Bud & Brew Music Festival
Since July 1, Nevada’s fledgling marijuana industry has been working to find its footing. While Reno’s dispensaries are fully operational, the federal regulations and enduring stigmas of cannabis culture still have some smokers, businesses and politicians wary of being publicly associated with the budding industry. However, this year’s inaugural Bud & Brew Music Festival aims to put cannabis on the main stage in the spirit of education and celebration.
“We want to promote local businesses and everyone who’s trying to get in on this industry,” said organizer Naomi Hunkin. “We want to be that event that says, ’Hey man, the community can enjoy it. Businesses can make money. Reno can make money. We can all come together to make this just an awesome, fun thing for Reno.’”
Hunkin and her business partner, Jasmine Gunn, intend for the festival to provide a controlled atmosphere for dispensaries, growers and advocates to present information and entertainment. They’ll also welcome local government and law enforcement. (Yes, the current laws apply, and public cannabis consumption will not be allowed.)
“We kind of want the government to see that these things can happen without all the restrictions that they’re putting on us,” Hunkin said. “When people come together, and they do things like this, and they show them, ’Hey, there were thousands of us that got together in the park one Saturday, and we listened to some great music, we talked, we networked, we came together as a community, and we made it happen—can you maybe lighten up a little bit?’”
The festival features more than a dozen acts including international headliners like the UK’s Pato Banton and Synrgy from Mexico, as well as local acts like Reggae Shack Refugees and Mojo Green. Vendors and entrepreneurs will also gives talks and workshops in between sets.
Hunkin said Bud & Brew wasn’t necessarily intended to be a reggae festival, but when they originally advertised the event, the reggae community stepped up to support the effort.
Although reggae and cannabis may seem a natural fit, Hunkin believes that the perpetual stereotype of reggae as “stoner music” is unfair.
“Music is music, and if you look at different icons who smoke weed and are in the music industry, I don’t personally affiliate it with one particular genre,” she said. “Stoner music is anything that makes me feel good while I’m getting high, while I’m getting lifted, because I’m somebody who listens to Bob Marley, but I’m also somebody who listens to Willie Nelson. I’m also somebody who listens to Snoop Dogg.”
Clint Davidson, a local radio personality and host of the marijuana-based web series “The Kronnoisseur,” will be acting as MC for the festival. He agrees that typecasting of cannabis users and culture does little to advance the industry.
“In my professional experience, I’ve met so many successful millionaires that have had to smoke cannabis in the closet basically because they would risk losing so much due to the stigma that’s around it,” Davidson said. “We hope to educate people on the fact that cannabis can be a responsible product. It can be used for not only medicinal purposes to help a variety of people, but it can be used in a conservative, recreational way if properly regulated and everything else.”