LifestyleNational Cannabis Festival: Celebrating cannabis culture and progress

National Cannabis Festival: Celebrating cannabis culture and progress

Though he had never heard of the National Cannabis Festival until the second day of the event on Saturday, April 20, Michael Blowe, who currently lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia, made a convoluted trip to D.C.’s The Fields at  RFK Campus to see what all the fuss was about.

The eighth annual National Cannabis Festival was held at The Fields on RFK Campus April 19-20. (Ja’Mon Jackson/The Washington Informer)
“I came to visit my sister, she’s working the event and I had no clue that this event even existed until a few hours ago,” Blowe, a native of Greensboro, North Carolina, told The Informer. “I got on the road at 4 a.m. I drove up to New York to pick up my son… So I literally just got down here from New York. After I leave here I’m going back to Virginia Beach, and it was worth every minute of the drive.”

Since its inaugural event at RFK in 2016, National Cannabis Festival (NCF) has created entertaining and educational experiences centered around advocacy and to celebrate federal and local progress in the cannabis community and culture. For its eighth annual festival April 19-20, NCF, curated a cultural cannabis extravaganza, featuring acts such as Black Alley, Thundercat, Devin the Dude, DJ Farrah Flosscett, Backyard Band and the legendary hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan featuring Redman.

NCF, founded in 2015, not only offers entertainment, but celebrates the strides in cannabis legislation and culture.

“We’ve moved from a world where cannabis was considered taboo, folks would lose jobs, folks were going to jail, losing lives over it, to a world where people can actually come out of college and find careers in this industry, and that is just incredible,” Caroline Phillips, NCF founder and executive director told The Informer last year.

D.C.’s Black Alley Band performs at the National Cannabis Festival on Friday, April 19. (Ja’Mon Jackson/The Washington Informer)
Blowe said he appreciates that the festival encourages cannabis culture and advocacy.

“I’m glad that [cannabis] is being embraced because it was weaponized before and they used it… to desecrate the Black community,” Blowe explained. “I’m glad that they’re embracing it. I’m excited to see what they do next.”

Blowe wasn’t the only person who drove from Virginia’s coastal region to take in the NCF festivities on April 20– the day recognized by many marijuana enthusiasts and advocates as a holiday celebrating all things cannabis culture.

“I’m here because I tried to come a couple of times before COVID kicked off… and I kept missing it,” said Adrianne Butler on the second day of the festival “I had to drive from Hampton to see Wu-Tang today.” 

As she jammed to the Wu-Tang Clan live, she told The Informer, the trip to D.C. was “way worth it.”

Kacey Williams of Black Alley Band performs at the National Cannabis Festival at The Fields at RFK Campus on April 19. (Ja’Mon Jackson/The Washington Informer)
“[The festival] is so much better than I expected,” Butler continued. “I’m excited to be here.”

During the two-day festival, attendees were able to visit hundreds of booths, attend discussions, learn about various cannabis advocacy, engage in conversations about voting, purchase from vendors, and enjoy the many entertainers.

Prince George’s County resident Candice, who preferred not to use her last name, said she came specifically to check out Wu-Tang Clan, but was impressed with the festival overall.

“It’s been pretty good. Good food, good times, good vibes,” said Candice, who told The Informer she was already making plans to bring a chair and get closer to the stage at next year’s festival.

“Good vibes,” seemed to be the universal experience for those attending and working the event.

“When I started to look into the festival and what it was about… everybody’s just getting along… vibing out having a good time,” Blowe said. “Seems like that’s rare nowadays, so it’s good to have something like that.”

Butler also emphasized that the overall positive environment added to the National Cannabis Festival’s appeal.

“The vibe is super chill. You don’t have to worry about people fighting or doing anything crazy. Everybody is chill and showing love, and it’s fun to be around,” she explained, adding that she will “absolutely,” be back next year.

Dorald Hemsley, an event staff security officer at The Fields at RFK Campus, told The Informer that there were “no incidents, no problems at all,” during the two-day festival, emphasizing that “it’s a safe environment.”

Two-time Grammy winner Thundercat performs at The National Cannabis Festival on Friday, April 19. (Ja’Mon Jackson/The Washington Informer)
Hemsley also noted he particularly appreciated Wu-Tang Clan’s more than hour-long performance, featuring back-to-back jams and highlighting various members including Method Man, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, and a tribute to the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard. The performance was exciting, engaging and so incredibly entertaining, that the entire crowd danced and sang along to many of the group’s and artists’ classic tunes.

As people threw their legendary “Ws,” in the air, in honor of the Wu-Tang Clan symbol, Method Man told the crowd what the DMV area has meant to the group since its inception in the early 90s.

“Our best markets [have been] New York, Philly, and the whole DMV,” he said.

Source: Washington Informer


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