California, the golden state. The green state might be a better description these days considering the state has legalized Cannabis sales in full effect. For the first time since going green thanks to AB2020, Northern Nights Music Festival made history to become the first music festival to have legal sales and consumption of Cannabis as well as it being a multiple overnight camping festival to top it off. We must applaud and wonder why it took this long for this to happen all at the same time. Rejoice Cannapolitans, a new day is dawning!
The Road to Northern Nights Music Festival is Paved with Beauty
Around every corner of this diverse state with its beaches, rivers, lakes, mountains, deserts, cities and small towns. It’s one of the only states that has all of these features and more. Sit back, light one and take a journey with us to Piercy, California where we experienced a festival unlike any other on the planet, welcome to Northern Nights Music Festival.
Getting to the Festival
We reached Santa Barbara at 7pm the night before so that we could arrive early morning at the venue just before 4:20am. Upon arriving we got our first real glimpse at the gorgeous night sky. There were NNMF staff already on hand to direct the early birds to stack parking outside the property gates. Everyone outside their cars excited to get in and start the festivities. Many of the festies that are regulars were finding friends that they are reuniting with for the annual connection in the woods. For us it was finally a chance to sleep for a few hours before we were guided into the property to get our credentials and camping space.
Car Camping is guided in by order of arrival
We were blessed and graciously given the car camping option and as luck and timing would have it, our camping spot was on the first level that overlooked the full car camping area and 4×4 camping options alongside the river with a shade tree to boot! The trees and mighty redwoods in every direction, breathtaking! We managed to set up our new tent that pops open with less than 2 minutes to set up. Our new camping neighbors were amazed, we were amazed, thank you Gazelle tents! We managed to get camp established and entry in at the time when we were told gates would open, so they really made a great effort to get the early bird campers in quickly and allow us to set up and relax right away.
If you have more than one car camping with you and you want to camp next to each other, you must follow each other to the spot they assign you together. Tent camping gives the campers a parking space, however you must carry in your gear to the redwood grove where it is first come first served. The regulars are super friendly and helpful in direction. There is glamping options that has a dedicated campground but it also requires carrying your gear to your tent so we highly recommend a fold up wagon so that you can pull your gear versus carry it all on your arms. This is camping, so be ready to get dirty and rough it.
Getting Settled in Cannapolitan Style
The mountain summer heat starts cranking up by 11am and it was time to discover the Eel River and check out the river stage. The river stage consists of a small stage for the DJ and a space for dancing under a large tent that is alongside the river. This is a fantastic way to kick off the weekend with a nice cool down in the river, float, smoke a J, cruise around and make new friends. Take in the vibes and the beautiful redwoods that surround you in every direction.
After a brief float on the lazy Eel River, we headed out to explore the world of Northern Nights. First stop has to be the Tree Lounge, where there is legal cannabis sales and consumption!
Tree Lounge Stage
The Tree Lounge rocks the party that rocks the body
A short hike to the tree lounge happens to be on the other end of the property on the Humboldt County side. That’s the funny part of legalization and the rules no alcohol can be served or consumed in the same space as Cannabis! Those of us who only partake in Cannabis are cool with that. This green paradise gave way to explore the variety of Cannabis products that would be available for purchase by meeting the brands representatives and smelling the wonderful flowers on display. The tree lounge is a spacious area with trees for shade, couches, coffee tables, chairs that welcomed us to sit back light one and relax. When ready to purchase you walk into this barn where the Green Door from San Francisco would facilitate the transaction and dispense the products.
We had a chance to stop by every booth to discover, see, smell, have a nice conversation and learn about each brand. Every brand that was involved has our stamp of approval for excellence. Brands like Flow Kana, CRU, Dr. Greenthumb’s Insane OG, Absolute Extracts, Jetty Extracts, Humbleroot, The Emerald Exchange, Humboldt Farms, Chemistry, Emerald Cup, Eel River Organics, and Packwoods. We did discover a few brands that we were not familiar with and really got excited about their flower! Buddy Buddy really impressed with their super frosty exotic strains that smelled really amazing called “Do si pie”. Cookies also really had us curious with their London Pound Cake strain, these were the two 1/8ths we purchased to enjoy in the woods with all the new friends we were making. Lastly in the flower department we also took in a pre-roll from a fairly new brand called Key Cannabis, which was also delightful. We also scooped up some District Edibles gummies for good measure.
The tree lounge is really inviting and has great DJ’s featured on the tree lounge stage shown above. You can walk through the bright green strands of leaves and get lost while becoming entranced with the sounds and the vibes of the chill environment. The lounge also had an area dedicated to local Cannabis heroes and growers that have fought through the years of prohibition for the plant and the patients that many served during the years of Prop 215 in California. This was inspiring and appreciated as a Cannapolitan. Our friends at Hakuna Cafe were also there serving up CBD in teas, juices, coffees and munchy worthy vegan bagels inside the tree lounge.
Cannabis Re-creation at its finest
Another feature that was new this year to NNMF is a section within the tree lounge area called re-creation. The Cannabis infused wellness experience consisted of various classes/ groups throughout the weekend. Cannabis infused classes included yoga, self-massage, meditation, breathwork, mindful classes and more. There also were small group classes that educated folks on Cannabis, CBD, selfcare, and community. It was a very enlightened space. At one point in visiting the tree lounge we found couples of people performing yoga stretches together called acro yoga, which was fun to watch, not for amateurs. This was an enlightening and intriguing feature of the Northern Nights experience.
NNMF Main Stage
Northern Nights Lay of the Land and Stages
NNMF has nested into a great venue area that is near perfect to put on the size and scope of the event they produce. This year is the seventh Northern Nights and with progression the festival has grown and matured. I asked many regular NN festies and the consensous was that this year’s festival is bigger and more people than previous years. As it turns out, the festival was at its largest capacity yet, no exact figures were given but the number 8,500 is ballparking it. That is a large tribe of festies wearing whatever they want to wear in the woods, in some cases near nothing. This is for sure an adults only festival, let’s be clear about that and allow your imagination to go from there. More on the awesome nudity and communal Dr. Bronner’s foam shower in a minute.
Here’s a look at the grounds for NNMF 2019 map.
There’s never a dull moment at Northern Nights
There’s not a time of the day that there isn’t something happening at any of the stages. We explored and enjoyed all of the stages from the river, tree lounge, the grove, the bunker, and the main stages, all were curated to shift your vibrations with the set and artists performing. You just haven’t lived until you have seen a burlesque show in the middle of the woods in the middle of the night. There is a great sense of community here, our neighbors whom have been coming to NNMF for several years were very friendly, helpful, and kind. The camps provided an unspoken self police vibe where everyone respected each other’s belongings and looked out for each other. The hippie movement has evolved and expanded into multiple generations.
Living the best life at any age!
Speaking of generations, one of our wonderful camping neighbors was a 70-year-old grandma, Carla. She is living her best life let me tell ya! She was camping alone next to us but as it turns out we met up with her on the last night of the festival. We found her, her grandson, his girlfriend all in the VIP cabanas next to the main stage where they were celebrating her 2nd place win of her veggie four-way bong that she built in the Flow Kana farm to bong contest. We had to partake and experience it for ourselves, the watermelon juice inside really made the hits incredible and it works with 4 people at once! Turns out Carla was also touring to a metal festival with her grandson later this summer, what an inspiring lady. She had amazing cannabis stories as you can imagine, another Cannapolitan found.
Northern Nights is an Experience Beyond Music
More than just another music festival, more than just bands and stages, Northern Nights dares to break through the traditional walls of the camping festival and makes it 100 percent it’s own soundtrack. The friends that are made, the bonds that are strengthened and the belief that the human spirit is kinder than we generally anticipate to expect. From the tribes and traditions that are born at NNMF, the vibrations run deeper than the river that surrounds the land. This was an experience of a lifetime and we’re proud and grateful to have the opportunity to share it with our readers. Thank you NNMF for a very welcoming Cannapolitan friendly music festival! This year especially was one for the books becoming the first festival to have cannabis sales and consumption at an overnight camping festival! Only in the best place on earth for Cannabis in the heart of the emerald triangle!
Well done Northern Nights Music Festival! We look forward to exploring you next year and how you’re going to top an outstanding experience like this year! Make sure to check out the videos below to get a feel and look into NNMF and also check out our exclusive Cannapolitan NNMF photo galleries. It’s as fun as it looks! Overall our first year at Northern Nights was really eyeopening and impressive. We would highly recommend that no matter your age, if you have the stamina, the adventure in your heart and bring great vibes, you are welcome to come to Northern Nights Music Festival next year and make your own experiences and friends for yourself. Burning Man can keep their dust and their playa, we’ll stay in the woods!
We highly recommend planning properly for the trip, check out our checklist of useful supplies that made our stay at NNMF more comfortable and happier throughout the weekend.
Things we HIGHLY recommend:
- A great tent, if you don’t have one consider our top pick Gazelle Tents.
- Air mattresses are the difference of moving the next day after sleeping on the hard ground, get one and bring a converter to inflate. We recommend one that has a pump built in for easy use.
- Reusable ice blocks frozen in advance and ice for ice chests.
- Food! We ate gourmet and brought our favorite foods to cook and easy snacks that keep in the heat are great.
- drinking water in bulk 2.5 gallon containers are great, 1 gallon per person, per day.
- a great pipe for smoking all the amazing Cannabis you can purchase or bring with you to NNMF, we took our amazing double-filtered Scientific Inhalations (SI Pipes) pipe with us and it was a hit everywhere we went!
- sunscreen no matter what color you are.
- festival wear, just because you’re roughing it- doesn’t mean your nights shouldn’t be fabulous! Our neighbors did a full group theme of Alice in Wonderland dress up one night.
- Typical camping supplies for sure and a camp stove if you plan to cook, don’t forget the propane and pans!
- Your most awesome floaties! The river was an amazing rainbow of unicorns, swans, ducks, donuts and more.
- Heavy sole water shoes are a must, you’re welcome!
- Showers are available, due to unforeseen power failures with the shower trailer (nothing is perfect), we opted for the Dr. Bronner’s foam shower the last evening with others, clothing optional folks, this is an 18 and up festival. Everyone was super respectful and humble! This is an experience in itself!
Photo Galleries below by Lisa Kaler