Published on July 17th, 2014 | by gatsbyadmin0
Chalice California: The New Standard
I’ve been to quite a few festivals and concerts in my time. I grew up in a family where several of the men worked behind the scenes in the entertainment industry (they brought me to see my first show – Ozzy Osbourne – at the age of nine) and my significant other of the past eight years is fairly heavily involved in the cannabis community, so I’ve been extremely lucky in that I’ve attended some pretty cool events. With that being said, in all my 28 years, the Chalice California Festival in San Bernardino this past weekend was still a first for me. I hate how people overuse the word “epic”, but this festival combined so many different elements so successfully – concentrates, food, drinks, glass, art music – that there really isn’t any other word to describe it.
When I heard that the festival was essentially the undertaking of one man, Dougie of Hitman Glass, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I realize that there is a lot of work that goes into the planning any type of event, so I was a little apprehensive when I was told it was basically a one man show. Although I absolutely believe this festival was his baby and he did most of the coordination and leg work (from personal experience, probably with help from his very sweet girlfriend), judging from the sheer magnitude of Chalice, I believe that there were most likely many people who helped to put it all together and I sincerely commend them all on coordinating such an amazing and comprehensive event. I know some will consider this sacrilege, but in my opinion, the Chalice Festival rivaled (if not surpassed) any High Times Cannabis Cup that I have attended.
As many already know, concentrates are the biggest thing in the cannabis industry at the moment, and I’m sure we’ve all seen those few who go a little overboard. With temperatures predicted to be around 107 for that weekend, the combination of intense heat and dabbing outdoors didn’t particularly sound like the best combination. Luckily Chalice had that covered. By my count, there were at least four large tents, each housing several booths, that were air-conditioned as well as an indoor seminar section and VIP lounge to protect attendees from the relentless sun outside. Water was available for free in many areas to help keep everyone hydrated and THC-laced beverages were being sold at many of the booths as well. I saw several people enjoying medicated slushies and even though I didn’t have one, it seemed like everyone who did agreed that they were the perfect refreshment on a hot day at a marijuana event.
Most of the cannabis-related gatherings that I’ve been to gave me the impression of a frenzied swap meet; everyone wants you to try (then buy), their product (which they’re trying to sell pretty damn hard) and most are hoping to win best concentrate, best sativa, best booth or whatever award they’ve entered the competition for. This was a competition as well, but although I’m sure everyone wanted to win in their categories, I didn’t feel like everyone was pressuring me to purchase something. Maybe everyone was just too hot to care, but the entire vibe of the Chalice Festival was different. It was much more laid back and everyone seemed like they were genuinely having a great time hanging out with friends and meeting new people with common interests. I couldn’t believe how many booths were giving away free merchandise, from clothing to dabs. Typically, when you see that happening you know that group is gunning for best booth, but to my knowledge, that wasn’t even an award that was up for grabs at this event. I can’t emphasize enough just how cool and friendly everyone at this festival was, doing everything from offering us places to sit in the private areas of their air conditioned tents to the guy I saw giving out wrist bands to complete strangers who didn’t have access to some of the more exclusive areas. I don’t know if it was the event organizers, the venue or even just the attendees who were responsible for it, but the grounds where the festival was held were kept in as pristine of a condition as could rationally be expected from a gathering of such magnitude. There were trash cans everywhere and I struggled to do my #4pieces work for the weekend. Short of diving into people’s booths and asking if I could collect their trash, it was surprisingly difficult to find four pieces to pick up in any given area.
While there may not have been an award for best booth, I did have some personal favorites at the event. One of the first tents that attendees came upon in one of two medicating areas housed several of those favorites and included The Cali Connection (the guys who have turned working these events into an art form), The OG Pen (hands down one of the best vaporizing pens on the market), The Mad Shatters and Pissing Excellence booths (worked by Tim of @CannabisCommunity and all around awesome guy Kyle, respectively), and HGH (the eventual first place winners of the non-solvent category). In other tents were also the always lovely Dr. Dina in the AHHS WEHO booth as well as Grassroots California, the only company that makes me want to wear a hat. During my many brief trips into the outside areas (I literally had to visit the outdoor booths in 15 minute increments during the day it was so damn hot) the busiest booths by far were the Hitman Glass and Rig Rags booths (creator and collaborators of the festival itself) Vader Extracts, who had live music and were giving out a ton of dabs and Nexus Glass, who were joined by the extraction artists to the stars, West Coast Cure. I was pretty excited when I saw that Smokey Socks was also in that booth since, being in a different state, its a rare pleasure for me to meet some of the other Grimey Gatsby family in person. It was only to be expected, but they were amazingly nice, and even gifted me with a couple of pairs of the women’s socks. The boyfriend, who is a sock fanatic (and probably owns over a hundred pairs), even tried to take one of my pairs for himself, which is why my feet are comfortably encased – where he can’t get to them – even as I write this.
Being that the creator of the event is a glass artist himself, it came as no surprise that this artistry was incorporated into the festival. There’s typically booths selling rigs, nails and all manner of smoking devices at any given marijuana gathering, but the magnitude in which glass artistry was represented at Chalice was on a much grander scale. There was an entire area known as the Glassblowing Village that was dedicated solely to these booths that also included a row of stations where some notable names were practicing their craft live for everyone who cared to watch. There was even a blank wall and paint available for those who felt inclined to create some art of their own. Walking in that area, it was rare for me to come to a table and not immediately see something I liked (we couldn’t resist picking up a couple of pendants from Mildred Cubicle), whether it was by well-known artists such as Darby or ACE Glass – whose unicorns I’d probably spend all my money on if I had any use for a rig – or people I had never heard of before. Being artistically challenged myself, I always love seeing what other people are able to create and watching the artists work live only made me respect them even more. It takes a great deal of talent to be able to produce a work of art with your own hands, particularly in such uncomfortable circumstances (they are working with fire in 107 degree heat!).
As the sun began to set on both days at the Chalice Festival, it seemed like everyone got a second wind just in time to enjoy the headliners of the musical portion of the event. The guys from BREAL.TV were cool enough to let me tag along with them during the shows and I had a great time watching the performances, sitting in while they conducted interviews with the artists and even getting to see E-40’s amazing set from the side of the stage. The performers they spoke with were all incredibly kind and gracious (definitely check out the interviews when they come out) and I kind of geeked out when they met up with Mac Lethal as I am a big fan of his hilarious book, Texts from Bennet. If I had to make one negative observation of my experience (and this isn’t unique to Chalice Festival or the organizers’ fault in any way), it would be that some of the people that attend these events can occasionally go a a little far with the medicating – which I have absolutely nothing against except for the fact that during the musical acts, some could barely even rouse themselves enough to clap for these great performers that also included Marlon Asher, Hieroglyphics and Les Claypool’s Duo de Twang (Primus! Southpark! Come on!). It wouldn’t have been so noticeable had they not gone crazy with excitement the moment E-40 threw free vape pens into the audience, which was in stark contrast to the lack of enthusiasm exhibited at the end of some numbers. Maybe its just me, but I find it a little insulting to get more excited for an object that an actual person putting on a show for your enjoyment.
I ended my second day at the Chalice Festival watching the award announcements and BREAL.TV’s interviews of the first place winners. All were happy to have won an award but seemed equally as happy to have participated in such a fun and successful event. There was a final interview with Dougie as well and though he discussed what a large undertaking it was to organize this event, he also expressed his happiness with the outcome and also mentioned that there might be future Chalice Festivals in the works for other locations. I truly hope so because I enjoyed myself immensely despite the crippling heat and this girl is already prepared to attend the next one.
Written By: Danielle Erin