Cannabis celebrations are back, but not as big as pre-pandemic

Some of this spring’s greenest sprouts belong to 420 parties, which herald the return of public cannabis culture in a way not seen since early 2019.

Being on a Thursday, this year’s unofficial, April 20 weed holiday is also bookended by concerts at Red Rocks, parking lot pop-ups at dispensaries, stoner burlesque, upscale cocktail parties, and Civic Center’s grand, returning confab — the last of which is again free, but also recommended for 18-and-up only (you can guess how that usually goes).

The one-off dispensary gatherings tend to be promotional and heavily sponsored (and a food-truck heaven, if you’re lucky), and the newer, fancier events tend to cater toward well-heeled weed snobs. For the rest of us, here are some notable ones to consider — however, or whenever, you celebrate legal marijuana.

Mile High 420 Festival
Although it only firmed up in March, this semi-annual event — which has evolved from informal gatherings of legal-pot advocates every April 20 to a vendor- and celebrity-driven festival hawking VIP passes — is back with arguably its best lineup yet. The 2022 comeback on Thursday features free performances from OutKast legend Big Boi, Lil Jon (DJ set)and influential rapper and Black Star co-founder Talib KweliThat’s one of the best hip-hop lineups of the year, anywhere in Colorado.

It opens at noon at downtown’s Civic Center park, 101 W. 14th Ave., with music starting at 4 pm and the event wrapping up at 8. Entrances are located at 14th & Bannock streets, and Broadway between Colfax and 14th avenues. Up to 50,000 people are expected, so prepare for crowds, and no outside food or drink are allowed. (And, you know, don’t flaunt whatever you’re doing and you’ll be fine.) Register at milehigh420fest.com.

Red Rocks concerts galore
Is a concert pot-themed simply because it’s happening on (or around) April 20? Not necessarily, but it’s easy to tell from the lineups which ones are. Following a pair of Easter shows from John Mulaney, Red Rocks Amphitheatre will host a series of 420-related shows next week that are highly relevant to the holiday.

They begin on Monday, April 18, with Wiz Khalifa (a veteran of downtown’s free Civic Center party) and Trippie Reddwith Curren $ y, Chevy Woods and DJ Squizzy TaylorThe poster for the weed-friendly concert — flying green dragons, a floating bong, and hands with eyeballs — hints at the puffy, hazy dream of a weekday vacation.

Ice Cube and Cypress Hill — The latter arguably the most iconic stoner musicians in history (yes, we see you, Snoop) — will co-headline Red Rocks on Tuesday, April 19, with E-40 and Too Shortas part of this year’s 420 Eve on the Rocks. Unlike Christmas Eve, blazing trees are welcome.

On the actual date, Pepper and the long-running stoner duo of Method Man & Redman (of Wu-Tang Clan) will lead a packed lineup at Red Rocks to celebrate all things high and dry, backed by PROF, Collie Buddz, DENM, The Underachievers and Keznamdi..

While the Thursday, April 21, concert from Subtronics (Cyclops Rocks 2) is not an explicitly weed-themed event, we have a feeling the EDM extravaganza will go well with cannabis. The show features opening sets from Rusko, Yheti, G-Space b2b (back-to-back with) Tiedye Ky and Zingara b2b Austeria..

Most shows are all-ages, cost $ 40- $ 150, and have tickets available as of this writing. redrocksonline.com or axs.com

Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
This five Points music club, which is presenting both the 420 Eve and 420 on the Rocks shows at Red Rocks (with AEG Presents), is another one of the city’s traditional 420 celebrations, given its longtime reputation as a jam band haven. This year , Cervantes will present its eighth annual 420 show with a 16-and-up concert featuring Chris Webby, Ekoh and Jaehross. Regular tickets are still available for $ 22.50, but VIP packages are sold out. Doors open at 8 pm at 2637 Welton St. cervantesmasterpiece.com

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