Three Days, Man! Seattle Hempfest Gets Permit For Aug. 19-21


Photo: NORML Blog
Rick Steves addresses 100,000 people at Hempfest 2008. The world-famous pot protestival will be better than ever in 2011, for the first time ever extending to three days.

​Those of us who care about Seattle Hempfest, the world’s largest cannabis “protestival,” have been a little worried the past few months. Organizers of marijuana’s biggest annual event, which is slated to celebrate its 20th anniversary this year, have for months been embroiled in a permit squabble with the City of Seattle. Some folks were even speculating openly that Hempfest might not happen.

Well, it’s gonna happen. And not only is it gonna happen, but it’s gonna be bigger and better than ever before. After trying unsuccessfully to get a third day added to the event last year — thus adding Friday to the traditional Hempfest days of Saturday and Sunday — organizer Vivian McPeak said today he had gotten the go-ahead for a three-day festival this year.

Photo: Vivian McPeak
Vivian McPeak, Seattle Hempfest: “The most kick-ass Hempfest anyone has ever imagined”

​”Hempfest will be three days long this year, and is scheduled for August 19, 20, 21,” McPeak said. “We are still negotiating the start time of the added Friday, but we are planning to open Hempfest at noon on the 19th.”
The delays were frustrating for almost everyone involved, and after months of fruitless negotiations, Hempfest had to file a lawsuit against the City of Seattle.
But now, the planned Thomas Street Overpass Project — which threatened to make Hempfest impossible, if said construction had been ongoing during the planned time for the event — has been postponed, making Hempfest once again doable.
“We are very exhausted, and we are several months behind,” McPeak said. “We are undaunted, though, and we are eager to jump-start the production process and get to work putting together the most kick-ass Hempfest anyone has ever imagined.”
“As disappointing as it is to have our 20th anniversary altered by our recent permit struggle, this is really about changing the law, not our anniversary,” McPeak said. 
“We are encouraged that the City recognizes that Hempfest is an important event that is good for Seattle,” McPeak said. “We’re overjoyed that we can go back to preparing a world-class 20th anniversary Hempfest. The Pacific Northwest is at an important turning point, and this will be the most important Hempfest to date.”
McPeak and the rest of the Hempfest crew are asking for help in getting the word out that the world-renowned free-speech event is happening. They are asking supporters to go to to donate, sponsor, vend or volunteer. Hempfest is an all-volunteer event, and needs to fill 1,000 staff shirts to staff the almost 100 crews required to operate the rally.
Information about vending, volunteering, performing, memberships and sponsorships, as well as attendee info, can be found at, the Seattle Hempfest Web site. Messages can be left on the Hempfest Info-Line at 206-781-5734.