Hempfest. One of our more exotic festivals held here in Seattle, every year Hempfest is out to make a statement. Hopefully, you can guess what that statement is. But this festival isn’t simply about legalizing marajiana and delivering freedom to the hippie republic of America: Hempfest is also, surprisingly, an artistic haven.
Walking there, I’m not sure what I had been expecting. Down the streets of Pike Place, crowds of people wearing green hats, men and women with wild dreads and large floatable balloons saying “Hempfest 2011” lead the way to a world I had never experienced before. It did, however, remind me vaguely of a rock concert.
People old and young were standing and sitting in the many grassy areas of the three enormous parks reserved for the three day event.
There were two big stages, with guest speakers riling up their listeners, popular musicians performing, and unknown artists playing their accordions, flutes and saxophones on sidewalks. Teenagers were playing hackie sack in large circles, and in off to the sides of booths and pathways, break dancers showed off their stuff.
Between the major fashion statements of tie dye tank tops, and painted-on T-shirts, each booth this year (sans perhaps the food court and business section) had it’s own flare and style designed to pull in potential customers.
Just ten minutes into my walk around Hempfest, I had already spotted original paintings being auctioned off to anyone passing by, sewn designed works for sale, hand-crafted jewelry strewn about on at least eight different tables, and one very, very large collection of glass-blown bongs, painted and decorated to every Hempfest fan’s fantasy, I’m sure.
The moral of this story is that art can be found just about anywhere you look, and if you look hard enough, you may just find something worthwhile. So branch out and explore what Seattle has to offer, be it at Hempfest, EMP, or around your average street corner.