If you’re in town for the Cannabis Cup, this is the day to go. Early. Camp out if you can. Infamous long lines will greet even those who felt well prepared. The line experience usually comes with a gratuitous amount of consumption that makes it feel like time doesn’t exist, but you want to save up for what’s inside. Catch vendors early and you’ll not only get the best of what they have to sample, but you’ll also avoid the malaise that comes with serving up the 14,000th dab of the weekend. In the past crowds have been at capacity, so moving freely and checking out booths becomes a chore quickly and some just resign to going home to their favorite couch. If you’re shelling out the bucks, get the most bang for them.
Event: Cannabis Cup at the Denver Mart Get there: 4 a.m. Logistics: Walk with your tent and gear for an authentic Colorado camping experience. Get out: If you have to say “excuse me” more than 10 times in a minute.
After far too many dabs, I’ll be cabbing over to 1Up for Festival64 and four-person PacMan, the most addictive game I’ve touched in their barcade. It’s the ideal avenue to test the reaction time of your friends, as you race to cannibalize each other and be the last PacMan standing. And while it’s hard to imagine anything other than Bitpop playing there, the choice of Tiger Party will then be well suited to a crowd trying to remember their own middle names. With band members rotating in and out, the only constant seems to be the earnest piano and passive synths that always play best when they bring in the occasional brass or horns. No matter what, it’ll be a nice change-up from the hip-hop dominated weekend. Also performing: DrFameus, Genetics.
Event: Festival 64 with Tiger Party, April 19 at The 1 Up, 717 E. Colfax Ave. in Denver, $15-20 Get there: 7:45 p.m. at the latest. Logistics: The 15 bus for anyone feeling adventurous. Get out: When you run out of quarters or eighths.
By the time the big day rolls around I’ll be dying to sleep in, so I’m glad I’ll at least start with a bountiful breakfast at Wake-N-Bacon Inaugural 420 Brunch by Edible Events. There isn’t an abundance of information available about the undisclosed venue, but I was sold at the three b’s: bacon, buffet, and bloody’s. The last time I checked out a Jane West soiree, the munchies were some of the best at a pot party I’d ever seen, and the informal pajama-friendly format is made for a lazy Sunday. It’s a “Bring Your Own Cannabis” event, so I’ll have my faithful one-hitter for stealth factor.
Event: Wake-N-Bacon, April 20 at an undisclosed location, $95 Get there: 11 a.m., or 11:15 if you prefer your rooms pre-scented. Logistics: Mystery Machine (venue unknown). Get out: While you can still walk.
W-N-B is going down in the Baker neighborhood, so I’ll skip the traffic nightmare that will be downtown and hop on the RTD’s 0 bus up to Civic Center Park. This is the highlight of every 4/20, as the people watching alone is spectacular. You may want to post up in the park on a blanket and watch those two dudes nearly kill a person with poor Frisbee tosses, but that would be a mistake. Have a home base, but walk the grounds and take in the sights. And flyers.
Booths will serve food (and overpriced waters) and try to convince you they have the best dispensary with the finest of Craigslist “models” as a testament. Activists will yell things at the half-interested crowd. Some of those things will be slam poetry. Local rap groups will encourage you to say things in response to things they say. There will be blessings. And smack talk about Amendment 64, if last year is any indication. There will be preachers with megaphones. And lots of hula hoops. You experience all of this with tens of thousands of other like-minded individuals. Event: 420 Freedom Rally, April 20 at Civic Center Park, 101 W. 14th Ave., Denver, Free Get there: At least 2 p.m. to catch it all. Logistics: Park somewhere far, far away. Get out: As quickly after 4:20 p.m. as possible.
I usually leave at 4:15, because you’d be surprised how much of a difference five minutes makes when it comes to your exit strategy. From there, I’ll be booking it to Cervantes to catch what’s left of Method Man and Redman for a blunt filled afternoon of debauchery. Childhood friends who have been collab’ing since ’94, Red and Mef have a silly good time on stage. After 20 years, the spark is still there in the rap marriage that has produced three studio albums, a sitcom, and their feature film “How High.” While walking into Cervantes during the day will be a new and bizarre experience considering how high I’ll be — it’s a venue meant for stoners with plenty of padded seating throughout. Hopefully I won’t need it.
Event: Method Man and Redman, April 20 at Cervantes, 2637 Welton St. in Denver, $42-$65 Get there: ASAP, as show time is 4:20 p.m. Logistics: Try the cab stands at hotels on 16th Street Mall. Get out: 5:45 p.m. is playing it safe, but try for 5:30 so you actually get out by 5:45.
While seeing Snoop *Preferred Animal Here* and Wiz Khalifa might seem like the obvious choice for the evening, the idea of getting out to Morrison high as a kite seems about as fun as drinking year-old bong water. Especially when I’ll have ample time to head back downtown to Sculpture Park and catch both of the night shows at Daze on the Green. I’ll admit I’m not as up on Kyle Hollingsworth as most people who smoke pot in public, as I never had a lot of String Cheese Incident in my life. What I DO need more of in my life is Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe in person.
After spending a few Halloweens with Denson at the Fillmore, I wouldn’t balk at expanding the holiday tradition to 4/20. He’s an absolute beast with the saxophone, and his Tiny Universe makes every show sound, in a word, epic. Touring in support of their debut release New Ammo, KDTU keeps hitting you with intricate jams that even your dad wants to dance to. This isn’t a crowd with a lot of frowns. It’s the perfect cap to the weekend: outside, dancing, while passing a joint (yes, we know public smoking is technically illegal, even on 4/20). Event: Daze on the Green at Sculpture Park, 1700 N. Speer Blvd. in Denver, $14.20 one-day pass Get there: Hollingworth starts at 6 o’clock, but yeah… Logistics: Again, taxi is your best bet, as you probably won’t be hitching a ride with anyone from Cervantes. Get out: When you want to cash out and get some discount Easter candy.