From massive music festivals with nationally known acts to stoner soirees that raise funds to help expunge the records of those with weed-related convictions, Michigan is home to some of the best 420-friendly events in the country. This week, I’m recapping some of the hottest happenings this summer so you can mark your calendars for next year.
Top Shelf Showdown | Benton Harbor
The Great Lakes Expungement Network is a nonprofit organization that helps eligible clients with convictions in Michigan get their records expunged by walking them through the application process, helping them obtain necessary documents and matching them with attorneys who will represent them in court. Since its launch in May 2021, the organization has completed more than 1400 expungement screenings and has successfully helped more than 800 Michiganders clear their records.
Last month, hundreds of cannabis-industry workers from around the state gathered at the Secret Garden at the Harbor in Benton Harbor to support the organization’s most recent event, the Top Shelf Showdown Awards Ceremony.
The Top Shelf Showdown showcased more than 50 cannabis brands and retailers from across the state in its judging boxes. Put together by a dedicated team of volunteers, each box contained a variety of products from various consumption categories like flower, vape cartridges, pre-rolls, infused pre-rolls, concentrates, gummies, non-gummy edibles and even topicals. Participants voted for their favorite products in each box prior to the ceremony, and the top three winners from each category were awarded throughout the evening.
Through the sales of judging boxes and tickets to the ceremony, the expungement network raised $85,000 to aid more than 160 Michiganders with cannabis-related convictions.
Josey Scoggin, Great Lakes Expungement Network’s logistics manager, said folks can expect even more events from the organization in the near future.
“I love putting these kinds of events together,” she said. “There was so much camaraderie, it felt like an old caregiver event. Cannabis is authentic and so are people — we want to create events that represent that.”
Interested in volunteering your time to help the expungement network pull off these events? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and follow the organization on Facebook at facebook.com/greatlakesexpungementnetwork for news on future happenings. To learn more about the organization’s other services, like its Commissary Program that helps put money in the commissary accounts of Michiganders who are serving time for weed-related convictions, visit greatlakesexpungement.org.
Electric Forest | Rothbury
Nestled in the heart of the Manistee National Forest, Electric Forest is a four-day music festival held annually in June that features some of the world’s best electronic music talent. It’s also a celebration of community, art and nature, and with its elaborate stage productions, vibrant art installations and breathtaking natural surroundings, Electric Forest is truly unlike any other event.
Tickets for Electric Forest 2023 went live in December 2022 and sold out in less than four hours. More than 50,000 people flocked to the Double JJ Resort in Rothbury June 22 through 25 to enjoy live music, fun and camaraderie under the stars. More than 100 artists from across the globe, like electronic powerhouses Odesza and Zeds Dead, performed live among a sea of neon-clad ravers.
Interested in frolicking in the forest next year? Sign up for Electric Forest’s newsletter on its website, electricforest.com, or follow the festival on Facebook at facebook.com/electricforest to stay up to date on future announcements.
Legacy Michigan | Hartford
In July, Big Cloud Farms, a festival collective based in southwest Michigan, hosted a “multi-dimensional” music festival experience that transported attendees through cannabis history, activism, art, cultivation, genetics and other components of cannabis culture. Over the course of the “far-out weekend,” dozens of musicians graced the stage, including nationally recognized hip-hop artists Layzie Bone and Flesh-N-Bone of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. Lansing’s own Morgan Underwood, aka Ganja Girl, also laid down some tracks while DJing the event’s silent disco.
“I’ve attended many silent discos, but the way Big Cloud did it was really unique,” Underwood said. “There were three completely different DJ set-ups, as opposed to all three DJs playing next to each other on the same stage.”
Underwood explained that attendees could walk around the festival and still be able to enjoy each DJ’s set through their headphones.
“The vibes were amazing. Everyone was so friendly and happy to be there. It was refreshing to see so many people from the legacy cannabis community in one place,” she said.
In addition to music, Big Cloud hosted plenty of art workshops, yoga classes and food vendors at the festival. Dozens of Michigan cannabis brands were also in attendance, with a good amount of herb to share.
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