Hempfest never gets old, the positive energy never fails to fire up my activist side. The hippy presence always rubs off on me and I leave with a full heart and a smile on my face. MzJill and I didn't get in until Friday afternoon (8/19) so we missed the opening at noon. Long before we got close to the event we could smell the sweet smell of the herb that everyone had gathered to celebrate. It was a really nice afternoon and the sun was shining but a cooling breeze was blowing off the bay and swirling the music around as we walked into the park.
The path into the park was a wall of people leaving the event – I am always amazed at how huge Hempfest crowds are. We walked around a bit saw comedian Ngaio Bealum and stopped by the TGA booth and enjoyed the sunset with few bowls of dank. The next day I got an early start because I am always really excited and a pretty hyper person. I love to meet and greet and wake and bake with just about anyone I see, everyone is so cool and in such a great mood. I can't count the number of people I smelted that day with my full melt bubble but lets just say a large number of people have a good story to tell now.
I made up the purest Apollo-13 water hash I could and I was rewarded by friends stopping mid-sentence after smoking just one bowl. I captured some video during the day and took a good many pictures but I spent most of the time talking with fans and signing books and rolling trays and t-shirts and even bongs. Over the weekend a few dozen bands performed on the many stages and I have to say I really liked just about all the bands that we heard on the main stage on day two (the jams were really good and you can hear a sampling in my YouTube video). Later that day we went to hear some of the speakers and we got to see Seattle's mayor speak. He actually did a good job and it was quite the trip to see the mayor on stage in front of thousands of people actively smoking cannabis and he openly welcomed us to the city.
The thing I saw that was different and that I want everyone to know about is the huge amount of commerce that went on at this event. There was a much larger group of people serving food and a much wider variety. Hell, you could order up a Caesar salad and grilled Cajun salmon at one booth. I am much more of a burger guy and as I walked up to one booth to get some munchies the guy asked MzJill if she was with HIGH TIMES because she was dressed in one of her green outfits with all her adornments. I replied no that I was Subcool and she was MzJill and the people behind the booth all started praising us for our genetics. The owners were medical patients who had grown out our Flav and the Vortex. They wouldn't even let me pay for my meal which blew me away most of the day just thinking about it. I know cops are known to get free food for their service but a cannabis breeder? Far Out Man!!
Everyone seemed to be doing a brisk business and even the ATM's had lines of people standing in front of each one. The economy may be down but our culture seemed to be thriving. Seems a large number of Americans dig weed. While the politicians seem to be busy ruining our economy, the counterculture has dug in and is doing quite well because of the plant. While it’s kinda taboo to talk about there was no shortage of baked goods or flowers at the event, people were doing what it takes to survive and I am a huge supporter of that. I got a cool shot of one daring entrepreneur holding up a sign advertising his goodies as people walked by. The stupid part is because the government refuses to acknowledge our culture and cannabis economy they missed out on untold revenue. I think regulation was on everyone's minds and one of the speakers I captured on video spoke about it. Free weed is a great dream but the reality is that taxing the sale of cannabis goods can and will generate funds to help rebuild our country’s infrastructure one day.
Sunday was another great day and just as busy we passed out about four jars full of TGA flowers to card-holding patients on the house and even though the TGA booth was hoping like mad everyone was polite and gave up their spots in the crowded booth so others could meet and speak with MzJill and myself.
Ed came over and hung out and as usual I did my best to medicate him into the stratosphere. TGA's Washington reps Rob and Rose and their crew, who did such a great job for us, were impressed that Ed hung out so long and signed books for everyone. I had so much fun working with them that next year we plan to double the booth size and sponsor the festival with a nice donation.
I would like to thank all of the volunteers, without whom this event could not be held. As the sun set on a glorious day they were looking at several days of cleaning up and taking everything down.
I hope to see everyone next year.
TGA at Seattle Hempfest 2011