and Schoolboy Q on the main stage. Bootsy Collins, the Dismemberment Plan and Los Lobos will play elsewhere that day.
Finally, Monday wraps things up with sets by Foster the People, J. Cole and Capital Cities on the main stage, with Neon Trees, the Reverend Horton Heat, Nada Surf and Real Estate hitting side stages.
Tickets range from $71.24 for single-day passes to $186.20 for three-day passes at bumbershoot.org, where a full line-up and schedule is also available.
Bumbershoot isn't the only show coming through this weekend, though.
Also on Saturday, Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden will play a double bill, with the dual headliners coming to the White River Amphitheatre at 7 p.m.
Soundgarden remains Seattle favorites — the grunge group's live album, released in 2011, was called “Live on I-5.”
The hometown heroes have been riding high recently, marking the 20th anniversary of their biggest album, “Superunknown,” with a five-disc reissue. Expect to hear some of those classic tracks, along with a few off its comeback album, 2012's “King Animal.”
Nine Inch Nails, meanwhile, is the kind of cult act that can fill a stadium. The group's latest, “Hesitation Marks,” found frontman Trent Reznor in fine form, grabbing No. 3 on the Billboard 200. Still, expect the set to cater to longtime fans with past hits, including “Hurt” and “Head Like a Hole.”
Tickets are $38.50 to $117.30 at ticketmaster.com or 800-745-3000.
Dave Matthews Band also will return this Labor Day weekend for its annual three-day stand at the Gorge Amphitheatre, with shows starting at 3 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
The shows will act as mini-festivals styled on the group's 2011 DMB Caravan. Multiple stages will be set up, with other acts, including Brandi Carlile, set to play.
Tickets are $61.50 to $89.90 at ticketmaster.com or 800-745-3000.
Brand New, meanwhile, will headline the Showbox SoDo at 8 p.m. Sunday.
With roots in pop punk, the indie rock group has won a following with its high energy sound. That said, they are not the most productive act. The group's last album, “Daisy,” hit No. 6 on the Billboard 200, but also came out five years ago.
The group is reportedly working on new material, however, so fans probably will get a taste of some new tracks when at the Seattle show.
Tickets are $31 at showboxonline.com or 888-929-7849.
Finally, Swans will headline the Showbox at 9 p.m. Thursday.
The noise-rock group has experienced a big resurgence in recent years. Formed in 1982, it seemed the band was dead by the late 1990s. That didn't prove to be true, however.
The group reconvened in 2009 and has since been cranking out material. New albums this decade have included critically adored releases such as 2012's “The Seer,” and this year's double album, “To Be Kind,” the latter of which became the group's first album to land in the top 40.
Tickets are $25 at showboxonline.com or 888-929-7849.
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