▣Boston Common | Boston, MA ▣Saturday, September 21st 2019
Joints were being rolled, pipes were being smoked, bong rips were being taken…no this was not my parent’s basement when I was in high school, it’s the annual hemp festival in the city of Boston. An event that dates back to 1989, this year marked the 30th Anniversary of the festival. Sponsored by Mass Cann & NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), the Boston Freedom Rally is a day of marijuana education, music, food, and weed. But, the event proved to be a lot more than just that.
Boston is seeing the last days of summer as fall is rapidly approaching, and the weather last Saturday was nothing less than perfect. I made my way into the Commons around 1:30pm and I could already tell how crowded the day was going to be. Normally a three-day festival, it was cut back this year due to unfortunate complaints about the cleanliness of the city after last years event. And although there were talks about maybe moving the event to a different location, the City Council decided to keep it at the Commons like it’s always been.
It has been 16 years since the last time that I attended a Freedom Rally, and right away I notice a lot has changed since 2003. Walking through the commons was a pretty eye opening experience- people smoking and rolling blunts, or just walking around carrying their bongs like it was nothing. As I broke out off the cloud of smoke, I arrived at the first tent area where businesses were displaying a variety of different products from CBD, to care products, to smokeable products. It was a great variety of products, but it was so crowded and a little too much for me to handle. I took a short cut to the Mass Cann tent to check-in, got my credentials, and headed towards the stage to cover the music acts- one of the main reasons I was there.
When I arrived, I was first treated to a little hip hop from the Real One & Chief Rocker Busybee, who were joined on stage by none other than Dabbing Granny who helped get the place lit by throwing some goodies into the crowd. Everyone got high on this one and it made for a pretty great start of a performance.
After partaking in some of the days festivities and grabbing a drink, I made it back to see the guys from Mendo Dope hit the stage. It was my first time seeing them live and I thought that they did a pretty good job in keeping the crowd lit with their cannabis theme music.
Things kept rolling right along with the next band and the first of two headliners tonight, Spiritual Rez. The 6 piece band, that includes a trumpet and trombone player, gives you that extra party feeling and were so much fun to watch. Dabbing Granny made another appearance to rock out with the guys. It was really a great time.
We then heard from Dr. Uma Dhanabalan before the headliners took the stage. She spoke of community, growth, and the future of the industry. Her words were both inspiring and uplifting. After her speech, it was time for Badfish “The Ultimate Sublime tribute band” to close the night. If you are not familiar with them, they have been around and have been playing Sublimes’ hits for the past 18 years. The band is a total party band, and tonight would be no different. Hit after hit they had the crowd dancing and moshing, making it the perfect ending to an awesome day.
I had a long walk ahead of me so I decide to leave a little early to avoid some of the traffic. When I was finally on the T, I started to reflect on the amazing day it had been. There had been a lot of weed smoking (and I can vouch for that), but the event would proved to be a lot more than just that. It was about family, friendships, community, and 30 years of supporting and fighting for the same cause, the Marijuana Movement.
Thank you to Shannon Jones, & Mass Cann for the hospitality. See you next year!
Review & Photos: Carlos Londono
Check out these websites for more info!