Archive for August, 2018

sharon whitson

How To Do Hempfest


Friday Noon – 8 PM, Sat, Sun, 10 AM – 8 PM

August 17, 18, 19, Myrtle Edwards Park and Centennial Park, Pier 70

$10 Suggested Donation

By Vivian McPeak

The 27th annual Seattle HEMPFEST “protestival” will feature 4 stages of political speech and musical support (featuring roughly 200 guest speakers and musical performances). In addition, HEMPFEST will consist of 350 arts, crafts, food, and informational vendors, a gigantic “circus tent” with panel discussions, and an hour long indigenous tribute to the Standing Rock struggle at the Main Stage on Saturday.

The following is additional information that attendees may find helpful. Additional info on Lodging, Bands and Speakers, Memberships, Friday Night VIP Party, ADA Info, Event Map, and Online Merchandise, and more, can be found at 365 days of the year.


Seattle HEMPFEST is held the third weekend in August each year. Seattle Hempfest is open to the public on Friday from 12 Noon to 8 pm, and on Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 8 pm.  

Admission to Seattle HEMPFEST is free, but free speech is not!  It will cost $800,000 to produce Seattle HEMPFEST this year and without your donations we would not exist. Please remember donate what you can and keep Hempfest alive! We are asking for a $10 donation for your ability to enjoy over 100 musical acts, as many guest speakers, & hundreds of vendors

Seattle Hempfest is a constitutionally protected free-speech event; therefore HEMPFEST cannot restrict access based upon age or admission fee. There are no age restrictions for attending Seattle HEMPFEST. We suggest that minors wishing to attend Hempfest discuss the matter with the appropriate parent or guardian first. The passage of Initiative I-502 did not change the admission policy of HEMPFEST.

You can stay home and watch HEMPFEST on the livestream at or download the Hempfest App, also found at

How do you get to Hempfest?  

Our new NO WAIT entrance, The West Thomas Street Pedestrian and Bicycle Overpass, is accessible at 3rd Ave W & W Harris Streets just north of Seattle Center.  This entrance has great parking potential being just 4 blocks north of Key Arena.  It’ll take your right across the vehicle moat – Elliot & Western Avenues, where people risk their lives jaywalking to get to Hempfest.  Save a life!  Take The West Thomas Street Pedestrian and Bicycle Overpass!

To access the North Entrance, across the Amgen Pedestrian Bridge off of W Prospect Street. It has an elevator and is wheelchair accessible, placing the avid attendee just north of Seattle HEMPFEST’s north entrance. There is very little parking at W Prospect Street. So your best bet is to walk, bike, or take a metro bus to that location. For example, take metro bus 18 to north entrance, and 15 to south entrance. There are many other Metro buses routes that can drop you at either entrance too. Bicycles should enter through the North entrance to utilize the bike racks.

To access the South Entrance, along with tens of thousands of other people, enter the Olympic Sculpture Park on Alaskan Way W. Be prepared for potential detours and follow the signs and/or monitor’s directions if needed. Downtown Seattle has several parking garages. Attaching bikes to the fence at Olympic Sculpture Park is not allowed.

Do not try and cross the railroad tracks in the north end, or jump the fence. One year BNSF Police wrote 11 tickets for people on tracks, and it is not worth risking your life.

What Not to Bring

Remember, No Pets, No Alcohol, No Narcotics, No Weapons (No guns or fixed blade knives, etc), No Unauthorized vending, and NO Private Sound Systems are allowed. Folding pocket knives (3-1/2″ or smaller) are OK. There is also No Camping, No Propane Torches, No Aerosol Spray Paint, and No Fireworks allowed. You can bring unopened plastic bottles of water, but don’t bring it in a glass bottle, and don’t bring a commercial amount.

We will be forced turn away attendees carrying more than the maximum amount of personal cannabis allowed by state law. Anyone possessing a commercial amount of cannabis, or cannabis (edibles, flower, or oil) that appears to be separately bagged or packaged for sales will also be turned away. Please be aware that public consumption of marijuana is not legally permitted under I-502.

Note: It is an enhanced felony to sell cannabis, cannabis food, or other drugs in a city park. People selling cannabis, cannabis infused foods (edibles), and illegal drugs inside Seattle Hempfest will be ejected from the event, and could risk arrest and prosecution.

Illegal Street Vending

Warnings and citations were issued by city officials to illegal vendors in the past – Ticket fees range from $500 – $1200 and risk of confiscation. Street vending requires both a city biz license and a street vending permit from Dept. of Licensing. People selling water, food, paraphernalia, edibles, and other items illegally outside of HEMPFEST will be targeted by city enforcement employees.  You can purchase a Hempfest Blanket Vending space for only $420, much less than the ticket!


Don’t bring pets to HEMPFEST or Leave Pets in vehicle. Cars left in direct sunlight turn into lethal ovens, reaching fatal temperatures of 130 degrees or more within just a few minutes.

Even dogs left locked in cars in the shade with the windows cracked on hot days are at risk of brain damage or death. Dogs must cool themselves through panting and their systems can’t handle high temperatures.

Also, be aware that vinyl seats in vehicles get hot under animals’ feet and prevents them from perspiring through their paws.

Pet owners can be held criminally liable for committing cruelty to animals if a pet dies, or is found suffering from heat prostration.  If you see an animal that may be in need of assistance, or if you have questions, contact the Seattle Animal Shelter at (206) 386-7387 (PETS).

Seattle Hempfest complies with Washington State service animal laws. Service animal owners may be required to show that they have “poop-bags.”

Getting to Hempfest

Note: During Set-Up (August 13–16) and Tear-Down (August 20-22) bicyclists and pedestrians should use caution and take the West Path. Please don’t go at your normal speed and remain aware. For public safety, BICYCLE RIDERS MUST DISMOUNT during Seattle Hempfest event days (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, August 17-18.) That includes ALL 3 DAYS DURING EVENT HOURS.

Perhaps the best way to get to HEMPFEST is by bike. Myrtle Edwards Park is part of the Elliott Bay Trail which connects to the massive Burke Gilman Trail. One may easily navigate the regional trail system from Sammamish, Lake Forest Park, Bothell, Kirkland, etc. Please be aware of a detour along the canal due to Expedia construction. Alaska Way West has a dedicated bike lane.

When approaching on the Burke-Gilman, one has two main routes. The first option is to cross the historic Fremont Bridge, the most frequently opened drawbridge in the United States. Take a left onto Westlake and ride along the west side of Lake Union all the way downtown.

The second option is to ride the Burke-Gilman to the Ballard Locks, which are open from 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. daily. After crossing the locks, coast through Magnolia, and into the magnificent train yards before hitting the glistening waterfront. If the locks are closed, take the 15th Ave Bridge, right on Dravus, left on 20th and down by the train yards.

To the south, the Elliott Bay Trail runs past downtown to SoDo and the stadiums, where one can (sort of) connect with the I-90 trail or continue south along Alaskan/Marginal Way to hook up with the West Seattle Bridge.

Mon-Thurs (August 13-16), and Mon-Wed (August 20 – 22) from 7:30-8:30 AM is vehicle free time on East path of Myrtle Edwards and Centennial parks. HEMPFEST vehicle traffic is suspended for that hour during weekday set-up and tear-down to respect morning bike commuters who use the parks.

Attaching bikes to the fence at Olympic Sculpture Park is not allowed.


Did you know that you can skip the long lines at the south entrance of HEMPFEST, and enjoy many Hempfest parties throughout the year (each with dinner and entertainment on us), all for a small annual membership? What better way to support HEMPFEST? Share this tip with your friends! So don’t walk up the stairs!  Walk towards the fountain and enter Hempfest like the VIP you are!

Starting at only $30/year (not much more than the $10 suggested donation for the 3-day Festival), HEMPFESTmembership is your special access pass to the express VIP Entrance along Alaskan Way, and to many year-round events including a costumed Tokers Ball on Halloween, more parties in December and February, a huge 420Fest for 4/20.

Come network with cannabis activists, entrepreneurs and enthusiasts, write letters to pot prisoners, get informed about prohibition and reform efforts, browse hemp merchandize or win raffle prizes, while enjoying free food and music, all-inclusive for a small $30 annual Membership!

Higher levels also include exclusive perks like Member & VIP shirts, backstage visits at Hempfest, or invitations to our official on-site VIP Party Friday night, with all the Speakers and HEMPFEST VIPs. Go to for info.

Lost and Found Items

If you lost an item at Seattle HEMPFEST, we may have it! We keep found items for 60 days after each Hempfest. Call or email a detailed description of your lost item, including your full name, phone and email, and if we have it we will get it back to you. We go to great lengths to attempt to get attendee’s lost property back to them, but it makes it much easier if you contact us proactively. If we have it we’ll try hard to get it to you. We cannot hang onto people’s lost items for long, so please be on top of it. If we are still on-site immediately after HEMPFEST, you can check for your lost item at our Operations Compound, just south of the King County pump house, the brick building at the junction of paths in Myrtle Edwards Park.

After we pull out on Wednesday, August 22, call us at 206-36-4HEMP or email us at [email protected] 

The Most Socially Responsible Cannabis Reform Event 

In addition to being the largest annual free speech event in America, and the world’s largest cannabis reform event, Seattle HEMPFEST has many components that qualify it as the most socially responsible cannabis reform event, including, but not limited to:

  • Renting extra AED (heart defibrillators) because of the length of our event
  • Registering almost 10,000 attendees to vote during the event
  • Proactively working with Seattle Animal Shelter on protecting pets and messaging to pet owners
  • Proactively contacting Fish and Wildlife asking them to close the Pier in centennial Park during Hempfest for environmental reasons
  • Responsible messaging from our stages (for 25 years) reinforcing our sincere respect for all first responders (including LEOs)
  • Spending 2 months annually in an effort to track down the owners of our extensive lost and found items
  • Instituting a Code Adam lost child protocol and training to respond effectively in the case of a missing child at the event QM Volunteers
  • Operating an ecology crew is a (both paid and volunteer) refuse management operation that works almost non-stop within the event to handle the large load of trash the event generates; sorting for recycle, compost, or landfill, and routinely processing an average of around 500 cubic yards of trash. Hempfest leaves the parks spotless, and even picks up thousands of cigarette butts
  • In 2014 Hempfest 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 (Full study found on tab at
  • Aggressively enforcing a no illegal sales policy with our trained, volunteer Safety Patrol (our internal security team).
  • Seattle Hempfest maintains a Toxic Spill Kit, a Graffiti Removal Kit, & multiple Stop the Bleed Kits.

Past guest speakers at Seattle HEMPFEST 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 Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, former Libertarian vice presidential nominee Judge Mike Gray, etc.

Over 1,000 musical acts have performed at Seattle Hempfest.


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sharon whitson

Jimmy Romans, one of the reasons Hempest is precious to me!

August 7, 2018 The phone rang at Hempfest Central today and it was Jimmy Romans calling from the Greenville Federal Prison in Illinois.  Jimmy, who had his LIFE without parole sentence reduced to 30 years in 2017, is one of our adopted cannabis prisoners.

I love it when Jimmy calls!  We have great conversations about legalization and how it’s spreading and our thoughts on where it is going. 

We had a lot to talk about this time! We chatted about our letter writing campaign that Kristen Flohr is championing. Kristen’s father, Richard Flor, ran a state legal medical cannabis store in Montana, died chained to a bed while in Federal custody on charges for running this store!  How crazy and sad is that!  Imagine loosing your parent this way.  To top it off, her own mother who helped run the state legal business, was prosecuted and sent to prison too!   Kristen is an amazing activist who has put her life’s blood into supporting those in prison for cannabis.  I’m proud to be working with her!

We chatted about how excited I am for Natalie DePriest to be at Hempfest this year.  Natalie and her brother are co defendants in a case where 12 plants got them each 15 years in prison! Her brother David is still in prison.  Part of their prosecution also requires that that two co defendants have no further contact.  They are siblings!  Really?  No contact ever?  Does this seem right to you?   Natalie will be speaking from our stages and participating in our Cannabis POW panel on the Hemposium Stage.

Jimmy loved hearing how George Martorano will be producing the Atlantic City Hempfest next year!  Having one of our released prisoners actually carry on our legacy on the east coast is an emotional win and extraordinary experience as someone who has put her heart into helping those the drug war has harmed. 

Jimmy always asks how we are doing and shares his overwhelming gratitude for all that we do. 

Thank you everyone who has signed a card or letter, bought a raffle ticket, or written to Jimmy. 

We are making a difference and we are not giving up until Jimmy and all the cannabis prisoners are set free! 

Remember to visit the 420 POW area in booth 491 on the side of Stone Village that faces the bridge.  Sign a letter for Jimmy and for all the other prisoners they are representing.  We will win this war!

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