This Year’s Seattle Hempfest Could Be The Last

Hempfest was bigger and better than ever in 2009, and promises to do it again this year. But without plenty of community support and green energy, this could be the last time. (Photo by Pete Santos/Seattle Hempfest)Hempfest was bigger and better than ever in 2009, and promises to do it again this year. But without plenty of community support and green energy, this could be the last time. (Photo by Pete Santos/Seattle Hempfest)According to the director of Seattle Hempfest, the largest annual marijuana rally in the world, this year’s event could be the last, with the iconic stoner gathering in a fight for its very existence.

“If things do not go right this year, this could be the last year Hempfest happens at all,” executive director Vivian McPeak said.

Read this article on TOKE OF THE TOWN

According to McPeak, a confluence of factors — including the slow economy, the theft of $5,000 worth of radios last year, a lack of financial support from the community (the average attendee contributes about 30 cents), excessive requirements from the City and the Port of Seattle, and the rising cost of event production — resulted in Hempfest being more than $50,000 in debt after the 2009 event.

“This year, we not only need to raise the $300,000 operating capital it takes top produce the world’s largest pot rally, we also need to pay our in-house benefactor back,” McPeak said.

McPeak described Hempfest as “the world’s largest all-volunteer political rally.”

“Not a single dollar of the money we raise goes to pay the salaries of anyone on Hempfest’s massive staff,” he said.

“I have seen what a motley, ragtag bunch of stoners can do when there is a goal as honorable and lofty as making America more free, more fair and more just for all,” McPeak said. “That is my inspiration to forge on.”

But, according to McPeak, Hempfest now needs some serious perspiration to go with that inspriation.

“We need to ramp it up on several fronts because somewhere in America someone is getting busted right now, poised to lose their money, their freedom, their possessions and even their children,” McPeak said.

“How pathetic would it be if Hempfest were to disappear right before we tasted victory in the struggle against the tyranny of prohibition?” McPeak asked. “It simply cannot and will not happen because we will not let that happen, regardless of what it takes.”

“Here is where you come in,” McPeak said. “You are the backbone of the world’s premier cannabis community event, and I am turning to you now to inform you of what Hempfest needs from you to continue to kick the Drug War’s rancid ass all the way to hell and back.”

“We will win this struggle and here is how we are going to do it,” McPeak said. “Here is how you can make the difference.”

Hempfest Membership Program

This year Hempfest launched a brand-new membership program, which allows folks within the greater cannabis community to connect directly with the local and regional movement.

Hempfest members are invited to attend special bi-monthly members only events, meet other kindred spirits, and get direct access to the most current news, activities and emergency calls to action.

“In addition to those great perks, members gain direct ‘no wait’ access to our new no-line ‘member’s entrance’ at Hempfest,” McPeak explained.

Hempfest memberships come in three tiers: $25 for basic, $50 for supporter, and $150 for the V.I.P. membership, which includes exclusive access to a special V.I.P. members’ party at the actual Hempfest event.

“This new program has already collected over $10,000, and is one way we can increase awareness, community and revenue simultaneously,” McPeak said.

For more information about the Hempfest membership program, click here.

– Article from Toke of the Town.



  1. David Dukes on

    I have been attending hemp rallies since 1983 (Carbondale Illinois) have volunteered for fests in Chicago, and Seattle, and attended every year, spend lots of money, donate etc…but its a little sad when you take off 4 days from work, lose a grand in wages, and get treated like manure by your so-called leads. I brought three volunteers, I helped set up the stages, and was planning on helping on teardown, but the disrespect shown to people by your “boy” in charge, infuriated me, and two other people. I understand they have a lot on there plate, but I work my ass off (though I am a medical patient with Degenerative disc disease) pick up trash as I walk around at the fest, drop money in everyones buckets… and then to be told I couldn’t get a shirt because “I was a nobody, not a somebody” is enough to make me say enough. I will find other ways to support the cause, but I wont take lip from someone who thinks he’s the big cheese. We are all small slices of the cheese. I worked with him last year and thought maybe he was just having a bad day, but now I see he is just an ass with a badge. And I know for a fact I’m not the only one that feels this way. I have a wall at my house that I put up all my shirts in glass cases, behind my bar, and this year I will leave a blank space, in memory of B.C., And for your information B.C., this nobody has worked as Lead Carpenter on B.Gates Beachhouse in Union, two out of the three houses in the world that have hydraulic lifting walls, Frank Sinatra’s in Laguna beach, the rammed earth project In Maui Hawaii etc… He should at least be able to recognize skill and ability… But as I said, I shall find other ways to help the cause…I also wish to thank the many people that work diligently, support the cause, and treat their “family” with respect. One bad apple and all….

  2. Jdub on

    Please charge me and everyone else $4.20 in the name of the event. In doing so I expect some better bands, atleast some good cover music. Charging $4.20 can make this a better event.

  3. Anonymous on

    I can’t go to hemp fest..I live in Florida, and do not have to money to travel. I would hate to see it canceled though. We need cannabis laws to stay in the public eye. So this festival will benefit the movement as a whole. Is there any place where people can donate to help keep this festival alive? Also an admission fee is a good idea.

  4. merry jon on

    as a successful legit small green biz owner/operator, yes fur shure charge gate admissions, and sell more burgers n beer! charge rent for sales tables. where’s that yankee entrepeneur spirit, eh??

  5. Anonymous on

    Seattle Hempfest is a free speech political rally, that is how it is permitted, that way there is practically no way the city could tell us that we could not rally together in our large free speech political event. It is free to the public. However, we do have donation buckets at the entrance points. We also charge money for vendors, and we do already sell water, and some food, although most of the food is made by food vendors, but they pay us for the right to vend there. Hempfest has massive expenses because we have to insure the event, put up fences, constuct 5 stages, and do many other behind the scene things to put on an extremely huge event. This is all done with volunteer power. If you ever have time on the third weekend in august, come on out to Seattle Hempfest and volunteer. It’s fun, and they will even feed you after your shift. If you have the money to donate, that will help us to be able to continue.

  6. sparkky on

    And if the organizers don’t want to pay taxes on the entry fee, just get paid in weed! Then sell the weed in the underground economy so the gov can’t get their sticky fingers over your money!

  7. Lygeia on

    Why don’t they just change an admission fee?

  8. ray christl Thai smoke hemp b4 japs on

    stop hemp freedom!?Kick it down anonymous nation.Jodie is struggling to keep love alive.That secret love-garden makes $$$now is the clarion call.Give it up before they take it from you.Spread the cash around and finance some pro PR internship employees to call every church/ashram in the country.Give money to the McPeak need.Help finance a Richard Lee effort in Cannada.HEMP REFERENDUM from Vanny to France.If the resurrection of CANNA is to heal the world it needs cash,and our family has secret stash.

  9. Dave on

    As a small business person, I also see great potential for revenue. Most of us pay a gate (entrance) fee to enter the fairs so why not HempFest? We pay an entrance fee to have the privilege of spending more money once inside, so why not HempFest? The possibilities are endless!

  10. T3h_ChR1S on

    maybe they dont want to push so far since its voluntary. they must have there reasons

  11. Anonymous on

    If the the average attendee contributes about 30 cents, than even charging a $1 door entry fee would triple the festivals revenue… I can not see anybody refusing to pay $2 to go to hemp fest and that is already 6 times more than what this article claims the average attendee contributes.

    Or if they do not want to charge a set entry fee they could have a donation bucket at the door and encourage attendees to donate a couple dollars.

    Or they could sell food and drinks, even if each attendee bought only one item of food or drink the profits would be at least 30 cents.

    I find it really strange they are unable to get more than 30 cents out of the average attendee.