4&20 Blackbird Festival to rock Weed this weekend

Skye Kinkade
The second annual 4&20 festival will rock Weed this weekend, Aug. 4 and 5, 2012.

During the second annual 4&20 Blackbird Festival in downtown Weed Aug. 4 and 5, organizer Sylvia Massy hopes to double everything. She’s doubling the number of days, from one last year to a full weekend of fun. She’s doubled the number of bands, from 60 last August to more than 120 on 10 stages throughout downtown. And she’s also hoping to more than double the attendance, from an estimated 3,000 in 2011 to 10,000 this year.

Last year, performers and visitors from as far away as Texas and Michigan jammed onto Weed’s Main Street for the first-of-its-kind event. Music lovers flocked to downtown businesses, including Papa’s Place, Cedar Lanes, and Radiostar to see a slew of bands perform, while Main Street itself was transformed with street performers, a main stage, and vendors galore.

“This year, it’s gonna be even better,” said Massy, owner of Radiostar Studios and an internationally known music producer who has worked with such legends as Aerosmith, Prince, Paula Abdul, Tool, Bobby Brown, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Johnny Cash. In order to put on this year’s festival, Massy said she’s put her music production career on hold and has used her connections to tempt bands from all across the country to come to Weed for a huge small town event.

The Weed Chamber of Commerce will receive 10 percent of the 4&20 Blackbird Festival proceeds, Massy said, to use for any community project they choose.

The Chamber is working in conjunction with Massy by putting on its annual Rollin’ Weed Car Show the same weekend as 4&20. Featuring vintage cars and local vendors, Massy’s goal is to have something for everyone.

Though she admits the festival may be an inconvenience for some residents, Massy hopes they’ll understand that it will ultimately benefit the entire community.

She hopes that, like last year, local hotels and campgrounds will be filled with festival-goers.

Vintage cars, motorcycles, music and an estimated 100 vendor booths will line Weed’s Main Street on Saturday, Aug. 4, all the way from the arch to the Mercantile.

On Sunday, plans call for replacing the car show with a kids play park, including water slides, bounce houses, games, and more.

Some music at no charge

“No matter what kind of music you like, we’ll have it,” Massy said.

She plans to have outdoor “preview” stages that people can enjoy free of charge.

“We’ll have little samplings of musicians and bands on those outdoor, free stages. They’ll get up there and play a song, and then let the crowd know where they’ll be playing and when.”

To see the entire performance, festival-goers will purchase wristbands that allow them into the various venues around town, said Massy.

“We’ll also have a nationally-known food vendor that will provide a special menu just for the festival, with things like sushi, mac and cheese and beer soaked hot dogs, plus more traditional favorites like burgers and curly fries.”

The music lineup, including some local bands, is long and eclectic, from heavy metal to country western and swing, to yodeling, hip hop, pop, bluegrass, rock, jazz, dance and beyond.

What makes it special

While music is the focus of the 4 & 20 Festival, there are many reasons it will be a blast, said Massy.

For example, the band Interstellar Transmission will be providing shuttle service for people between downtown Weed and other local communities on their tour bus. Not only is it a cool ride, but the progressive rock fusion band will be serenading riders along the way, Massy said.

The musical venues are themed: some will require visitors to look the part. For example, “The Stash Bar,” inside Papa’s Place, will require a mustache for admittance. If you don’t have one, they’ll provide one for you.

Manic Panic, the crazy haircolor company, is one of the Festival’s sponsors. For admittance to the Cottonmouth Club, you’ll need to have blueberry-colored hair. Of course, it’s only temporary, and just for fun, Massy said.

For night owls who don’t want to leave the party once the last band leaves the stage at 10 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 4, the Blackbird Ball, a late-night dance party, will run until 4:20 a.m. inside Radiostar Studios.

Music for the party will be provided by Aima The Dreamer, DJ Katch and Ganzobean, plus special guests. Attendees will be encouraged to dress up in garb from the 1920s for the occasion, with top hats and ballroom gowns to enhance an “otherworldly atmosphere,” Massy said.

Beaker’s Experimental Drink Lab will feature a mixing lab, where professional mixologists, wearing lab coats and horn-rimmed glasses, will deliver tasty alcoholic concoctions in vials and test tubes. Proceeds from the experimental drink lab will be donated to Cub Power to support science programs at Weed Elementary School, Massy said.

The Mystic Vine wine tasting pavilion, which will be situated in the dirt lot on Main Street, will feature regional wineries showcasing reds, whites, blends and dessert wines, offered in sampler trays to taste and compare. Wines from the State of Jefferson will be showcased, with dance and special acoustic performances.

Festival-goers will be encouraged to coat themselves in “The Human Glow Stick Experiment, and if you’re not careful, the “Festival Sheriff” might throw you in The Slammer and make you sing to the judge for freedom or post $1 bail.

As people cruise through the Festival, artists and sculptors will be working on masterpieces to be auctioned to the highest bidders on Sunday afternoon. Local artists including Ralph Starrit will be participating, Massy said.

Proceeds from “Artopia” will go to support programs at Weed Elementary School.


Massy’s inspiration for the festival was the massive SouthXSouthwest music festival in Austin, Texas.

“They have 50 bars on one street and have three bands playing at every venue. It's all day and all night, and they have all kinds of great music. Weed has the same business geography on Main Street with three bars. Plus we've got a great view of the mountain,” Massy said.


Though anyone can enjoy the vendors, food, and outdoor stages for free, a wristband will be required to see many of the full-length performances. A weekend pass for both days is $50. One day passes are $25. Weekend youth passes are $20 or $10 for one day. Kids under the age of eight are free. Tickets to the Blackbird Ball VIP Dance Party on Aug. 4 from 10 p.m. to 4:20 a.m. are $18.

For details or to purchase tickets online, go to 4and20festival.com