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This past weekend was the culmination of months of planning and hard work at the second annual Chalice Festival in San Bernardino, CA. Although this was only the second year of the event, it seemed that the organizers were determined to go bigger and better than last year and I would have to say that they mostly managed to pull it off. There was one major incident that left me with a really negative impression (luckily it was only toward the very end), but with the exception of a few minor hiccups, I believe that Chalice was every bit as successful as it was expected to be.
It all started on Friday night at the Chalice pre-party Secret Sesh that was also held on the NOS event center grounds. The Secret Sesh has been immensely popular since its inception but, as this was an official pre-party for a larger event, I think this particular one was the largest to date with a record 600+ guest capacity. When I arrived at about 9pm, the party was still in full effect with great music provided by Salam Wreck, giveaways from a multitude of companies and, of course, copious amounts of the best bud and concentrates being consumed and perfuming the air. It was particularly fortuitous that this Sesh was held on 7/10 and the organizers behind Chalice definitely knew what they were doing when they reached out to these guys to take charge of the pre-party. The “Compassion Crew” (as they are known) has been doing this for a while now and if you’ve been lucky enough to attend one of their gatherings, you know that there’s no other group who takes better care of their attendees; free food, drinks and dabs are always provided and it was the perfect way to start the weekend.
Saturday dawned clear and sunny – but sadly, I didn’t. Due to my bad habit of leaving the air conditioning on full blast all night long, I woke up with a severe cold, prompting me to stay in bed for the greater part of the day until my medicine had started working sufficiently for me to face the outside world. Unfortunately for me, this meant that I didn’t arrive until close to 5pm, long enough for me to miss Adam Ill’s appearance in the Parents 4 Pot dunk tank. I was incredibly disappointed because, as a former softball player, I was eagerly looking forward to repeatedly dunking my boyfriend, especially since all the proceeds were going to such a good cause. Apparently I wasn’t the only one enthusiastic about dunking him since it was broken sometime during the course of the early afternoon (severely enough that not even the welder they brought in could fix it) and nobody else was able to get in it throughout the weekend. I’m hoping that it will make a reappearance at the next event as I think its a fun and interactive way to raise money – and because there are quite a few people in this industry that I would be happy to put my arm to use for.
Although I had arrived fairly late, the heat was still palpable so I sought out some friends that I knew were set up in the air-conditioned areas. My first stop was the Moxie building where I found @natureslabextracts, @weavers_ and, of course, the @moxie710 crew. It was to be the first minor snag I hit in an otherwise great weekend. Part of the marketing toward Chalice vendors had been geared toward getting them to pay a higher booth fee to be in locations with air conditioning. However, once inside, I realized that although it was slightly better than being outdoors, the difference wasn’t that marked. Since I would be returning shortly for the performance there, I said a quick hello to everyone before heading back out.
In the weeks leading up to Chalice, I had learned from activist extraordinaire Stephanie Landa that she would be teaming up with one of my favorite people in the community, Dr. Dina, to sell slushies with all proceeds going toward prisoners who had been incarcerated for marijuana. A cold drink for a good cause sounded like the perfect solution to the heat so with that in mind, I made my way over to the air-conditioned tent run by AHHS WeHo and @bamf_extractions. While I must say that the slushie was perfection and that its always a pleasure to see the people that were there, I think “air-conditioning” might have been overstating things. Whether the unit wasn’t up to the task or simply wasn’t working, I had to actually rush out of the tent fairly quickly or risk passing out because it was actually hotter inside the tent than out. It seemed that the heat was a regular irritant throughout the weekend as the @pissing.excellence tent next door had the same issue with a malfunctioning air conditioner (to the point where they actually removed a wall of the tent and brought in a fan).
Luckily, once outside I quickly ran into Ashlynn from Divider Pro who informed me that the air was actually working as it was supposed to where their booth was located in the SC Labs building – and miracle of miracles, it actually was! Heat aside, I was incredibly happy to be there as I finally got to meet the whole Divider Pro crew who not only make quality products, but who are refreshingly nice and down to earth. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that it was where the @vaderextracts, @pariskush and @greenwolflosangeles crews were based for the weekend – especially since I now knew that I could hang out with some more of my favorites in relative comfort. It was a little bittersweet when I first discovered that Chalice was not allowing any personal stages or sound equipment. The show that this group puts on is always a party for everyone involved, especially the attendees, but it also meant that I could actually enjoy the event with my boyfriend for once which is a rarity; all in all, I would consider it a fair trade.
At this point I was already loaded down with so many goodies that it necessitated a trip back to the car – where we fortunately ran into Fortunate Youth front man, Dan Kelly. It was perfect timing as they were about to hit the stage within ten minutes. I’ve said it before and I will keep saying it; these guys put on an exceptional show every time and this weekend was no different. It’s no small feat to get a stoner crowd going and Fortunate Youth had everyone in the Moxie building enjoying themselves despite being DTFO and having to endure a sauna-like atmosphere. Performing songs from their newest album like “My Love” while smoking and dabbing on-stage, there’s no doubt that they’re an ideal pick for any weed-related event.
Once the adrenaline from the FY set had worn off, I felt myself close to passing out again and was happy to discover that temperatures outside had cooled to a tolerable level; It was time to grab some food and relax until Busta Rhymes took the stage. Although there were certainly a lot of food options – one of my main focuses at any event – I was bummed to find out that Kabobaque would not be in attendance due to some event politics. So I took my broken and hungry little heart to The Grilled Cheese truck (cheese makes anything better in my life) and grabbed a delicious caprese sandwich to munch on while perusing the glass section.
The Glassblowing Village is one of the things that I adore about Chalice. While I don’t trust myself nearly enough to invest in some of the higher quality pieces, I find it endlessly fascinating to see all of the artists’ unique creations and especially to watch them work. Seeing the process isn’t something I often get to indulge – unless its at the amazing Goosefire Gallery which is unfortunately not in my neighborhood – and I absolutely love that the Chalice organizers put such an emphasis on this craft. You can call me a cliche, but even though there were a great many talented artists in attendance, I still feel myself drawn to the female artists and their “girly” work. There’s just something about the ACE Glass (@amylikesfire) unicorns that make me happy and reminiscent of my childhood with “My Little Pony” and I love the irreverence and in-your-face female quality of @sakibombhackysack’s vagina work. These ladies are beasts on the torch and I think it’s amazing what they’re doing for the under-represented women in the glass art community and cannabis world in general.
I must say that after last year’s Chalice, I was slightly apprehensive of what the reception was going to be like for Busta Rhymes. By the time E-40 hit the stage last year, the crowd was lethargic from either the heat, too many dabs or a combination of both and a stoned crowd can be daunting for even the most seasoned of performers. As it turns out, I need not have worried; Busta instantly showed why he’s had a career that has lasted over 24 years and was the consummate professional. He knew how to work the crowd, personally engaged with the audience, and even allowed one female fan to sing the hook to one of his songs. It was an incredible performance and although it wasn’t something I had ever considered before, I’m hoping I get the chance to go to another one of his show’s at some point.
On Sunday I woke up feeling much better and it was a good thing since it was time to check out of our hotel and get the comprehensive Chalice experience. Since I would be arriving earlier, I knew I’d have to deal with the heat much more than the day before; however, as a native to SoCal, I was able to file it under the category of a necessary evil and move forward. Even if I hadn’t been in a good mood, I’m sure it would have changed quickly as one of the first people we ran into on Sunday was Spanky Hayes, a comedian you may be familiar with from MTV’s show “Wild ‘N Out.” I used to watch the show fairly religiously when it first came out so it was a really cool experience to walk around the festival grounds while hearing off the cuff jokes from such a hilarious guy.
While wandering around the outdoor booths, we came to what could possibly be one of my new favorite companies. Ras Boss has a whole new take on pendants as their accessories are not made of glass but are actually made partially of wood with marijuana leaves of a variety of strains encapsulated on top, each with unique and gorgeous details. While talking with the owners, they explained that they strive for authenticity and that each pendant has the individual strain it contains printed on the backside of each pendant. Available in a variety of colors, some contain opals, gold and/or actual diamonds. The one Adam picked up from them is beautiful and actually contains a black diamond so I kindly explained to the owners that although he was currently wearing it, I would eventually have to order another one as it would at some point in the future actually belong to me.
Throughout both days I passed the Masterminded Distribution booth several times hoping to say a quick hello to fellow partner in Grime, Jack Daniel, but I seemed to have missed him each time. So it was a great surprise to find him standing right in front of us on Sunday in the late afternoon. I always look forward to the possibility of seeing others from the Grimey Gatsby fam and after a few minutes of conversation and a genuine hug from someone I genuinely respect, I realized that it was just the sort of happy exchange I needed to get my energy levels back up for the rest of the evening.
After a pit stop at the Four Fathers Farms (@jthejeweler) booth for an additional mood enhancer (because why not smoke some of the best product available when given the opportunity?), it was time to meet back up with the guys from Nature’s Lab and Weavers for the Action Bronson performance. Now its not unusual for Weavers to create some ridiculously sick blunt art for different occasions; in fact, its almost come to be expected, particularly for special events like Chalice. But for Action Bronson’s set, I would have to say that he outdid himself and, I actually didn’t even quite understand what I was looking at when I first saw it. Imagine, if you will (or don’t, because you can see the photo below), a life-size guitar blunt that contained 600 grams of Skywalker OG flower and 40 grams of crumble, 10 of which were live resin. The face of the guitar was also done in immaculate detail, using different colored paper to make it look as life-like as possible, contained a $200 custom Phuncky Feel Tip and, from start to finish, took about a week to actually complete with Weavers working on it right up until the time of the show. If ever there were a piece of stoner art, this was it and the whole crowd at Chalice was going to have an opportunity to hit it; I mean really, let’s just take a minute to appreciate the love within the cannabis community.
Unfortunately, this is where the event lost its entire appeal for me. After being escorted backstage with the blunt and while he was waiting to deliver it to Action Bronson, Marcus of Nature’s Lab had it torn out of his hands by the host of the main stage, Jonah Tacoma who, in the process, cracked the neck of the guitar. @Pigpen_710, who was present at the time, described the conversation:
“Jonah said he better hand him the blunt or his (Marcus’s) career was over. Marcus told him, ‘Bro, you’re going to break it if you don’t hold it right. No.’ He (Jonah) kept persisting and Marcus was saying ‘No’ when I heard him.”
Once the guitar had been taken out of the rightful owner’s hands, it was brought on stage where they attempted to light it. At this point, it could have been salvaged by saving it for another event and taking some additional time to make repairs. Instead, Jonah handed it off to Body, the hype man, who added major insult to injury when he decided to chuck it into the crowd after it wouldn’t light properly, a result of improper air flow due to the cracked neck. Jarrett of West Coast Cure was onstage the entire time and spoke to Body immediately after he had tossed the blunt:
“After he threw the blunt into the crowd, I asked him (Body) ‘What the fuck?’ All he said was ‘It wouldn’t even light, it was already broken when he (Tacoma) handed it to me.'”
Tacoma has maintained that he did not damage the blunt in any way and that he did Nature’s Lab a “favor” by taking it from him. However, I personally heard about the incident directly from Marcus immediately after it happened and, as he is someone who enjoys a stellar reputation within the community and has absolutely no motivation to lie, I am more than inclined to believe him.
“It was intended for Action Bronson,” he said. “But being that ‘Dab Star’ desired popularity so much, he broke the blunt by trying to appear more important and to me, that says a lot.”
There has since been footage posted of what occurred on stage, some posted by Tacoma himself in an attempt to prove that he wasn’t responsible for throwing the blunt into the audience; and if that was the situation in question, there is no doubt that he would be cleared. However, the crux of the matter is whether or not he took something he shouldn’t have and broke it in the process. When watching most of the footage, it is unclear to the naked eye that it had been cracked since Weavers is meticulous in his work and reinforces pieces of this size with thin wooden stakes. If you really pay attention, in some of the videos you can see where the crack is just by where the base of the neck is bending – but it’s not completely obvious. What you do see in some of the footage is that immediately after it was thrown out, you can hear the gasps, boos and even Action Bronson himself saying what a bad idea that was – all except for Jonah Tacoma, who is laughing his ass off as he runs off stage with callous disregard for the time, effort, money and artistry that another person put into their work.
Unfortunately for Tacoma’s side of the story, everyone has a smart phone these days and someone did indeed capture him forcefully taking the blunt away from Marcus. Although its not the best quality, below, you’ll see him doing just that while @Pigpen_710 (in the hat and glasses) listens to their exchange, giving credence to his version of what really went down.
Ironically enough, the person least responsible for this debacle, Action Bronson, was the one who took a little responsibility and contacted Marcus directly to apologize – and for that, I have an incredible amount of respect. Had Tacoma just made a frank acknowledgement and issued some type of apology, it would have gone a long way toward making amends in the situation; its too bad that he (and many others) don’t even consider this course anymore and would prefer to abdicate all culpability.
On a higher note, immediately after all of the drama, Nature’s Lab went on to win quite a few Chalice Awards including: First Place Best Indica Solvent Wax, Best Overall Indica Solvent (Public Vote), Third Place Best Rosin (a Skywalker collab with Foundation Extracts) and, in an interesting twist, Action Bronson’s Taster’s Choice Award (with Mega Wellness from Nameless Genetics). It was obviously a stressful time with everything that had just happened, but I can’t explain how happy I was to see this company receive such positive reinforcement right on the heels of such a shitty incident. It truly was a shame that the crowd didn’t get a chance to experience some of their award winning products with Weavers true piece of blunt art.
There were ups and downs throughout the weekend but overall I really enjoyed myself at Chalice. It may have been hotter than hell and maybe there could have been more seating, shade and air conditioning provided. But the heat wasn’t completely inescapable and there were more than enough great companies and interesting things to see to make enduring the weather worth it. The whole incident at the end did leave me with a really sour taste in my mouth but I don’t want it to color my whole experience. Seeing how much effort the organizers put into improving Chalice just from year one to year two is incredibly exciting and I am definitely looking forward to seeing how they outdo themselves next year. My personal suggestion would be to hire an actual professional to host the event but hey… It’s not like I would know where to find one of those, right?
Written By: Danielle Erin
Featured Image Slab Art By: @graphicgorillalp