Best of the fest
Hey, what are the good hemp fests to hit this year?
—Tokin’ Tommy the Traveler
Let me first say that there is no such thing as a bad hemp fest. Anytime people gather to peacefully celebrate the beauty and wonder that is the cannabis plant, a good time is sure to be had by all.
The West Coast has a ton of great events this year. In fact, you could plan a month-and-a-half of hemp-fest fun. Let’s take a look:
Olympia Hempfest, July 27 and 28. Celebrating 10 years of cannabis activism, the Olympia Hempfest in Olympia, Wash., carries the distinction of being the first festival held in a state where weed is legal! There will be speakers and music and food and disc golf (www.olympiahempfest.com).
Bay Area Hempfest, August 9 through 11. This one started in Sacramento and has moved down to the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond. The Craneway is the unofficial home of many hemp events. The High Times Cannabis Cup and the Deep Green Festival have also been held there. The BAH will feature performances from O.G. hip-hop pioneers Digital Underground and Sacramento rockers Arden Park Roots (www.bayarea hempfest.com).
The Seattle Hempfest, August 16 through 18. This one is the godmother of all hemp festivals. It started in 1991 and has blossomed into one of the best ones in America. Not just a hemp fest, but an amazing party of more than 200,000 people enjoying six stages of music and art and food and hemp and good times in Seattle. Pro tip: Wear comfortable shoes—you will walk a lot (www.hempfest.org).
Jefferson State Hemp Expo, August 23 through 25. This could be my favorite hemp festival on the West Coast. I love them all, but this Southern Oregon one (Google the history behind “The State of Jefferson”; it’s hella interesting) is full of hippie magic and mellow good times. This year, Northwest rock legends Floater, blues master Curtis Salgado and quirky bassist Les Claypool’s Duo de Twang will be headlining different nights. If you like camping festivals with a family-friendly atmosphere, this is the one for you (www.jeffersonstatehempexpo.com).
Hempstalk, September 7 through 8. Downside: This festival is kind of in the boonies. Kelley Point Park is on the outskirts of Portland, Ore., and is a bit of a drag to get to. Upside: This festival is in the boonies! The park is beautiful, located on the banks of the Columbia and Willamette rivers, and this gathering has everything you could want, plus gorgeous scenery and hiking, if that sativa has you feeling restless (www.hempstalk.org).
International Hemp & Cannabis Expo, September 7. Moving from the confines of the Cow Palace to a spot right in front of San Francisco City Hall, The INTCHE will give you everything you want.
I will be at every single one of these events, except for the one in San Francisco, because I will be in Portland. And, if you are bringing newbies, please remind them to pace themselves and drink lots of water. Passing out at a hemp festival is not a good look.