DJ Wolfgang Gartner has played festivals around the world, but Cypress Hill’s SmokeOut, held yesterday in San Bernardino, California, brought some unique experiences. “I’ve never seen anything like that before at a festival – the pot tent, show your license, come in, smoke,” he told Rolling Stone.
Yes, at the hip-hop group’s annual pro-pot event, those with a medical marijuana license can get a bracelet that gives them access to a tent where they can legally consume. It’s just part of what makes the day-long event unusual.
Part political rally, part concert, SmokeOut is whatever fans choose to make it. Featuring a big-name mix of acts, from mainstage closers Korn to Wiz Khalifa, MSTRKRFT, Gartner, Sublime with Rome, and many more, SmokeOut offered more than enough musical highlights to satisfy the thousands in attendance just to see a concert. The event also marked the official live debut of Cypress Hill’s collaboration with Rusko, though the two did join forces on stage in L.A. last year for one track.
Gartner was impressed by the eclecticism of both the lineup and the fans. “I think it’s more to the benefit of the people at the festival that all these different styles of music are brought together,” he said. “I generally think the type of people who would come to something like this are open minded enough to where they would wander between the airplane hangars and get tastes of all different kinds of stuff. This has the ability to turn people on to new sounds.”
But there’s also the political component. Just two days before the festival, Cypress Hill’s B-Real joined about 150 people on a march to L.A.’s City Hall to protest recent crackdowns on medical marijuana and pot dispensaries by both the city and the Department of Justice, who recently declared the dispensaries illegal on a federal level.
Even those on hand who no longer partake of weed were upset with the laws. “I haven’t smoked in almost nine years. [But] I’m a strong believer it should be legalized and taxed and it would have a seriously positive effect on the economy,” Gartner said. “Just legalize it, tax it, it’s safer than alcohol.”
Korn’s Jonathan Davis came out largely in support of longtime friends Cypress. “If there was no Cypress Hill there’d be no Korn. They were a huge influence on the first Korn record,” he told Rolling Stone. Davis estimates that he hasn’t smoked in14 years – even longer than Gartner. But he is a fierce defender of the idea of legalizing weed.
“I think it’s everyone’s right to smoke, it should be legalized,” he said. “[Pot] lets people get high and laugh, that’s about the extent of it. There are no fucking hangovers, no crazy fistfights, no drama like alcohol causes, so I’ve always been a firm believer in marijuana rights and the medicinal rights. Let motherfuckers get high if they want to, it’s not hurting nobody.”