On Saturday, July 30, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., downtown Weed promises to be a busy place during the first ever 4&20 Blackbird Festival.

On Saturday, July 30, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., downtown Weed promises to be a busy place during the first ever 4&20 Blackbird Festival.

Sponsored by the fledgling community organization Mongo Party, the Weed Chamber of Commerce, Radiostar Studios and Blackbird Promotions, the event will feature a street fair, food, entertainment, and five stages on which bands from around the country will perform.

All proceeds from the event will go toward purchasing a downtown street clock and restoring the classic marquee on the outside of the old Palace Theatre building, which is now Radiostar Studios.

The 4&20 Blackbird Festival is an idea sparked 10 years ago, when producer Sylvia Massy first opened Radiostar.

“We’re modeling the festival after the South By Southwest event in Austin, Texas,” Massy said. “They block off the entire downtown area and music goes all night and all day for four days straight. This will be a mini SXSW.”

Two blocks of downtown Weed between Lake and Gilman Streets will be closed on July 30 for the event. So far, 50 bands have confirmed that will perform said Glenn Sawyer, who heads up Mongo Party.

There will be at least five stages, including the Goldrush Stage at the Black Butte Saloon, the City Stage at Cedar Lanes, the American stage at Papa’s Place and  the Bigfoot Stage at Radiostar. The outdoor Blackbird stage will be at the corner of Main Street and Lake, Sawyer said.

Performances on the outdoor stage will be free of charge and will feature a blend of family friendly music, appropriate for all ages.

The Black Butte stage will feature country and Americana music; Cedar Lanes will host urban, contemporary and hip-hop artists; Papa’s Place will host singers and songwriters, acoustic and blues musicians and the vintage Radiostar stage inside the old Palace Theatre will feature rock bands. Only those 21 and over will be permitted at Papa’s Place and the Black Butte Saloon.

Festival-goers can enjoy performances on the individual indoor stages for $5 or they can purchase a stage pass for $15 which will get them into all of the venues, Sawyer explained. Those under 21 can purchase a stage pass for three stages for $8.

All the bands involved will be donating their time to the cause, Massy said.

“At least half of them have recorded at Radiostar and enjoyed their time here in Weed. They wanted to give back to the community.”

The bands are coming to Weed from all over the United States, including Austin, Texas; Reno, Nev.; Denver, Colo.; Seattle, Wash.; Michigan, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Bands from Redding, Klamath Falls, Medford and Yreka, as well as local bands from Weed and Mount Shasta will also be performing, said Massy.

She’s also hoping to add one more stage for high school bands and other youth who wish to perform.

In addition to the many stages featuring music, the street fair will feature a variety of vendor booths, belly dancers, unicyclists, jello wrestling, fire dancers, and other entertainment.

Madame Iduska will provide tarot card readings, and Massy said Bigfoot will be  stopping by for a visit, as well.

A variety of food and beer will also be available during the event, Sawyer said.

The projects
The idea of installing a clock came up when the city began planning to repave the sidewalks and plant a tree in front of the studio, Massy said.

“I said we were ultimately planning to restore the marquee, and a tree would cover it up. I said, ‘what about a clock?’” Massy explained.

“They said, ‘Okay Sylvia, let us know when we get the clock.’ So I thought we’d have a benefit. Then the benefit idea grew, and we realized we could probably afford a clock faster then we thought. We decided to expand again, and ended up with the Festival.”

Massy said she’s impressed with the Main Street Pride project, and is excited to include a clock, marquee and other beautification projects that will accent the on-going efforts to update Weed’s downtown city center.

The hope is that these physical improvements will increase tourist traffic in Weed, which will lead to increased economic opportunity for everyone, Sawyer said.

Mongo Party is still in the process of receiving their 501c3 status, and are hoping to receive it before the Festival.
However, Sawyer said it might not happen until afterward. Until then Mongo Party is operating as an unincorporated association.

The group’s fundraising goal is $90,000 which will cover the $18,000 clock and the $69,000 marquee, plus $3,000 for unexpected costs, Sawyer said.

The musicians
“We’re hoping to bring at least 1,000 people into downtown Weed for this event,” Massy said. “At least 150 musicians will be here for it.”

The list of performers is long and quite diverse.

Confirmed bands include One Eyed Doll, Hollow Ln., Air Dubai, Paul Janke, Dave Storie, Earl Thomas, Gimme Shelter Band, Half8N, Lectrolux, Blues Society, Ben Brown, Princess Die, RxR, DBJ, Oil Can Harry, Scott Huckabay, Electric Chair Repair Co., Frank Hannon Band, Blendin Ashes, Jimmy Limo, Lavish Green, Chris Prim, Relevant Discord, DJ Ujjayi, Domeshots, The Nautics, Atomic Machines , Castles in Spain, Spindrift, Surrogates, Blue Relish, Sundown Poachers, Madside, Naked in Public, Major Jones, Kim Baker, Merle Jagger, Bill and the Paxtons, Haunted by Heroes, Beringia, Ron Lovelace Band, Cousin Eddie, Kale' Holmes, Oil Can Harry, Allison Scull and Victor Martin, Forever Goldrush, Paula Reynolds and Tone Triumph.

Radiostar Studios
Radiostar will celebrate their 10 year anniversary on July 30 to coincide with the Festival.

Since opening their doors in 2001, over 300 acts have come to Weed to record in the old Palace Theatre.

“This is the first time we’ve ever opened the doors of the studio to the public... We’re doing it now for a good cause,” Massy said.

Massy discovered Weed in 1999 when she was visiting the area with her father on a railroad excursion. While she was in McCloud, she met her future husband, Greg Shivy.

“I fell in love with the area and found Weed to be the perfect place for a recording business,” she said.

Massy has worked with many big names, including Aerosmith, Tool, Babyface, The Black Crowes, Johnny Cash, Prince, Seal, Paula Abdul, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Currently, two rock bands are recording at Radiostar: Domeshots and Lavish Green.

“Last month, Sublime was here recording... they didn’t want anyone to know,” Massy laughed.

More information
For more about the 4&20 Festival, or to find out how to be a vendor, go to their website, 4and20festival.com or look for Mongo Party on Facebook.