If you were in Civic Center Park Saturday, May 21st, you know it was a perfect summer day in Colorado – a light breeze to take the edge off what would become a pleasantly warm afternoon. It looked like summer, it felt like summer, and it smelled like summer at MassRoots’ Denver 420 Rally with Wiz Khalifa and Lil Wayne. After last month’s cancellation, this rally-goer had the right idea.
That’s right – 5/21 WAS the new 4/20, and what a fabulous one it was! Besides the amazing Colorado weather, there were awesome live performances, food and drink (non-alcoholic, of course) trucks galore, memorabilia, paraphernalia, and – my personal favorite – the dab rig coffin bag/backpack which is definitely featuring as Christmas gifts this year. If you made it to the free rally, thank you for supporting, we’ll see you next year; in case you didn’t, here’s a rundown of the whole experience from the crowd to the cops.
The Denver 420 Rally Crowd
The Denver 420 rally is bigger than it used to be, but it’s been happening for decades. With all our new neighbors, supporters, and people moving to Colorado for medical and recreational cannabis access, jobs, and the best opportunities in the industry, it’s no wonder that the rally has grown exponentially over the past few years. Last year there were 80,000 people and this year about 100,000 people attended. Just imagine how many people will come next year!
Speaking of the crowd – it was mellow, easygoing, happy, and enjoyable – there were no drunk idiots ruining a good time for everyone else, and no one puking all over the porta potties, at least not when I was using them. The Denver police were there, but they weren’t harassing anyone – seems like they were enjoying the summer day, as well.
One thing I noticed is that the crowd has changed a bit over the years – people from all walks of life were there in the May sunshine, taking in the atmosphere, amiably being patted down by friendly security guards for weapons, and thoughtfully ignoring the $150 posted public marijuana use signs. As The Denver Post noted, Denver police issued 18 tickets related to public marijuana consumption at the rally; that’s 3 times less than the 60 citations that were handed out to locals in the park on 4/20 last month. There were hippie kids and their families, and there were actual children under the age of fifteen, many of them in the back away from the bigger section of the crowd. Parents were enjoying the music and didn’t seem to think twice about including their kids in the celebration. I even saw one beautiful little girl right up front to see Wiz Khalifa with her mom – her smile was bigger than anyone else’s when the performer came on stage. The crowd was diverse: young, old, professional, out-of-towners, in-towners, locals, and semi-natives all rolled into one wonderful joint celebration of Colorado’s cannabis industry and the freedoms our new rights surrounding it grant us.
Wiz Khalifa’s Performance
Wiz Khalifa took the stage around 4:20PM and performed for a park full of exuberant fans. He put on an amazing show and played several of his classic songs along with some new ones. As always, he spread a positive message about cannabis consumers and really took the stage by storm. If you’ve never seen Wiz Khalifa live, you definitely need to. His stage presence is mind blowing and we had a blast during his set!
Lil Wayne’s Performance
Lil Wayne started around 6:00PM with the crowd favorite, “Go DJ”. He also put on an incredible performance and had the audience completely floored. In between two of his last songs, he took off his red hat (pictured above) and handed it to an audience member. It was a classy gesture and it got the attendees even more excited to be in the presence of a true music legend.
The GREEN TEAM Volunteers
Denver Relief has a huge network of volunteers and sponsors that take on a wide range of philanthropic projects throughout Colorado. Aside from their normally scheduled events, they do a great job getting teams together to help with cleanup of major events that pop up throughout the year. This year we were lucky enough to have several volunteers come out and keep Civic Center Park clean. You could see GREEN TEAM shirts all over the park!
Before Wiz Khalifa and Lil Wayne’s performances, the Green Team was able to hop on stage. Ean Seeb, Co-Owner and Manager of Denver Relief, gave a rousing speech about spreading a positive vision of cannabis consumers.
The Denver 420 Rally Food
The first thing I saw as I walked past the enormous blinking traffic sign about the $150 fine for public marijuana consumption was a picnic table literally stacked with juicy, falling off the bone, smoky turkey legs and jumbo brats. I don’t know about you, but turkey legs just scream Colorado summertime to me, along with oversized strawberry-lemonades. So I got one of each and walked around the rally, weaving in and out of people standing, sitting, and definitely not consuming cannabis publicly.
There were high-end dessert food trucks, the requisite funnel-cake and strawberry-lemonade setups, and also the real-deal Mexican food trucks who make those bomb-ass tacos with just cilantro, asada, and green salsa that look tiny but are perfect size. Yeah, I had some of those too while Wiz Khalifa was playing “See You Again.” It’s pretty great when you can see the artist who collected the Grammy for Song of the Year at your 420 celebration, isn’t it? It’s even better when you can enjoy it while eating perfect tacos. I’d say the vendors made out like bandits at the rescheduled rally, and probably had more business than they could handle for the most part – much better business than if they’d set up during last month’s surprise snowstorm.
When it got too crowded for me in the VIP section, I just meandered past the trucks and booths, sipping my lemonade, to the fountains at the north end of the park, where I sat and enjoyed people watching. As the celebration wound down into nightfall and Lil Wayne took the stage, the park was more crowded than ever, and the party went on until ten p.m. All in all, it was the best 420 rally I’ve attended in Denver – and I expect next year to be even better.
Thank you Denver Relief GREEN TEAM for joining us for the 420 Rally! If you are interested in learning more about the Green Team, check out their page on Facebook.
And of course, thank you to everyone who came out and celebrated cannabis legalization with us this year! We already can’t wait for next year!
This post was originally published on June 1, 2016, it was updated on March 15, 2017.