Rethinking the Bumbershoot application. Taking it from a range of digital to physical interactions.

Bumbershoot, the infamous three day festival in the heart of Seattle, right under the Space Needle. It’s one of Seattle’s “largest cultural touchstones” gathering thousands of people in North America. I wanted to jump in and make the app feel the same as the experience.

I was looking to solve the overwhelming issue of scheduling and wayfinding at the festival. What shows are next? Where is that stage? And I think I’ve lost my friends!

The result: an easily navigated app that controls your schedule, directions to and from stages, and most of all – locating your friends.


When rethinking the Bumbershoot experience, we immediately noticed the overwhelming need for solutions that could smooth out the disconnect between Bumbershoot’s current physical and digital experiences.

To determine these solutions, we began by studying existing festival applications, such as those for Sasquatch and Coachella, which provided inspiration and sparked discussion that informed the next phase of discovery work. We then embarked on a complete breakdown of the current Bumbershoot app to determine what worked and what didn’t.

While there are many possible reasons why a user would download the Bumbershoot app, we found scheduling and wayfinding solutions to be the most important for users and the areas we should focus on to create a useful and meaningful app experience.

With those goals in mind, we first focused on tackling the best way to organize festivalgoers’ Bumbershoot schedules. This resulted in a solution that showcased all of the festival options while providing a sharable and easily editable schedule that would ultimately help each festivalgoer plan their day and coordinate with their friends.

Secondly, we dove into wayfinding solutions that would help the user navigate the festival itself. To do this, we created preliminary designs for a navigable app that would enable the user to organize their Bumbershoot schedule and get directions to and from stages. The app also, through the integration of opt-in GPS tracking, would allow users to more easily locate their friends — a task every festival fan knows to be frustrating (and often impossible) in massive festival crowds.

Having identified several current state friction points, we’re starting a new conversation and thinking differently about the future of festival apps. Through AI machine learning and predictive analytics, we’re envisioning new ways to place users at center stage by recommending content that is tailored to each user’s goals and motivations. Additionally, we see an opportunity to incorporate Mixed reality (MR) as a way to offer a differentiated, even more amazing festival experience.

By rethinking the Bumbershoot app and experience, we’ve just begun to scratch the surface of possibilities. With festivals, big and small, gaining popularity and popping up in cities around the world, there’s never been a better time to design unique physical-to-digital experiences that turn the standard, often stressful music festival experience into a music — and app — lover’s paradise.


Check out the Medium post written in support of the redesign.