Photography by Allana You
I’ve been producing corporate events for the past 15 years all over the globe. About three years ago I finally had the chutzpa (nerves) to start my own agency called Revolver Productions – with the intention of creating events and experiences with purpose. My experience has consisted of packing boxes to recently co-producing a 30,000-person concert with the world’s top hip-hop artists. I do it all for one reason – that moment. For every event producer, there’s one moment at the event that everything comes together in perfect harmony. I call it “flow”. It’s when I metaphorically float above the guests and see all the ideas, details, stress, logistics, etc., all culminate into this perfect moment. It’s also the moment I remember to breathe!
With the recent expansion of Revolver to the west coast, I began exploring the cannabis scene in LA. It was kind of hard to miss, considering LA is the mecca of what’s happening in this ever-expanding industry. Becoming a part of the cannabis community has been an epic adventure. Seven months ago, I was passing beautifully hand rolled joints at a Cannabis Feminist gathering, sharing our cannabis tales with each other. Coming from New York City, cannabis communities like that don’t exist, unless you’re getting medicated at your friend’s apartment and watching movies all day. Listening to story after story, my mind explored new depths. In those very moments my inspirational epicenters lit up. I knew I was destined to do something special in this burgeoning cannabis community.
My relationship with cannabis has evolved over the years. I smoked a good bit throughout high school and college, whilst graduating at the top of my class. There goes that theory that says it makes you stupid and lazy! It’s served me as the greatest tool to get my creative juices flowing. I’ve written poetry, short stories, working on a novel, painted unique art pieces and visualized great event concepts. In moving to LA, I began experimenting with infused topicals, edibles and tinctures, eager to understand the differences and how they affect me. I’ve grown quite fond of edibles, consuming them and going on a hike or doing something in nature. I find my senses and body incredibly attuned with my environment. I feel much more present and less in my head than I tend to be after smoking flower. Cannabis has helped me see things more viscerally and think about how I can create opportunities for canna-curious individuals to have similar experiences.
I scoped out the cannabis scene, attending a multitude of events across LA and connected with a lot of like-minded people. Like NYC, LA is a melting pot of people, but a lot more laid back. Each new contact and friendship happened popcorn style. Despite all the incredible people I met, there was something missing for me. I didn’t feel quite like myself at any of these events. Some of the parties were the typical stoner event, everyone getting super high and half the people barely engaging, off in the corner somewhere. There are the business/medical events, heavy on education and investing – a bit dry and traditional. Then there are marketplaces and vendor sessions that are focused on sales and product promotion.
While all of these events are special in their own right, I felt compelled to take a cannabis experience to the next level. I wanted to create an event where I didn’t feel self-conscious about being a bit bougie or anti-social. I strongly believe that people associate memories with physical experiences. I began conceptualizing an event that was coined “Immersion”, an exploration of the senses. In collaboration with Katie Partlow of Little.Face, we set off on a journey to create what Rolling Stone called the “Best Pot Party in California”. It became a social experiment that merged experiential, environmental and educational aspects of consumption for a diverse audience. The end goal was to create excitement and curiosity about cannabis.
What does it take to put on a spectacular cannabis event? For starters, an exceptional and inspiring vibe tribe. You can be visionary without the right team in place, making the spark catch fire is like smoking a cashed bowl. And incase you haven’t heard, the new C-word is collaboration. The industry is full of profoundly creative souls, hustlers and disruptors weaving delicate webs together.
Now you have the concept, your tribe – you need the spot! The venue needs to be dope. If it looks seedy, smells funky, no character, swipe left. Finding the gem for cannabis events can prove to be daunting, to say the least. There are a lot of gray areas and explaining the “nature” of the event proves tedious. Make sure you understand the rules for consumption, onsite, before signing any contracts! Here’s hoping, for more canna-friendly venues in 2018!
The final stages of the secret sauce: the brands. Work with brands you love and be a brand ambassador for their products. You bring awareness to life through the experiences you create. Help the brands create memories and the flow happens organically. I’ve been blessed to work with amazing people from Medicine Box, Altered Plates, Papa + Barkley, Humble Flower Co, Malibu Essential Oils, Jetty Extracts, Bloomfield, amongst dozens of other outstanding brands.
I’m sure you’re wondering, what’s the final ingredient in producing an epic cannabis event…the “it factor”, small, thoughtful touches. Guests consuming cannabis have a variety of different experiences – all which are generally mild and self-contained. It’s essential to create an environment for them to just be. One in which they show up, have a good time and their needs have already been anticipated for them. Especially water.
Remember, it’s not about giving people something to do; it’s about providing them with an experience that they will always remember. It’s not about getting high; it’s about creating community. The best part of cannabis events is that you can create with imagination and infuse with education. Connecting physical experiences to knowledge with great brands and open-minded people is one of the keys to shaping the future of this industry. It’s all about the moment everything clicks and there’s flow. It reminds me why I do what I do. So when’s your next, and can I come?