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"It - it belongs in our family," said Button-Bright, beginning to eat and speaking between bites. "This umbrella has been in our family years, an' years, an' years. But it was tucked away up in our attic an' no one ever used it 'cause it wasn't pretty."

"Don't blame 'em much," remarked Cap'n Bill, gazing at it curiously. "It's a pretty old-lookin' bumbershoot." - L. Frank Baum, Sky Island (1912)

Bumbershoot. n. An umbrella. [Alteration of (UMB)RELLA and (PARA)CHUTE.] first known use c. 1896.

Seattle's international arts and music festival isn't as old as Sky Island (written by Baum 12 years after his most famous work, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz), but it has been a Starbucks tradition since we opened our first store. In fact, Starbucks and Bumbershoot both got started in 1971. Bumbershoot has come a long way since country musician Sheb Wooley's appearance and (thankfully) that first "Miss Hot Pants Contest," when it was known as Festival '71. (It didn't adapt the Bumbershoot moniker until 2 years later.)

You can celebrate our 40th straight year of involvement with the festival by joining us at the Starbucks Stage at the Seattle Center's Mural Amphitheater. Headliners here include Solomon Burke, Billy Bragg and Booker T. And there are two other stellar acts I'd particularly recommend: Horse Feathers and singer-songwriter Greg Laswell.

Elsewhere around the festival, I'd like to share our Top Ten list of crowd-pleasers you might wanna check out if you're going. See ya there!

  1. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes: "Holy Moly me oh my they're the apple of (our) eye."
  2. Ra Ra Riot: Their new album, The Orchard, is a pop masterpiece fit for an outdoor fest.
  3. Neko Case: Tthe Neko has landed. Maybe I've got "tectonic fever" for her, but I've never seen a bad performance from the singer-songwriter.
  4. The Raveonettes: Like duel jet engines, this duo plays feedback-laced indie pop like no other. Key song: "Hallucinations".
  5. Ozomatli: Always givin' it up for party people everywhere. I once described this L.A. collective as "Tito Puente meets De La Soul meets the J.B. Horns meets the Skatalites meets the Car Wash soundtrack." Believe it.
  6. Balkan Beat Box: An acquired taste? Perhaps, but their live performances never disappoint. Give witness to their high-octane, Eastern European electro-fusion.
  7. Wheedle's Groove: This funky soul outfit oughtta have the Seattle faithful eating out of the palm of their hand with their gospel-funk infused cover of Soundgarden's "Jesus Christ Pose."
  8. Caspar Babypants: For the "Youngershoot" toddler set that just can't quite get down with Balkan Beat Box, there's this zany band from The Presidents of the United States frontman Chris Ballew, guaranteed to get children of all ages up and dancing.
  9. Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra: Hopefully the talented multi-instrumentalist will break out his "Bongo Fury" for this live setting.
  10. Mary J. Blige: Onae of hip-hop's first ladies, Ms. Blige makes delicious music that does only get Stronger with Each Tear. Here's hoping she breaks out her cover of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" for the festival faithful.

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