AEG Live Partners On Bumbershoot

AEG Live and Showbox Presents announced a partnership with Bumbershoot festival presenter OneReel to stage Seattle’s annual music and arts fest, giving the event a financial shot in the arm but also shaking up its management.

Photo: AP Photo /, Jordan Stead
Capital Cities performs on the third and final day of Bumbershoot, Seattle's annual music and arts festival Sept. 1.

Executive Director Jon Stone has stepped down but will remain onboard with the nonprofit as a staff member. He is replaced by interim executive director Heather Smith, who served as director of OneReel’s festival division from 2003-07.

One Reel will remain a non-profit organization, working alongside Showbox Presents/ AEG Live to bring Bumbershoot to the Seattle as it approaches its 45th year at the Seattle Center.

“This partnership is designed with the preservation of the original character of the event always in the forefront. We couldn’t have found a better partner when it comes to preserving the elements that create a unique civic event,” Smith said. “As a premier arts festival in this country – and a key part of the cultural fabric of this city – we strive to build a successful and sustainable model for Bumbershoot while ensuring it reflects the culture of our great city.”

The partnership is expected to give Bumbershoot, which has grown from a small arts festival to a major event, financial stability. According to the Seattle Times, Bumbershoot suffered “severe” losses in recent years.

“Bumbershoot has been growing and growing and growing,” Smith told the paper, “but the bigger it gets, the harder it can fall. And it doesn’t take much. This type of a partnership allows for One Reel to really focus in on the arts and culture programming that make it unique.”

AEG Live/Showbox Presents will book the music at Bumbershott going forward, and will assume the financial risk. The partnership also owns and operates Seattle-area fixtures The Showbox, Showbox Sodo, and the Marymoor Park Concert Series.