Monday, April 21, 2014

Denver 420 Festival

Some festivals are simply not fun at all. Such is Denver 420 festival. Don't bother.

In fact, don't bother with any like music festival in Denver. Here is why.

Safety and Public Information:

The following items are NOT ALLOWED at The Official 420 Rally:
  • Weapons of Any Kind, including Fireworks or Explosives of Any Kind
  • Large Framed Backpacks (Hiking Backpacks, etc.)
  • Glass Containers and Metal Aerosol Cans, including Sunscreen in Aerosol Cans.
  • Outside Food or Drinks (including Alcohol), except Two Factory-Sealed Water Bottles (up to 1 Liter each)
  • Skateboards, Scooters or Personal Motorized Vehicles
  • Carts, Tents & Chairs of Any Kind
  • Hard-Sided Coolers
  • Pets (except Service Dogs)
  • Professional Recording (Photo, Video, Audio) Equipment (NO Large Professional Detachable Zoom Lenses, Tripods or Other Commercial Equipment
  • No Unauthorized/Unlicensed Vendors Allowed. No Unauthorized Solicitations, Handbills, Sampling, Give-Aways, etc.
The camera thing is a matter of my free speech. It is how I communicate about my experience. Yes, pocket cameras are allowed, phone cameras are quite good these days, so no real hard complaint there, but I cannot use a wide angle and get the whole thing nor telephoto zoom and get right up on the stage.  I cannot compose a shot as I choose and I am being invited to a musical experience but while disallowed to take anything with me of any fidelity of use. I do not accept the terms.

Let all your memories be fuzzy.

I am invited to pursue press credentials if I like, and that sure is kind and considerate but should not be necessary in a free land. I am invited to try to join the guild for something I am able to do as free citizen. But this is your private party so have it your way. I'm no longer interested. You are no fun. My attitude is just leave. You leave.

Making the Most of Your 420 Rally Experience
  • Radiate Positivity – Amendment 64 was the culmination of years of hard work and dedication. Celebrate this collective achievement with a smile on your face and a buzz in your heart as we’re all together in our effort to educate the world about the benefits of our beloved plant
Ha! While I sit there and fold my hands and behave. Or wander around and look at your information. Pic up some pot-trinkets as Mardi Gras. No thank you. I do find it a bit silly celebrating having something we should have all along. And still treading on eggshells about it besides. Celebrate incremental progress at reattaining our birthright. That is wonderful. And all I have to do is follow your instructions on how to have a good time.
  • Share
  • Respect your City Park
  • Get involved
  • Have fun!
  • Be prepared
Too many imperatives for me.

You are asked how to get there and you answer, "Go green, take the bus."  What we need to know is where are the entrances. A map would be helpful. It is a large park.

Logically there will be an entrance on Broadway. That way is blocked with construction. The opposite way to Acoma leads directly to the heart of the park. Acoma stops being a street and becomes a pedestrian plaza spanning 2 blocks in front of the Art Museum. It ends at the D.P. Library and the entrance to the first art museum. 14 St curves to accommodate Civic park.

A female guard stands at a gap in the gate, she is black, that is relevant later, she directs people to follow the curve, the curved street now fenced off. The entrance is Bannock and 14th right at the start of the curve, the point of the original art museum, a bit of a strange intersection with sidewalks because the curve continues to 15th which is Colfax, the other edge of the park.

"Your setup is handicap-unfriendly."

"I know. We brought that up with the organizers this morning."

"What did they say?"


When I do get to point B, the entrance, access denied. The fence curves around the pointed building  like a hairpin following the sidewalk down Bannock the opposite direction away from the park, forcing pedestrians to keep on the sidewalk in a channel between fence and building the full length of the block. It took a lot of effort putting up all that fencing. The direction I just walked. I am 10 feet away from point B, the proper entrance, and ridiculously herded away from it down the street to point C, back toward home. Everybody is. Thousands of people throughout the day herded around as cattle away from the park to walk the exact same length back to the entrance. No signage at all, this way or that to avoid that inconvenience for thousands, only people all around to direct you which way to circumlocute the perimeter with added block-long spikes to accommodate safety.

A groundskeeper on the opposite side of the fence saw my plight, or rather heard it.

"Oh, Bullshit!"

An outburst that runs counter to the positive energy we are instructed to radiate. The man, a large dude, kindly offered to open the fencing. The segments are hooked but not locked. Here the fencing is tall and heavy, seven feet or so and the man could not unhook them, but he did try. He arbitrarily decided logically where the previous guard did not with an easier fence.

Both these people were friendly and gracious and tried to stick with their direct instructions. The man saw the whole thing ridiculous but now at this point the rally is decidedly handicapped-hostile. I have no interest in joining these people, I don't give a flat crap about their celebration anymore.

I had hopped to get photos, but now I don't care.

I will have none of it. Goodbye. I returned the way I arrived. I would not walk down the street and return to the same spot to satisfy their arrangement of security baffling. Screw that, and with prejudice.

These seem profane un-Easter-like thoughts.

As I pass by the original guard I notice her talking to two large black men. She is telling them the same thing she has already told thousands. I feel sorry for her. But then she opens the gap and allows them to pass.

I'm am already quite cross and then I saw that. I yell at her from a short distance my voice bounces between library and art museum.

"Now we see how things work."

Flushed with shame she offered me access, kindly and graciously as can be. She really was sweet about the whole thing and flustered besides.  I have no idea if those men were musicians or what. Most the lineup is black. Anything is possible. But the guilt that she felt for being forced to deny access at first, walking with two canes, too bad for me, then observing her allowing two men her same race, she knows intimately how racism stings, and I wanted the accusation of racism to sting too. I wanted her to feel it, feel how being thought racist stings even as racism has nothing to do with it. She will not have a chance to explain. Whatever that was it has the appearance of racism. That is what I am feeling. Crap Easter thoughts all around.

You hurt me as handicapped
You hurt me by behaving openly racist toward me
You hurt me as photographer
You hurt me as American who expect freedom pretty much everywhere.

And it is all so arbitrary.

I walked home, feeling flat, feeling, hey, this victim thing is a bit of fun, and the festival of everyday life picks right up where overly restrictive rallies let down.

A black man dressed in a suit approached me briskly in a tight hallway arm extended, "Chip!"

I never do recognize my neighbor. I never am sure it is him. He dresses differently every time I see him and he actually does look like a different man each time. It is bizarre. He grabbed my hand and crushed it, pumped my arm vigorously as if coins would pop out my mouth,

"Thank you for taking care of my man back there, Chip. That was excellent."

I'm loving it but I have no idea what he is talking about. I never took care of anyone's man.

Oh. The "Do you guys want a beer?" thing. They were laying out on the hall. Locked out. I asked if  they need use of a bathroom while waiting, I have one right here but they said no. But then I could still hear them and a long time elapsed so I opened the door and asked them, come on. The two men spun in the air like tigers. Impressively. They were lying flat on their back on the hallway carpet, blur, then standing in front of me. Amazing. We three had a beer. Two women oddly chose to stay put.  One guy lingered and finished his beer and we talked for awhile. That must have been it.

I am hungry and do not want to cook and it is Easter. A new restaurant nearby, two in fact, I can check those, but they're closed. One shop is opened, I walk in, use their cash machine and take a hundred dollars. A lot of people in there. "Chip!"

The owner's voice. I hadn't been there in months. The last time I dropped in with some pretzels fresh out of the oven with mustard I made from powder. We shared them right in their shop and that is why they like me. I told them this story. "Aw, Chip, what a bummer. Here, have a t-shirt. We have one left." And that is how I ended up with this splendid heartbeat t-shirt celebrating Denver's 420 world-wide celebration without having entered the park.

There is no place to talk back to this organizer's site that is linked except to sign up to volunteer and participate otherwise. So I used that to tell them I'd volunteer to knock their heads together for making things difficult.

These things are boring. The same folding cubical information kiosks, the same food, the same rapid fencing, the same portable toilets, the same choking at entrances, arbitrary rules, maybe even the same people over and over for all I know. It is a huge crowd, a lot of visitors, and 2nd rate music. That is all.


Shouting Thomas said...

Very funny.

All hipster events become obsessed with a lengthy set of rules. Rainbow tribe events, too.

Aridog said...

Chip...great description (really really good!) of the event and what isn't fun. Some time ago I got that attitude about most large hip gatherings...they always seemed more regulatory than the military or federal government, both where I worked. But I am an old dude. As I age inconvenience irritates me more and more.

It is appropriate that hipster events be overly IS what they do, after all is said and done.

Lem said...

Somebody is holding a refer, a marihuana roll in the picture at the bottom.

It's a thought they are marketing to that populace.

Whatever happened to - not in front of the children?

Shouting Thomas said...

Years ago, when my doggie, Annie, was still living in this vale of tears, we took a daily walk/run/swim to Cooper Lake in Woodstock.

At first, no problem. She loved water, and she just went wild. No leash.

Then the DEC assigned a guy to patrol the gravel road around the lake. If he caught us in the act of swimming, he warned us that he was gonna run us in. So, Annie and I took to swimming at midnight.

Now, the road is festooned with signs warning that letting your doggie run free without a leash is a crime punishable by... something or other.

The hippies love rules. Fun must be strictly regulated.

The Dude said...

Woodstock was better.

virgil xenophon said...

I would echo my contemporary Aridog, by saying great descriptive writing, Chip. Detailed and inclusive yet free-flowing and image imaginative as opposed to mere composite lists the details of the atmospherics

(BTW, I had NO idea you were to some degree disabled. I somehow had you pegged as the active out-doorsey rock-climbing type. Backstory please if not too painfully personal?)

bagoh20 said...

I'm constantly railing against this stuff in my life. Everytime something goes wrong at work, everyone recommends a new rule or policy you have to deal with everyday to prevent what only happened once in decades. Consultants are constantly recommending drug testing, or some kind of screening or extensive rules and written policies. I almost always refuse. You don't need a rule to fix everything, and they generally don't work anyway, yet cost you something valuable. We don't seem to see or value what we lose from this neurotic conformity.

bagoh20 said...

Me and my gal (a scottish lass) went to the Celtic festival last week in Las Vegas. It had some of that stuff, but was relatively easy going with friendly happy drinking in abundance. I did really appreciate seeing so many women in pleated skirts. That's always a good thing. Unfortunately I also had to share some time with my girl behind the stage looking up the skirts of the musicians. That's more hairy ass than I every wanted to see, so I would like a rule requiring underwear... just for the men.

ndspinelli said...

ST, You had a dog named, Annie! Was it aloof and condescending?

Shouting Thomas said...

Annie was the sweetest, most lovable Springer Spaniel ever, but I see what you're getting at.

Annie the doggie preceded any awareness of Annie the fag hag.

I'd love to have a Springer again, but... well... I don't know.

ndspinelli said...

ST, We had a 14 year old Springer we put down last summer. She would run out in the woods all day. She was very skittish, as is their wont, and was terrified of thunderstorms. She complemented our big Golden Retriever. Coco was her name.

I'm loving sweating Annie sweat bullets. No triple digit threads forever now. She put up a baseball post and pimping men to blast her lack of knowledge. She ran the hetero guys outa there. Shakespearean all the way.

edutcher said...

The new Puritans.

Shouting Thomas said...

The hippies love rules. Fun must be strictly regulated.

They always did.

I'm Full of Soup said...

Great recap Chip. Your mind sure works so much faster than mine ever could. The thoughts and ideas just spew out of you into the page.

Third Coast said...

Several things I avoid at all costs if possible.
Large musical events of the type Chip has described so eloquently.
Large cities.
NFL football games.
Locally we do have family oriented blue grass type musical events that are a pleasure to attend.

Amartel said...

Great. No access to the First Amendment Zone. It's like the government "allowed" this lunacy so it feels free to slack on other "entitlements" (access) that it has "allowed." And it does not occur to the rainbow tribe that they ARE the Man now.
In the mocking words of Greg Gutfeld: I HATE THESE PEOPLE.

bagoh20 said...

I remember going to my first Renaissance Faire back in the early eighties when it was still a local and relatively obscure event. I had just arrived in California, and had a bunch of very fun new friends, who were also all new immigrants from Pennsylvania. I was blown away with how wild it was. The rules of modern society were gone, and almost anything was tolerated, and it created an incredibly fun and liberating day with people just stepping outside themselves in ways I never experienced before. A true escape from daily life.

Then with the Faire's success came corporate investment, local government involvement, and lawyers, and then the whole thing turned to shit with more rules than a tour of a nuclear installation.

ndspinelli said...

Third Coast, We were in Durango a week ago and stumbled into a bluegrass festival.

ndspinelli said...

NFL games are not for kids or people over 50 any longer. I still go, but it is a chore.

Fr Martin Fox said...


Again, I love your writing.

Trooper York said...

Great post Chip.

Festivals and street fairs just suck. They are doing the annual street fair on Court St and it is going to be an ordeal as always. You have people walking in carrying food and demanding to use the bathroom. No shoppers just lookie-lous and morons. I lock the door and only open up to real customers while they set up a table outside selling cheap sunglasses and knock off jewelry.

Who needs that crap?

ndspinelli said...

They call him Sunshine Jimmy, the friendly store owner,

Bleach Drinkers Curing Coronavirus Together said...

It's interesting how many words you devote to describing your boredom.

Bleach Drinkers Curing Coronavirus Together said...

I remember going to my first Renaissance Faire back in the early eighties when it was still a local and relatively obscure event. I had just arrived in California...

Lol. Did they have an axe throwing competition? I'm getting a mental image of Daniel Day Lewis in Gangs of New York

Bleach Drinkers Curing Coronavirus Together said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bleach Drinkers Curing Coronavirus Together said...

So is this post really about Chip's surprise/dismay that a marijuana rally is aiming to show just how law-abiding its participants are? Gee, what a chin-scratcher on that. I really wonder why they would strive for such an example.

It always seems that at the core of these extended posts there's always a really basic, obvious, completely missed point.

bagoh20 said...

"Lol. Did they have an axe throwing competition?"

Absolutley - knives, axes, spears, rocks, midgets. There was a throwing competion for everyone, but the most popular, was the "Drench a Wench" arena where they would line up women, and guys would launch wet sponges at them. If you hit one, she not only got to be soaking wet in a bustier, but had to kiss you, and not a peck on the cheek. Then the sexes were reversed. That's an example of the kind of fun that was soon banned or downgradesd to boring rules early on, becuase some people hate seeing others having fun.

I think they still have that game, but now you must be married to the woman, have a psychological exam and interview by a PhD in Women's Studies. The wet sponge and breasts are represented digitally on a big screen as an animated mountain range and a cumulous cloud which you manuever with a mouse and right click to launch. No kissing or even staring is permitted. You are required to appologize to all womankind in writing if you are successful. It's not as popular a game as it was back in the day.

There was a substantial amount of hooking up with strangers at these events back then. I mean it is called a "Pleasure Faire" to this day becuase of what it once was.

Chip Ahoy said...

Who said they were bored? Poor little fellow, reads and reads and reads and reads searching searching searching for something to be contrarian.

Anyone willing to accept ridiculous -- laws is it? -- doesn't deserve the liberty they assemble to celebrate.

Did you get the part of thousands being inconvenienced for nothing? Nothing. Nothing save some fascist impulse.

Another side effect of that is visitors rightfully believed their non-human family members would be welcome, but like people with "cameras with detachable lenses" are turned away. That resulted a lot of people lingering around the whole golden triangle area with dogs on leashes. Awesome dog show right there on the streets. They too were -- law is it? -- abiding citizens.

bagoh20 said...

To be fair, the stupid restrictions were likely the decision of a very small group of people with the "benefit" of legal advice, and under some threats from "authorities" "protecting the community".

In other words it was someone's job to try and prevent giving some asshole a rerason to sue and steal a bunch of money from taxpayers. If given that responsibility, there isn't really much else you can do. Even stupid policies give you the excuse of at least trying to make it safe when they come after you.

I blame lawyers, lawsuit whores, and artists who imagine they will lose millions by having that great performance of their's seen for free by people.

It's always about the money, even when it seems to be somethings else, and especially when it's people who claim that money isn,t important to them.

bagoh20 said...

I love this Epic browser, but since it has no spell checker, I'm afraid it's gonna get ugly in my comments. Just deal with it. What? You wanna make a rule or something?

Bleach Drinkers Curing Coronavirus Together said...

Awwww... Chippie! Isn't it quite the bummer that, unlike yourself, other people are literate enough to actually read what you put to the page. Morsels like this are actually pretty easy to find:

Some festivals are simply not fun at all. Such is Denver 420 festival. Don't bother. (First lines of post).


These things are boring.

(Opening of last paragraph of post).

The rest of the damn thing, much like Chippie's thoughts on (to be fair, not just this one, but) any Denver music festival, need not be read. And trust me, I didn't.

As for whatever premise could be found in your typically preachy-but-always-pretending-to-oppose-preachiness post, that's already been addressed. But I'll emphasize, that someone incapable of appreciating how to effectively contribute to an effort to change laws, doesn't need to advise others on which laws to violate as a protest against their existence. The next time you effectuate the change of what you consider to be an unjust or misguided or stupid law, that's when I'll take seriously your pointless, scattershot advice on civil disobedience.

Bleach Drinkers Curing Coronavirus Together said...

To be fair, the stupid restrictions were likely the decision of a very small group of people with the "benefit" of legal advice, and under some threats from "authorities" "protecting the community".

In other words it was someone's job to try and prevent giving some asshole a rerason to sue and steal a bunch of money from taxpayers. If given that responsibility, there isn't really much else you can do.


Bag gets it. Being more a contributor than a critic/complainer prepares him well for understanding the point.

BTW, I like the (new?) sunglasses shot.

bagoh20 said...
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bagoh20 said...

I still agree it's stupid. In fact, I'm saying something worse. I'm saying it's cruel and corrupt, becuase the system gives people who are just trying to have a good time a crappy choice: screw up everyone's fun, or pay trail lawyers (a Democrat's best friend) and their clients.

rcocean said...

Shorter R&B: Hey, Look at me, Look at me...won't someone look at me... contrarian here...disagree with me, argue with me... fight with me...


bagoh20 said...

As a Democrat, I'm just such a dissapointment.

bagoh20 said...

"trail lawyers"

Yep, you can't get away from them no matter where you go.

Fr Martin Fox said...


You may be able to get away from trial lawyers. When I was in Europe and Turkey, I was thinking, no trial lawyers here...

There were so many places without guardrails, handrails, etc.

The Dude said...

Yeah, what's up with Epic's epic lack of spell check? That needs fixed.

Aridog said...

R & B ....a couple questions for you: Just how many of these very large community gatherings, fairs, or festivals, have you actually attended? One, two a dozen, more? How many in Denver CO? In order to witness the efficacy of these laws and rules (that are not in fact law at all) you righteously defend.

Example of a "rule" with no reason: disallowing cameras with "detachable" lenses. Tell me how that secures the affair?

Example of a stupid rule: allowing back packs of any kind...hello Boston? To attend a festival where no outside food or drink is allowed, no camping, etc...why are any backpacks allowed?

TrooperYork said...

I remember when my wife dragged me to see Celine Dion in Vegas. They collected everyone's cameras and cell phones and the line to get them back was like the DMV.

Luckily I slept through the whole thing.

TrooperYork said...

When we went to see the cheesy "Rat Pack Lives" show at the extremely low rent "Greek Isles" casino one of the performers took a photo with an audience member while he was singing during the show.

That is the kind of show you want to go see. Everybody had a lot of fun.

Aridog said...

Jim ... vis a vis handing over cell phones and cameras...nope I could not do that. Several reasons, all good...directly related to personal privacy (mine) and potential access to personal information.

I'd just be out the cost of the tickets. My cell phone I will turn off if advised to do so, and will pay a fine if I fail to comply. Fair enough. Camera, same thing...but I will retain possession, following instructions. Just because maybe 2% of a given group would violate the guidance is not a reason to punish me or handle my stuff. You have security toss the violators out. Leave me alone. Simple.


TrooperYork said...

It is the compulsive over regulation of every segment of our lives that sucks so much.

It used to be that when you went to the ball game you were only prohibited from bringing in alcohol. Now that made sense. You don't want some one bringing in bottles of booze and getting hammered and spoiling it for everyone. Plus they have the right to sell the beer and make a few bucks. But now they have banned all outside food. I mean you used to bring a big sandwich and some snacks to the game and all of that is outlawed. You can't even bring in a bag except for the ladies purses. WTF?

It is like Russia or something. Except Russia probably lets you bring in outside blintzes to the hockey game.

TrooperYork said...

I blame Bush.

He started all that TSA bullshit.

Aridog said...

I blame Bush

You too? IMO the single sorriest thing done during the Bush administration was to create the Department of Homeland Security. Anyone with 20 minutes experience in government, especially federal, who was honest, could have told him that it would be just one more giant organizational cluster f*ck. It is simply fact that "reorganization" always adds useless bloat. Always.

Problem was...his advisors were all of the "institutionalized" beltway kind: come to DC, never leave, do nothing productive but move in and out of one administration after another. Like Obama today, advised regularly by a Reagan appointee by the name of Erik Holder. Well, Bush had his Nixon staff named Cheney and Rumsfeld.

I sometimes think we kid ourselves when we think who we elect makes a difference in is the crew they assemble maybe...and we get no vote on them.

TrooperYork said...

The new boss? Same as the old boss.

You are only rooting for the laundry.

Bleach Drinkers Curing Coronavirus Together said...

In order to witness the efficacy of these laws and rules (that are not in fact law at all) you righteously defend.

Oh Christ. Is that what I said? I defended no laws. I defended the adherence to laws (and any general rules) by people interested in changing the laws. It's simply good P.R., of which certain professional complainers know nothing and for which they care even less.