The undulating throng threw hands and joints in the air as Erykah Badu took the stage.
Alex Aquino, maestro of the day’s celebration, shouted at the few of us on the stage to get the hell out of the way of the screen. It was almost 4:20. The countdown was upon us, lit up large on the LED screen.
“10 … 9 … 8 … “ Her Majesty Badu chanted with the crowd as she took long draws from her Vibes Cubano, packed with her Cookies strain, That Badu. An opaque, wispy blanket rose from the crowd and hovered, as the cacophony rose to frenzied levels.
The beat kicked in, and the freshly lit crowd swayed and bounced in unison.
It was 4:20 on 4/20 in Golden Gate park, the epicenter of 420. Badu capped a legendary day full of good vibes, good will and good ganja with a killer set of songs, stories and chants. It was the fitting apex for Hippie Hill in 2023, for which Aquino and his concert promotions company, Sounds Bazaar, gathered heads, Cannabis brands, food vendors, artists and advocates together to celebrate the plant that enriches all of our lives.
The Leaf was there with our friends from PICC Platform, one of the event sponsors, soaking it all in. The highlights were many. The King of Z Hill competition brought the best of the best together to decide who had the best terps, handing out huge cash prizes to the winners. The occasional mid-crowd hot dog vendor saved us from the epic food lines. Cookies, Sherbinskis, Puffco, 7 Leaves, Sticker Farmer and more handed out swag and showed off new gear. Roaming hashmakers offered whiffs of their latest fire. At the official afterparty, we got to dance onstage with M1 from Dead Prez and Mario Guzman from Sherbinskis as Talib Kweli spun the wheels, before he handed the mic to Badu for a reprise set that lasted until the wee hours of the morning.
People all over the world were celebrating in true stoner fashion, in their own ways, with their own people. We count ourselves lucky that we were here, at the amazing Golden Gate, at a free event filled with nothing but good vibes and good people. As the police and security ushered the peaceful crowd to the exits with efficiency, we remarked at just how clean and undamaged the grounds were in its wake. Not a single piece of litter left behind. What a testament to the plant and its people. See you there next year.