The fallout from Jack Herer's groundbreaking publication, "The Emperor Wears No Clothes", was just beginning to build and the time was right for a new wave of marijuana activists to emerge on the political scene.
In 1992 organizers placed two large budding sinsemilla plants on the small amphitheater in Volunteer Park. Hempfest's reputation as a politically flamboyant but professionally astute public assembly had begun to develop. We were amazed that 2,000 hempsters showed up for the second annual event. Seattle's grunge scene was starting to zenith and there was no shortage of bands chomping at the bit to support the cause. We were honored to have Jack Herer as our keynote speaker that special year.
Hempfest was growing at the same rate as the increasing public awareness of the half-truths, lies, and misinformation generated by the war on pot for over 60 years, and it became apparent that we would have to find a larger site, because Volunteer Park had already been maxed out.
As the event grew exponentially in size and notoriety, the cost of production and promotion grew as well. The need for sound equipment, staging, scaffolding, radios, and advertising required the introduction of musical benefits and merchandising to offset the monetary demands of our growing phenomenon. Famed Seattle clubs such as The Ditto, Crocodile Cafe, Rckndy, The Off Ramp, and The OK Hotel all opened their doors to help raise green energy for the cause. Hundreds of Northwest bands have contributed to date by playing gigs for free, and without any promise of playing the "big kahuna".
For 2010 Hempfest has made significant modifications to accommodate anticipated record attendance in a safe, manageable fashion. A minimum path width has been established, all vending on the east path in Myrtle Edwards Park has been relocated, strolling vending has been eliminated, and motorized cart use has been suspended each day from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
In addition, Hempfest made attempts at obtaining permit authorization for an additional day, but that request was turned down by the City of Seattle because of budgetary reasons. Hempfest continues to believe that a third day would greatly assist in insuring that our message can be heard by every persons who wishes to hear it. We are asking supporters to call and write the mayor's office suggesting that a third day is granted in 2011.