Are you a busy person? Of course you are. You have a CRAP-TON of things to do, right? Word to your mother. You don't have time to get yourself all stressed out over figuring out what to choose to do at Seattle's mighty Bumbershoot, the music and arts festival that occurs each and every Labor Day weekend, correct? Well, right on, my quick-step brothers and sisters, which I why I'm giving you this fast n' easy list of my picks of what you cannot miss! You may thank me at the festival by either buying me a bottled water or offering to carry my 8 prillion pounds of camera gear. Here we go!


1. Start your festival in the best possible way by walking over to the Fountain Pavilion to view an exhibition of the work of the legendary and pioneering music photographer, Jini Dellaccio. Jini died this past July at the age of 97, produced some of the most iconic images in rock n' roll history, and was just the most delightful and inspiring human. I was lucky enough to meet her a few years ago, and was utterly touched when she clasped my hands, smiled, looked me right in the eye and told me to never stop taking photos. It's one reason I'm lugging the 8 prillion pounds of gear this weekend as my golden years rapidly approach and Advil is my greatest festival friend. This one's for you, Jini.

2. My favorite kind of writing, because I am a busy person like you are, is fast, smart, and funny. Get your carcass over to the Words & Ideas Stage at 1:45PM to witness Literary Death Match, where four talented wordsmiths take their zippiest prose in hopes of becoming King or Queen of Zip. The pen is mightier that the sword, after all, and way less messy.

3. It's hard to keep up, as a busy person, with all the latest developments in the scientific world. Stop worrying: Bill Nye The Science Guy and comedian Eugene Mirman have got this, and will keep you humorously informed at 2:30PM at the Bagley (same time on Sunday, too, if you are too busy on Saturday) with Startalk Live!

4. Stephen Merritt, best known as the boss bass voice and musical supergenius behind The Magnetic Fields, discusses his new book "101 Two-Letter Words" on the Words & Ideas Stage at 3:30PM. Merritt's sense of humor is dryer than the combined deserts of this universe and any future discovered universes, so if you like your wittiness with a big satisfying handful of sand as I do, by all means, stop in.

5. If you aren't too too busy, take a second and try to recall that one time you went to the carnival and got on the Tilt-A-Whirl -- you remember, that time when the music was loud and swirling, going in and out and around and around and you were laughing and a little freaked out and the feeling of sitting next to your favorite person and watching them press against the back of the curved shell of the seat, smiling and hanging on for dear life, and you were in a universe all to yourselves? Go see Mac DeMarco play on the Fountain Lawn Stage at 5:15PM, and this paragraph will all make sense.

6. In 1979, I attended a live concert in my hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and it was so good that I could not stop myself from getting up from my seat and dancing. Like, just no control, HAD TO. Pair that feeling with the extreme pleasure of listening to some of the most intelligent lyrics anyone has ever composed, and that led to never once missing a tour by Elvis Costello in the 35 years since then. A master songwriter, delightful performer, and one of rock n' roll's major talents, you'd be a little fool to miss him and the Imposters on the Mainstage at 6:15PM.

7. One of my dream jobs was to be a writer for arguably the greatest TV show ever made, The Simpsons. I'm fairly sure my dream will go unfulfilled, but at least I can worship at the altar of greatness by showing up at Smrt Talk By The Writers Of The Simpsons at the Words & Ideas Stage at 7PM. If you think I misspelled "smrt," you are dum.

8. You know all those "1001 Things To Do Before You Die" kind of books? ALL of them should tell you to see Mavis Staples perform before you exit the planet. Seriously, and I don't care how old or young or religious or atheist you are, what color your skin may be, or what your music preferences are -- none of that matters. The joy and deep, deep soulfulness that Mavis brings to each and every performance is a real gift to you and the world. Go over to the Starbucks Stage at 10PM and say thank you.


9. After Saturday's busy schedule, you need a big ol' dose of thunder to get your ass in gear on a sleepy Sunday, and I suggest Seattle's monster rock trio, Sandrider, performing at 2PM on the Fountain Lawn Stage. If that doesn't work, just douse yourself in the International Fountain a few feet away. If the combination of those two doesn't work, you are dead.

10. If you have confirmed that you are not dead, check out Iceland's Hermigervill at 2:45 on the Pavilion Stage for fine electronic mixes that will set your internal themostat to "superchill cool."

11. If you've chilled so hard that you cannot get off your picnic blanket, march over right back over to the Fountain Lawn Stage at 3:45PM to headbang to the heavy heaviness that is Red Fang. If you wear a denim vest, all the better, but don't bother lighting your lighter -- it's still daylight.

12. I'm really glad that The Dream Syndicate is back together again -- The Days of Wine and Roses LP was on my turntable quite a lot as I navigated clumsily from my teenage depression years to young adult anxiety years. I think we've all learned a lot since then, and I'll be at the Starbucks Stage at 4:30PM to enjoy them as a proper adult.

13.  Luscious Jackson? Well, yes please! Smooth and sweet lady vocals over ear-catching hip-hop beats is just the thing for the late-afternoon vibe I seek, so sauntering over to the Fisher Green Stage at 4:45PM is the thing to do.

14. Just about everyone I know has a big spot in their hearts for The Replacements. If I hadn't had already bonded with the musical heroes of the generation before mine, I think I would've fallen real hard for them. I'm thinking it might not be too late, so I'm ready to swoon at the Mainstage at 6PM. Join me!

15. Mission of Burma provided a bridge between punk and alt rock, to me not so much post-punk, which has more quirky electronica and noise, but a early, more tuneful grunge rock. We could likely argue this point most of the day, but I suggest instead we listen at 7:15PM on the Fountain Lawn Stage.

16. Well, I'm just as curious as you are about Big Star's Third: a musical supergroup made of up big guns from R.E.M., The Posies, the dBs, Let's Active, and yes, Big Star. They shall be delivering their take on Big Star's delicious Sister Lovers album, complete with orchestra and V.I.P. guests. I am 100% positive the Starbucks Stage lawn will be packed at 8PM, and that it will be an amazing performance.

17. Bootsy. F'in'. COLLINS. 


18. I'm a big fan of locals La Luz -- their very sharp take on classic '60s surf and girl-group music is infused with a punk kick and seems as fresh as a daisy, or fresher than that, considering air pollution and dodgy fertilizers and such. If you come see them at 12:30PM on the Fountain Lawn Stage, you will walk away a fan.

19. News from Ukraine has been quite sad of late, so I'm all down to support Kyiv-based world music band DahkaBrahka as they perform on the Fisher Green Stage at 2:45PM. Music heals - always make time for it.

20. The very busiest of you must schedule in Town Hall Presents - The Seattle Science Lectures at the Words & Ideas Stage at 3:30PM because Daniel J. Levitin, PhD, will give you the straight up facts on how to handle the very-real problem of information overload. It's possible that one of the ways might be meditating on top of the Space Needle, but you'll have to attend to find out.

21. I absolutely LOVE Mexican Institute of Sound, because they make me smile bigtime. Taking traditional Mexican music and adding unexpected touches of humor, sound drops, and rock n' roll makes for a lot of fun, starting at 4:30PM on the Fisher Green Stage! Vamos!

22. There's no way you are going to want to stop with your Latin-rhythm butt-shakin' at this point so keep going to Bomba Estéreo at 6:15PM, also on the Fisher Green Stage.

23. OK, so you know you are busy, but do you know why you are stupid? The Onion will tell you why promptly at 7PM at the Words & Ideas Stage with Tu Stultus Es: The Onion Explains Why You Are Stupid. Everyone at The Onion is way smarter and way funnier than you, so sit down and listen, ya schmuck. Also, you're gonna need some cool-down time after all that dancing at Fisher Green, hombre.

24. Jonathan Richman is such an original -- he doesn't think, compose, or perform like anyone else. You think he's kidding, but he's not...but then he kinda is...but then maybe not, and it all turns out to be a bit weird and thoroughly charming in the end. Come see him at 8PM on the Starbucks Stage.

25. Young Mr. Jacco Gardner is a new fave of mine, reminding me so much of the baroque pop that was the shining star of  AM radio 1966. Clever, clever, clever. You'll love him, I think. Go to the End Zone Stage at 8:15PM and maybe wear a paisley shirt.

26. I can tell you how Bumbershoot 2014 is going to close for me: this very busy person is going to be seeing Real Estate at the Fountain Lawn Stage at 9PM. Their fine, warm vocals paired with sad-sweet melodies are just the way to wind down and leave Seattle Center with a smile, relaxed and happy.

Don't be too busy, my friends! Experience all this (and so much more if you can) at Bumbershoot this weekend, because music is important, art is vital, and life is good. Make time to enjoy it! Watch this space for photos and words about it all!