Media Resources

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The Seattle HEMPFEST® is scheduled for August 18, 19, 20, 2017. More info can be found on our Attendee Page found listed under Festival.

Our volunteer media crew is happy to take inquiries from working journalists about this 26th year of the Seattle HEMPFEST protestival event, our 420 boutique called HEMPFEST Central, regional or national cannabis policy, local politics and more. You may reach us [email protected] Established in 1991, the Seattle HEMPFEST rally features 100 music acts on five stages and an equal number of renowned guest speakers. As many as 400 arts, crafts, food, and political vendors dot the long expanse of both parks. The Seattle HEMPFEST event has a “Hemposium” circus tent replete with panel discussions and presentations, keynote speakers, displays, and workshops. The HEMPFEST “protestival” requires over 118  crews staffed by volunteers. The largest cannabis policy reform event in the world, the Seattle Hempfest event always happens the third weekend in the month of August.


24Are you going to come check out the greatest Protestival in person? Awesome! Sign up below to let us know you are coming and we will make sure to have your press credentials (and press packet if you choose ‘yes’ below) ready for when you come check in at the Media Check-In/Hospitality Booth located just east of the Hemposium tent (A15 on the map). We can also arrange interviews with invited speakers and offer photos of the event. Just let us know in the comments section of the form.

“Drone” Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are not given permission to fly over the HEMPFEST event site during event operations for public safety reasons. Aerial drones are not permitted to fly over Seattle parks.

Photographs are available for publishing at the galleries on this site. The names of photographers are embedded in the file titles and must be credited. The file size can be changed for higher resolution using the Gallery’s widget controls on the bottom right corner of the page.


main media 2The Seattle HEMPFEST is the world’s largest annual cannabis related event, and America’s largest annual free speech event. As many as 100,000 people are expected to attend the 2017 Seattle HEMPFEST “protestival”. Available on this page is information about the history of the event, an economic impact study we commissioned in 2014,  our 2017 platform agenda (which explains why we are not finished and why HEMPFEST is as needed as ever), our annual poster design, community values distinctions that make HEMPFEST unique to other, similar events, a brief history of the event and information on properly use of the HEMPFEST trademarked trade-name.

Past guest speakers and entertainers have included actor Woody Harrelson, Travel Guru Rick Steves, Seattle musician/author Krist Novoselic, U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrbacher, former US Congressman Dennis Kucinich, former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel, Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray (as a candidate), former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, Seattle City Atty Pete Holmes, State Rep. Roger Goodman, State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles (currently King County Council member), former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper, Seattle Police Department Spokesman Sean Whitcomb, poet and community activist Nate Howard, former Dallas Cowboys center Mark Stepnoski, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition founder Jack Cole, former Drug Policy Alliance director Ethan Nadelman, former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, former Libertarian vice presidential nominee Judge Mike Gray,  David Bronner (of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps), comedian Rick Overton, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition founder Jack Cole, & performing acts such as Kotton Mouth Kings, Everlast, Rehab, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Hed PE, The Accused, Cypress Hill’s DJ Muggs, Lucero, 7 Year Bitch, Donald Glaude, and over 1,000 other music acts over the last quarter century.





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Past Media Coverage of the Seattle HEMPFEST® Event

Potential Exposure to future clients for your Sponsorship Dollar

Networks with Worldwide Media Footprint

FOX News Channel (Highest Rated Cable Network)

NBC/MSNBC/CNBC (Second highest rated cable network, over 9.6 mil viewers)

CNN (Third highest rated cable network, Covers Hempfest events regularly)

Reuters (Online 133 mil page views w/21 mil unique visits)

ABC (Over 8.6 mil viewers)

CBS (Over 7.4 mil viewers)

BBC (Over 1.5 mil viewers in America)

USA Today (#1 Newspaper in print, 6.6 mil readers daily with print and online)

NPR (26 mil listeners weekly, 19 mil site visits per month)

UStream TV (Global audience, 10 mil registered users, over 60 mil monthly visits)

The Wall Street Journal (Almost 2.3 mil subscribers weekly)

The Huffington Post (Print and Online over 39 mil views/subscribers)

The NorthWest Cable NEWS (Audience over 3 mil in WA, OR, ID & AK)

You Tube (Over 100k Subscribers on multiple Channels w/over a half mil views)

The Washington Examiner (Circulation 100k to 300k weekly)

Associated Press (Worldwide news agency)

LA Times (almost 1 mil subscribers weekly)

Liberation Magazine & Agence France Presse (Cross country pollination potential)


National Clientele Potential Networks

Seattle (Over 4 million readers each month, 1 mil in Seattle alone)

The New York Times (Circulation Over 2 million)

The Seattle Times (Circulation over 340k)

High Times (Circulation over 175k)


Local Exposure Potential

Northwest Cable News (Local to WA, OR, ID, CA, AK, and MT 2.9 mil viewers)

KOMO TV & Radio (#1 local TV station Prime Time & #1 in TV websites page views)

KING 5 TV (#2 local TV station)

KIRO TV (#1 local morning and late night TV station)

Seattle Weekly (Circulation near 100k)

The Stranger (Circulation near 90k)

Facebook (Over 55k personal contacts)

Culture MAGAZINE (Local Circulation in WA 25K @ 500 locations)

Many Local Radio Stations (Millions of listeners statewide)



Contact:  Vivian McPeak (206) 364-4367

Seattle HEMPFEST and Las Vegas Hemp Festival End Franchise agreement

After a three year licensing partnership, the Seattle HEMPFEST® and the Las Vegas Hemp Festival have come to a mutual agreement to terminate the Las Vegas HEMPFEST co-branding.

The Seattle HEMPFEST Est. 1991, is the largest annual cannabis related event, drawing an annual attendance of over 100,000. The Seattle HEMPFEST owns a federal copyright on the term HEMPFEST, and had contracted with the Las Vegas HEMPFEST to use the name in a licensing agreement in an effort to increase brand awareness and reach. After a three year run both organizations have mutually agreed to part ways, with the Las Vegas HEMPFEST assuming a different event name of Las Vegas Hemp Festival

“We wish the Vegas event much success, and we support all responsible cannabis reform events and social gatherings”, says Vivian McPeak, the executive director of Seattle’s flagship cannabis culture event. “The two organizations have a differing vision of what a traditional “Hempfest” event should be, so we have amicably dissolved the licensing relationship to allow Las Vegas event to follow its vision unhindered by the contractual agreements,” continued McPeak.

Other HEMPFEST licensed events are still taking place, including the Boise HEMPFEST (4/15/17), the Oregon HEMPFEST (June 23,24,25, Roseburg, Oregon), Alaska HEMPFEST (June 23, 24, 25 Houston, AK), the Austin HEMPFEST (October of 2017), among others.

For information about the Seattle HEMPFEST, HEMPFEST licensing, and other events, go to:

The Seattle HEMPFEST is one of the most socially responsible cannabis related events in the world. The Seattle HEMPFEST licensing model includes what the organization considers “community values” components, which include:

Voter registration (Our Voter Reg Crew has registered over 5,000 Washingtonians to vote since 2004). Responsible Messaging that targets policies not personalities, and refrains from personal attacks against anyone. As well as Lost and Found, First Aid services, Water availability, ADA access, neighborhood stakeholder outreach and diplomacy, extensive sanitation and clean-up efforts, an internal trained Safety Patrol, and positive relations with local law enforcement.

The Seattle HEMPFEST is produced by Seattle Events a Non-Profit Corporation, a federal non-profit organization, and the event utilizes as many as 1,000 volunteers annually, and costs $750,000 to produce. Info on the 2017 platform, event history, economic impact study, published media, and community values distinctions can be found at:



NEWS ADVISORY                      Contact: Vivian McPeak (206) 295-7258 or (206) 364-HEMP

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE          E-mail: [email protected]

July 31, 2015

The World’s Largest Pot festival says “Set the truth free, we need Cannabis Science, Now!”

SEATTLE, WA — The world’s largest “protestival,” Seattle Hempfest, is calling for the government to remove all legal barriers to scientific study of the cannabis plant, citing various ways that humanity is harmed by the lost potential that medical marijuana and industrial hemp could offer if research and development were allowed.

“It is time for the DEA or Congress to de-schedule cannabis entirely, just like alcohol and tobacco, both of which are known killers. Treat cannabis like other botanical medicines by allowing the scientific community to examine the cannabis plant in every way possible,” says McPeak, Hempfest’s executive director.

“Scientific prohibition has likely cost many lives, as well as quality of life, by thwarting scientific advancement on several fronts,” McPeak continues.

Over 100,000 people are expected to attend the three-day, waterfront legalization rally in one of the first two states to legalize. The 24th annual Hempfest hours are noon to 8 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 14th, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 15th and 16th. The free public spans 1.5 miles and three waterfront parks.

Hempfest features six stages of speakers and music, 400 arts, crafts, food and informational vendors, and remains the most sophisticated marijuana reform rally in the world. Seattle Hempfest features a broad selection of the nation’s leading reform activists as well as authors, politicians, and medical marijuana patients. In past years, Seattle’s current and past Mayor, the president of its city council, its city attorney, a former police chief, a state representative, a state senator, and a former and current U.S. Congressman have participated as guest speakers, which no other reform event has achieved.

Seattle Hempfest recently received international notoriety when the Seattle Police handed out Doritos with a message at the 2013 Hempfest.

Attendees are encouraged to use the new entrance at the Thomas Street Footbridge, found at 3rd Avenue W., between Harrison Street and W. Thomas Street. Pets are not allowed, and organizers ask that attendees not leave pets in their vehicles. Other restricted items include alcohol, narcotics, weapons, fireworks, spray paint, & hand held propane tanks. There is no camping allowed. Attendees are asked not to leave pets in their car.

Additional attendee information, including info on lodging, can be found at



NEWS ADVISORY                    Contact: Vivian McPeak (206) 295-7258 or (206) 364-HEMP

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE        E-mail: [email protected]

Aug. 1, 2014

Seattle Hempfest 2014 Kicks Off 23rd ‘Protestival’

SEATTLE – The world’s largest “protestival,” Seattle Hempfest, is calling for an end to marijuana’s designation as a federal Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. Tens of thousands are expected to attend the three-day, waterfront legalization rally just weeks after the first retail stores have opened in the Evergreen State. The 23rd annual Hempfest hours are noon to 8 p.m. Aug. 15, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 16-17. The admission-free fest spans nearly 1.5 miles and three waterfront parks — Olympic Sculpture, Myrtle Edwards, and Centennial parks. While there is no charge to attend, Hempfest asks for a $10 suggested donation to help pay for the more than $850,000 public event.
“Prohibition has been a catastrophic failure,” says Hempfest Executive Director Vivian McPeak. “If the purpose of prohibition has been to prevent Americans from using pot, then it has been a complete waste of taxpayer dollars. A proven harm reduction approach is the only rational alternative to the counter-productive scorched earth, Orwellian crusade the government has been waging against its own citizens for nearly a century. Prohibition failed with alcohol, and it has failed with marijuana as well.”
Hempfest features six stages of speakers and music, 400 arts, crafts, food and informational vendors, and is the most sophisticated marijuana reform rally in the world. In its 23nd year, Seattle Hempfest features a broad selection of the nation’s leading reform activists. In past years, Seattle’s mayor, the president of its city council, its city attorney, a former police chief, a state representative, a state senator, and U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich have spoken for reform from its main stage, which boasts huge pot leaves suspended high in the air. Expected to speak this year is U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA 48th District).
“I believe that more marijuana has been consumed both at one time, and consecutively, at Hempfest in Myrtle Edwards Park over the last 19 years than any other place in the world, making it the stoniest place on Earth,” says McPeak.
“However, the city has expressed concerns that we at Hempfest share about underage exposure to marijuana smoking, and this year we are erecting two 21-and-over ‘lounges.’ We’re asking adults to limit partaking to those areas. This is consistent with our theme of ‘Time, Place, and Manner,’ as there are new questions about the appropriate response to a post-legalization environment at public events like Hempfest,” adds McPeak.
Attendees are encouraged to use the new entrance at the West Thomas Street Footbridge, found at 3rd Avenue W., between Harrison Street and W. Thomas Street. For more information, go to

Those wishing to avoid the large crowds can watch Hempfest’s livestream from home. For more information, go to

HEMPFEST® Trademark Usage Guidelines

1. The HEMPFEST mark should always be used as an adjective, never as a noun or a verb. This means it should be used as an adjective before a generic noun that defines the product or service. As an adjective, the HEMPFEST mark should not be used in the plural or in the possessive form. EXAMPLE: The HEMPFEST Festival.

2. The registration symbol ® should be used with the mark in superscript immediately after the mark. The symbol should be used with the first occurrence of the mark or with a prominent use of the HEMPFEST mark. Generally, demarcation is not necessary for every occurrence of the mark in an article, press release, advertisement or on a website. However, at a minimum, this identification should occur at least once in each piece, either the first time the mark is used or with the most prominent use of the mark.

3. The HEMPFEST mark should be displayed in a different font or manner to distinguish it from surrounding text. For example, trademarks are often distinguished by using all capital letters or italics. In addition, the generic noun that identifies the product or service should be used immediately after the trademark name at least once in each separate written or broadcast communication, or on each website, preferably the first time that the trademark appears in the material. Additional emphasis can be given by using the word “brand” after the mark or by using the registration symbol discussed above.

The History of the Seattle HEMPFEST® Protestival

(Feel free to re-print any or all of the below of history information, credited to Seattle HEMPFEST®.)

In the fall of 1991 a rogue, insurgent cannabis event emerged in the emerald city of Seattle, an event poised to transform the model of the American pot rally into that of a massive and sophisticated  “protestival” capable of influencing regional and national public policy.

The seeds of the Seattle Hempfest protest-festival were sown a year earlier at the Peaceworks Park Peace Vigil, a six month long continuous political occupation of Gasworks Park that 60s icons Timothy Leary & Allen Ginsberg both visited.

Fresh out of the scorched earth rhetoric of Reagan’s Drug War 80s, and after holding a legalization rally that year in Seattle’s downtown retail core that featured the declamatory pot activist and author, Jack Herer, my fellow organizers and I knew we had to ramp it up to the next level with something big.

We decided on the aptly named Volunteer Park as a venue for the first Seattle Hempfest (which was called Washington Hemp Expo), as much of the original staff consisted of around 20 volunteer members of the Seattle Peace Heathens Community Action Group.

When we got to the venue in the morning we were concerned that so many homeless people were sleeping in the park. As the morning continued we discovered that they were not homeless at all, they were people who had traveled far to attend. A patchwork P.A. system blasted the message as we placed two large budding sinsemilla plants on the stage. Activists, patients, attorneys, and authors, including Jack (who only missed one), addressed the Grunge clad throng of about 500 people as the sun shone brightly down.

It was the next year, 1992, that the event gained the moniker Seattle Hempfest, with over 2,000 hempsters attending. The Herbivores performed that year, eventually becoming the house band.

By ‘93 the event was attracting as many as 5,000 attendees, and we knew we were rapidly outgrowing our humble venue. At this stage we had not yet detected any visible police presence.

In 1994 we relocated to Gasworks Park, ironically the site of an old petroleum plant, its rusty twisted infrastructure still in place. Featuring the vehement female punk band, 7 Year Bitch, ’94 brought out 15,000 people and blew the lid off of Seattle while creating a snarled traffic cluster for miles around. This was the last year that Hempfest was able to exist without charging fees for vending and forming a formal, city-approved security force. The mosh pit that ensued for 7 Year Bitch’s performance put a serious scare on us organizers, as bodies surfed the crowd and the brave and daring dove from the stage like doobies being thrown to the crowd.

As the event grew exponentially in size and notoriety, the cost of production and promotion grew as well. The need for sound equipment, staging, scaffolding, radios, and advertising required the introduction of musical benefits and merchandising to offset the monetary demands of our growing phenomenon. Famed Seattle clubs such as The Ditto, Crocodile Cafe, Rckndy, The Off Ramp, The Weathered Wall, Under the Rail, and The OK Hotel all opened their doors to help raise green energy for the cause.

A growing concern from police, parks department, and neighborhood groups would be reflected in a series of negotiations that would span many months and involve as many subcommittee meetings to determine our ability to meet the new demands of the Special Events Permit that was now required of us. The negotiations culminated with assistance from the ACLU, and required a $1,000,000 insurance policy, the addition of hired licensed, bonded and insured security, emergency evacuation plans, an on-site ambulance and paid EMTs.

Meetings with concerned community groups soon followed, helping to establish Hempfest as a legitimate political rally, not merely a “pot party in the park”, as had been previously claimed by our critics.

But it was in 1995 that the event arrived in its current home, nestled on the downtown Seattle waterfront and in clear view of the Seattle Space Needle. It was in that location that the Hempfest began its conversion into the multi-faceted “protestival” that it is today.

None of us were ready for the success of Seattle Hempfest ’95. The event was now located at Myrtle Edwards Park. The massive crowd of 15,000 was greeted by speakers like Jack Herer, Chris Conrad, Dennis Peron, Bill Conde, and Elvy Musika.

The years that have followed have seen a massive expansion of the event, which today spans 1.5 miles of 3 waterfront parks, features 6 stages of music and speakers, with over 400 arts, crafts, food, and informational vendors. The Seattle Hempfest volunteer force is over 1,000 strong, and the event site is staffed 24 hours for the 11 days it takes to load-in, protest, and tear down for clean up.

A comprehensive list of permit related plans must be submitted and approved each year, including construction, evacuation, security, traffic, parking, first aid, sanitation, & lost child protocol plans. A detailed minute by minute 11 day production schedule must be closely adhered to, and politics requires myself and other organizers to meet annually with community and business organizations to address their concerns.

In ‘98 Washingtonians made hempstory by passing I-692, making medical marijuana legal in our state. Hempfest security was provided by the Q-Patrol, a volunteer community group formed to fight gay bashings in Seattle.

Hempfest ’99 was the last of the century, and tens of thousands of supporters came out to show the world that the Pacific Northwest is a bastion of political awareness and activism. The same year that WTO paralyzed Seattle with property damage and violence, Hempfest kept its reputation as a civil, orderly demonstration against the Drug War as thousands poured into the long park for music, speakers, and a liberal dose of freedom.

2001 saw the introduction of another day to the Hempfest formula. The first-ever two-day Hempfest went off with nary a hitch, breaking records over the course of the two days. The highlight of the event was Woody Harrelson taking the stage at 4:20 to address the screaming crowd of 100,000.

In 2003 Hempfest was a victory party for the Pacific Northwest pot movement as I-75 won by a considerable margin making possession lowest police priority in Seattle.

Almost a decade later a third day is granted in 2011, with performances by the Kottonmouth Kings, the Accused, and Jah Levi. An initiative to legalize cannabis called  I-502 qualified for the ballot in our state, but the heavy restrictions in it fractured the northwest reform community. The Hempfest Core Group was evenly divided, influencing our board to take a shocking neutral position on the initiative.

2012 made prohibition history as  I-502 passed decisively. The Hempfest organization  moved into our current Hempfest Central offices and 420 culture boutique as well. Since that time the organization and event has grown tremendously. We currently have 119 crews under 6 departments, led by 125 Crew Coordinators.

Sponsorships used to be mostly media trades until 2006. They’ve risen dramatically in the past 4 years, THCF being the longest title sponsor, and many other year-over-year sponsors incl. Rick Steves.

Memberships were started in February 2011, to extend our activities, networking and fundraising beyond the August Festival. We’ve grown from 400 to 800 members per year + another 400 “Trial memberships” per year at our events these days to help generate the nearly one million dollars it takes to produce the annual event. Hempfest’s 6 Stages now host over 120 musical acts and 100 guest speakers annually.

Posters and cover art has been produced by an array of graphic artists, including Larry Steiner, Jamie Sheehan and Art Chantry, Tom Erdmann, Cory and Castka Ench, Scott MacDougall, Stanley Mouse, Ernie Cefalu, & winning several national art awards. A 100% hemp burlap 7 Year Bitch poster from 1994 hangs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Seattle Hempfest Human Solution Chapter raised $3,400.85 in 2014 and $1,336 so far in 2015; all donated to pot prisoners serving life sentences.

The Seattle Hempfest Voter Registration crew engaged over 125 volunteers in 2014, registering 1,206 new Washington voters.

The 2015 Seattle HEMPFEST saw Friday eclipsed by torrential rain, and most of the event took place either under the bridge or a canopy that day.

Work is underway for the 2016 25th anniversary Seattle HEMPFEST.

Past speakers have included actor Woody Harrelson, Travel Guru Rick Steves, former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrbacher, former US Congressman Dennis Kucinich, former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel, Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray & former Mayor Mike McGinn, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, State Representative Roger Goodman, State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles, former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper, SPD Spokesman Sean Whitcomb, UCFW Director Dan Rush, former Dallas Cowboys center Mark Stepnoski, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, and Libertarian Party vice presidential candidate Jim Gray.

The Seattle Hempfest protestival has risen to be one of the seminal flagship events of the global cannabis culture, and today, after being forced to protect our brand, we are licensing other Hempfest events so they can take advantage of the experience, the resources, and the vast network that we have developed over the past quarter century.

The entire history, along with hundreds of photos and graphics, is in my book “Protestival: A Twenty Year Retrospective of Seattle Hempfest” is available at

– by Vivian McPeak, Executive Director, Seattle HEMPFEST®

For the full and more detailed history and photos click here: Seattle HEMPFEST® Protestival History

25 national and regional movement goals:

De-Schedule: Cannabis completely off the Federal Schedule / Controlled Substances Act
Removal of Cannabis from all binding treaties
Release of all non-violent cannabis offenders nationally
Reparations in the form of expunction of all records relating to convictions for cannabis possession.
Parental rights / protections for cannabis users
Second Amendment equality protections for cannabis users
Merit based licensing for pot stores (or remove caps on the number of stores to allow a supply and demand based market model)
Legal home-grows
Legal school medicating for minor patients
Workplace protections / job discrimination
Reasonable regulations for concentrates
Restricting pesticides/herbicides/fungicides (organic production standards)
Driving impairment technology (impairment based field test)
Fair, reasonable zoning for cannabis businesses
Tax/banking reform (end 280E restrictions)
Reasonable smell regulations for production facilities and elsewhere
Environmental impact of throw away packaging examined
Public consumption lounges allowed
First Amendment equality in advertising, sponsorship, and promotion for cannabis related businesses
Consumption protections for patients in public housing
Legal domestic industrial hemp production
Tenant /Renter consumption protections
Use in hospitals
Equality protections for transplant patients
Nutritional, sugar-free medical-marijuana “medible” alternatives

Community Values Distinctions of  the Seattle HEMPFEST®

The following list details a few things that we do at Seattle HEMPFEST to reinforce our commitment to our community and our planet.

Responsible Messaging

Seattle HEMPFEST’s leadership worked proactively with Dr. Roger Roffman, formerly of the University of Washington School of Social Work Marijuana Treatment Program, to produce a 10 card handout series that addresses 10 cannabis risk categories, i.e., cannabis and lungs, cannabis and driving, cannabis and teens, etc.. The cards are distributed free of charge at the event, and the info is available on this website as the Gutchecks under the education drop box.

Seattle HEMPFEST respects all first responders greatly and we have proudly proclaimed that at our event every year. From the beginning HEMPFEST declared a “no human enemies” policy, focusing all attacks on issues and policies rather than personalities. We consider HEMPFEST to be a hate-free zone where the focus remains on ending prohibition.

Lost and Found

Hempfest personnel spend several months attempting to return items that have been turned into our Lost and Found during our annual events. Many wallets, purses, cell phones and important pieces of identification are returned to original owners every year. We wish more people would have updated contact info on their valuables.

First Aid  

To aid Seattle HEMPFEST in its Safety First approach the event has a trained volunteer First Aid Staff, complemented by multiple Seattle Fire Department Medic One personnel and a Medic One ambulance parked on-site. Heart defibrillators are secured by Hempfest for use on-site during the event. Hempfest has two people certified as CPR trainers.


Seattle HEMPFEST management makes sure there is an ample supply of water commercially available during the event. In addition, a 3,000 gallon water buffalo truck is secured by Hempfest and located within the event so attendees can access water free of charge. During extreme weather bottled water is also purchased and made available free of charge for specific stage areas where audience members tend to get dehydrated.

Safety Patrol

The Seattle HEMPFEST Safety Patrol is an internal volunteer security force that secures and patrols within the perimeter of the Hempfest event. The HSP members undergo specific safety and de-escalation training, and are trained in the policies of Seattle HEMPFEST. The Safety Patrol coordinates with the Seattle Police and Port of Seattle Police in the course of the event, as well as Burlington Northern Railroad Police, and Amgen/Expedia and Seattle Art Museum security.

Carbon Footprint

Seattle HEMPFEST worked with Lyft to develop offer to attendees for reduced rate in an effort to reduce vehicular impact.

Code Adam Lost Child Protocol

Seattle Hempfest’s Safety Patrol has enacted a Code Adam lost child protocol and training to respond effectively in the case of a missing child at the event.

Community Relations

Every year Hempfest organizers meet with community stakeholders including businesses and residents impacted by the event to listen to and address their concerns. Hempfest spends thousands of dollars every year both to prevent graffiti in and around the event, and to clean graffiti left on public and private property. We use clear pallet wrap to protect vulnerable art installations, light stanchions, and other structures from graffiti and vandalism during the week of the event.

WE spend $10,000 annually to lay steel sheets down on the entry of the Olympic Sculpture Park to protect its structural integrity from our heavy equipment trucks during the load in and load out process. We also pay to light up the Olympic Sculpture Park to prevent graffiti during HEMPFEST weekend. HEMPFEST instituted a “community impact form” on its website where people can upload photos and describe the time, place, and nature of the community impact, be it trash, noise, or some other disruption.


The Seattle HEMPFEST Ecology Crew is a volunteer driven refuse management operation that works almost non-stop within the event to handle the large load of trash the event generates. The Ecology crew is complimented by a paid crew that comes up from Oregon to assist in the sorting for recycle, compost, or landfill. HEMPFEST routinely processes around 500 cubic yards of trash. On average, a cubic yard of loose waste (i.e., a self-haul load) will weigh between 250 and 350 pounds. HEMPFEST contracts with an outside agency to clean the surrounding areas outside of the event where attendee trash can sometimes be present.

Prisoner Support

Seattle HEMPFEST raises funds that are then transferred to the commissary accounts of Americans serving life in prison for nonviolent cannabis offenses. $2,000 was contributed in 2015 alone.

Pet Awareness efforts

Organizers have proactively worked with representatives of the Seattle Animal Shelter to produce prevention and awareness messaging to educate attendees about the danger of pets left in hot cars, and other pet owner issues. For their own protection HEMPFEST is a no pets event. HEMPFEST strictly follows all local, state, and federal service animal laws.

Voter Registration

The Seattle HEMPFEST Voter Registration Crew has registered at the event many people to vote since they began registration efforts in 2009. Here are the numbers: 2009 – 566/2010 – 851/2011 -1,111/2012 -1,803/2013 – 673/2014 -1,206/2015 – 937/2016 -1,992. Total: 9,139

Stage Safety

HEMPFEST has instituted a number of safety procedures for its 6 stages, including a ban on any objects being thrown from its stages, a ban on animals or babies on-stage, ear protection warning signs, and emergency stage clear directives. Specific stage clear rules have been developed to respond to severe weather incidents like lightning and windstorms. Drone use is restricted at Hempfest.

Economic Generator

Seattle HEMPFEST costs $850,000 to produce. In 2014 we worked with a University of Washington professor to develop an economic impact study that revealed that Seattle HEMPFEST festival patrons spent approximately $7.1 million in King County in relation to their visits to the festival. Volunteers and musicians were estimated to have spent $0.226 million in relation to their participation in the festival in King County, while Seattle HEMPFEST Festival exhibitors and food vendors are estimated to have had expenses of $1.8 in relation to participation in the festival in King County. In addition, Seattle HEMPFEST Festival organizers incurred costs of $0.924 million, of which $0.744 million were made in King County. In 2015 Hempfest ATM’s distributed $400,000 on-site.

Educational components

Panel discussions with movement and industry leaders occur each day at the giant 100 foot Hemposium tent, and over 120 speakers participate on 6 stages during every day of HEMPFEST. Organizers have made presentations at colleges and schools in the greater Seattle area, and thousands of community volunteers have received hands on experience in various aspects of event production and management. Members of certain volunteer crews have received free annual training that can be used in their private lives.    

Longest Running Cannabiz in WA state

Built to last, and operating since 1991, the Seattle HEMPFEST organization is the oldest continuous operating cannabis related business or organization in Washington state. See our 2016 platform to see what we have in store for the next 25 years.


Click on image to enlarge. Artwork by Cory and Catska Ench found at

2016 Hempfest poster by cory and catska ench enchgallery dot com small 22016 Hempfest poster by cory and catska ench enchgallery dot com small 2

Economic Impact of Seattle HEMPFES® Festival 2014 on the King County Economy


William B. Beyers
Department of Geography
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-3550
[email protected]


May 2015

Prepared for:
Seattle Events, A Non Profit Corporation, Producers of Seattle HEMPFEST™ Festival, HEMPFEST™, Business & Purveyors of HEMPFEST™ Central


Executive Summary

The Seattle HEMPFEST® Festival is a multidimensional event, with exhibitors, volunteers musicians, food vendors, and thousands of patrons attending the festival over a 3 three period. In 2014 approximately 120,000 persons attended Seattle HEMPFEST Festival. It is estimated that 48.9% of these patrons came from King County, 31.6% from elsewhere in Washington State, and 19.5% from out-of-state. Produced locally, this festival has a significant economic impact on the King County economy. This report is a tentative estimate of these economic impacts, utilizing a mixture of data gathered by Seattle HEMPFES Festival organizers and secondary data measured at similar festivals.

Seattle HEMPFEST Festival patrons spent approximately $7.1 million in King County in relation to their visits to the festival. Volunteers and musicians were estimated to have spent $0.226 million in relation to their participation in the festival in King County, while Seattle HEMPFEST Festival exhibitors and food vendors are estimated to have had expenses of $1.8 in relation to participation in the festival in King County. In addition, Seattle HEMPFEST Festival organizers incurred costs of $0.924 million, of which $0.744 million were made in King County. Exhibitors and food vendors incur expenses in setting up and taking down their exhibits/booths, as well as in their operation. It should be noted that each of the groups incurs expenses that are made outside King County in relation to their participation in Seattle HEMPFEST Festival; these expenses are not included in this study.

Each of these streams of expenditures were brought together in a model of the King County economy, known as an input-output model. This model, derived from the 2007 Washington State input-output model, allows estimates of indirect and induced economic impacts related to the streams of spending described above. 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. Labor income is the combination of direct earnings (wage and salary) plus estimated benefits/indirect labor expenses such as employee benefits). This model was used to estimate selected tax revenue impacts, which totaled $1.2 million. This estimate includes sales taxes (both state and local tax distributions), the lodging tax, and state and local business and occupation tax.

It should again be emphasized that these estimates should be regarded as provisional. Their accuracy could be improved through better survey data from each of the participants in Seattle HEMPFEST Festival.

The entire economic impact study can be found at the “About” drop down box (the first one on the top black bar on our homepage header).