NH Cannabis Freedom Fest to bring 'liberty, freedom, love' and bake-off to Granite State
LANCASTER — Following the success of the New Hampshire Hempfest and Freedom Rally in recent years, the New Hampshire Cannabis Freedom Festival is slated to bring cannabis experts, guest speakers, legislators and vendors from around the nation — and even the world — to the Granite State.
"Everybody needs to come to the festival and feel the liberty, feel the freedom, and feel the love of a family," said organizer Rick Naya. Naya has been on the forefront of the battle for legal cannabis in New Hampshire for over a decade, and he currently serves as the Executive Director for the New Hampshire branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), a nonprofit group that advocates for the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana nationally. Naya is also the owner of several cannabis-related businesses.
Naya was a key player in organizing and directing the New Hampshire Hempfest and Freedom Rally, which held its first festival in 2014, but he said a difference in management opinions led to a parting of ways. He said they're "still a family" and that there's no bad blood between the organizers of the festivals, but that the N.H. Cannabis Freedom Festival will be the only cannabis festival in the Granite State this year.
Although it is called a "festival," Naya stressed that aside from great tunes and delicious food, the festival may be the only opportunity New Hampshire residents interested in working in the cannabis industry have to interact with potential employers.
"We got to get the word out there and say, 'Guys, this isn't just a party festival,'" Naya said. "This is where all the medical people, all of the real growers, all of the real industry people are at for New Hampshire's cannabis industry."
He said the festival also serves to rally people and show them that when many voices join together — they can make a difference.
Naya said there would be over 20 different vendors including a fresh coffee roaster, food vendors from Nepal, Jamaica and Greece, among other nations, along with a variety of guest speakers. Some of the speakers include Matt Simon, the New England Political Director for the Marijuana Policy Project, regional and national cannabis advocates, artists and current and former legislators.
Aside from the vendors and guest speakers, Naya said the festival would also feature events and activities for people of all ages, including the Granite State's first Cannabis Cup. He said there would be a bake-off, hula-hooping, yoga sessions, a pool and water slide, live painting, Poi fire spinning, glass blowing, a drum circle, body painting and more.
There also will be multiple performers and musicians from many genres providing tunes throughout the weekend.
Naya said to raise money for the festival, they teamed up with Free Pipe Fridays to offer a free glass pipe to anybody who orders a New Hampshire Cannabis Freedom Festival shirt online.
"It's a great time with tons of DJs and over 30 bands," Naya said. "but this festival is truly all about giving back the love and getting the support from individuals who understand how difficult it is here in New Hampshire."
The event will run from Friday-Sunday at Roger's Campground in Lancaster and tickets can be purchased online.
There are multiple ticket packages available — ranging from day passes to VIP passes — and festival goers have the option to camp or get a room in the campground's motel as well. Those paying with Bitcoin will also get a discount on their tickets.