Bumbershoot favorite busted, then banned

The high-concept accordion player Jason Webley toed the fine line between performance art and criminal activity at Bumbershoot. After firing up crowds as a street performer all weekend, on Sunday night he capped a performance by climbing the International Fountain, and was Bumberbusted for it.

Here is the busted busker's e-mailed account: "Sunday night I led a large crowd of people into the fountain. I was pushed up and much to my surprise was able to climb to the top. There was much cheering and smiling. It was one of the happiest moments of my life actually because it caught me completely by surprise. When I came down I was placed in an armlock by several officers and taken to a holding cell beneath the Center House."

That would be the Bumberslammer.

"I was photographed," Webley continues, "and a criminal trespass warrant was written banning me from the Seattle Center Grounds."

And that's the Bumberban; Webley is one of the most popular street performers Bumbershoot has had, but apparently has Bumbershot himself in the foot and won't be back.

"We don't really have any comment about Jason's situation," said Bumbershoot's Doug Cavarocchi. He referred calls to Seattle Center media staff, who in turned referred the query to Seattle police representatives at the Center; the police office there did not return a call in time for this story.

For fans' reaction to the story, check out the guest-book section of www.jasonwebley.com. Webley, who has something of a cult following around Seattle, next performs tonight at the Nordic Heritage Museum and tomorrow night at the University District's Paradox Theatre.

As for his being banned from the Center, Webley's typically enigmatic comment was: "I have no sense of fair or unfair about it. It is what it is. I won't be making an appeal or asking others to do so. However, part of me does want people to know what happened. But I am quite accustomed to these things slipping between the fingers of collective memory's hand."

Tom Scanlon: 206-464-3891 or tscanlon@seattletimes.com.