I saw the following message come across one of my hero's Facebook pages (Vivian McPeak) so I'm passing this along. I have never been to Seattle Hempfest before, but I know it's the largest marijuana event in America, and I only want to see it grow, not take a step backwards:
Investors coming down off the initial high of legalization victories, recent legislation regulating the medical marijuana industry, and a sudden glut of regional cannabis related events and expos has resulted in a historic low in annual sponsorship sales for the Seattle HEMPFEST® 2015.
HEMPFEST organizer Vivian McPeak is reaching out to the Washingtonians planning to attend the event to guarantee the survival of the world's largest annual pot reform rally.
"I believe that our community will support HEMPFEST with their gate contributions if we can just get the message out how dire the need for their support is", says McPeak, HEMPFEST's executive director. "There is no comparable event in the world", McPeak adds, citing the sheer girth and complexity of the event he calls a "protestival", which is annually attended by in excess of 100,000 people.
"The Seattle HEMPFEST will cost around one million dollars to produce this year, and while the free speech rally remains free to attend, we are asking for a mere $10 per attendee so we can make sure we can come back for the event's 25th anniversary in 2016," Says McPeak.
This year the HEMPFEST protestival will feature 140 music acts and close to 100 speakers, including current U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher. Past speakers have included former Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Seattle's current and former Mayors, State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles, TV travel personality Rick Steves, actor Woody Harrelson, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper, and former Dallas Cowboy Mark Stepnoski.
The rally is one of the premier flagship events of the global cannabis reform movement, and features over 400 arts, crafts, food, and political vendors, as well as a 400 foot circus tent that features panel discussions and keynote speakers.
Working with a member of the Department of Geography, University of Washington, Seattle HEMPFEST has generated an economic impact study which indicates that Seattle HEMPFEST Festival patrons spent approximately $7.1 million in King County in relation to their visits to the festival. It is estimated that Seattle HEMPFEST Festival in 2014 generated 234 jobs in King County, led to $18.145 million in output (sales of all industries), and generated $8.172 million in labor income.
The entire study can be found at http://www.hempfest.org/seattle-hempfest-economic-impact-study/
Supporters can also buy Memberships online or at the event (starting at $30/year), and get plenty of extra perks like skipping the long lines to the event via the VIP entrance, or getting free access to year-round HEMPEST parties, and the coveted V.I.P. party on-site Friday evening. Vending and sponsorships are also available at hempfest.org.