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Bumbershoot 2010 replaces Exhibition Hall with outdoor stage, beer garden

Bumbershoot stage area

There’s been a lot of talk recently about what to do with the empty space on the Seattle Center grounds where the amusement rides and parlor games that made up the Fun Forest once lived. Proposals range from building a Dale Chihuly glass museum to making it a new space for KEXP.

Since a decision on what will permanently be done with the area that is now being called “Center Square” won’t be happening for a while, the folks at One Reel found a way to put the space to use during Bumbershoot. The mostly empty space in front of EMP – which currently houses a basketball court and a hay maze for kids (pictured to the left) – will be used for an outdoor stage and a beer garden. This new stage won’t be in addition to the festival’s multiple stages, instead it will (thankfully) replace the Exhibition Hall stage.

The Exhibition Hall is a cavernous concrete cave of a spot to see a band and I welcome its demise. It ranks right up there with Showbox Sodo as one of the worst places to see a show. Replacing it with an outdoor stage that will house more people is a smart change to Bumbershoot that will not only make the festival experience better but also provide broader exposure to the artists who play that stage.

Speaking of acts playing the new stage, I’ve been told the programming for the new outdoor stage will be the same as the programming in Ex Hall, which means you’re going to see a lot of Warped Tour types play there as well as the almighty Anvil. According to a One Reel representative, there will also be “spectacle programming” between bands. Pair that with a beer garden and a hopefully sunny and weekend and you’ve got a winning addition to one of summer’s best festivals.