Things don’t always go exactly as planned, eh? That’s one way to see it. But I suppose that all depends on from whose side you’re looking at it. Expectations were turned up. The scene was set. And then? Nada…
The Gypsy Jane Jubilee came to town at the end of this summer. It was billed as the largest event of the year—claiming to even surpass the attendance at the High Times 420 Cup. Both events were held at the same venue, so that comparison should’ve been easy to make. The Denver Merchandise Mart resides just over the Adams County Line in unincorporated territory. It’s the only space of its kind in the Denver Metro area that could accommodate the expected crowds; and because it’s outside of Denver the City Council had no authority to mess with the event nor shut it down.
The High Times 420 Cup held back in April was a huge success. I’d say it was the best one held in Denver to date. A tough act to follow for sure. One way the folks from Gypsy Jane tried to ensure their success was to book the Denver Merchandise Mart for their event right at the end of the 420 Cup. But these out-of-towners added a twist: they booked the venue for both a month in advance and a month after their scheduled event. Meaning, no one else could use the venue during those times. A shrewd move to be sure. But that business decision meant no other cannabis events could be held there this summer—including the coveted Mountain Secret Cup, which had to scramble at the last minute to find a venue outside of Denver when the City decided to drop the hammer on the event the night before it was to begin. The Colorado community rallied behind the Secret Cup folks and moved the event to Colorado Springs in less than 12 hours. It was a huge success and proved to shore up the relationships between the Denver and Colorado Springs cannabis communities.
The Jubilee was sold as an incredible music and cannabis event to be headlined by none other than Snoop Dog himself. His association with the event added immense street cred, though the show itself was short and poorly attended. Snoop appeared for about half-an-hour at midnight on Saturday. The audience had approximately 1,500 people in it. Everybody loved the show, but most wished it lasted a bit longer. Got to hand it to the Gypsy Jane folks for this one: getting to see Snoop Dog et al. outside while freely enjoying cannabis in a crowd of only about 1,500 people…priceless.
While the main attraction didn’t come on till midnight, the festival itself was supposed to be the biggest cannabis event Colorado had ever seen. Only it wasn’t. While the promoters told vendors of the tens-of-thousands of tickets to be sold, the reality just didn’t match the hype. On the first day of the festival, the organizers had a rough go at setting things up. The event didn’t open on time and by the time it did open on Friday almost no one showed up to enjoy the sights and sounds. Estimates put attendance at approximately 3-500 people that day.
Saturday didn’t prove much better. There didn’t ever seem to be more than just a few people milling around at any given time. The promised crowds just didn’t materialize. The Jubilee also touted a “carnival and freak show,” but these didn’t quite pan out either. The “carnival” consisted of a few inflatable bouncy rides and houses—completely amateur. The show contained a magician and a woman who could bend a steel bar with nothing but the use of her entire body. There were a few loose rope walkers too. They were entertaining to be sure; but I was not impressed, especially considering a ticket for the event cost about $100.
There were a good amount of vendors, including a few locals that I expect to see at all such gatherings. But there were several noticeable absences from the mix. Most notably, the local glass blowing talent just wasn’t there. In fact, none of the large mainstream glass manufacturers showed for the event. I did see Sasquatch Glass from Washington there. I hope the event was worth the trip for them.
One of my personal friends bought a booth for the event kind of at the last minute, believing the sponsor who told him the event would be attended by a huge mix of folks. It was his last dime, so to speak, and he was counting on the turn out. When it didn’t materialize my friend was left with nothing but tears.
I didn’t attend the third day, but I understand it was no different than the previous two.
I’m writing this piece as a warning to my friends in other states who might be anticipating the arrival of the Gypsy Jane Jubilee. Take heed: the people who came to town made lots of promises they never followed up on. They swayed a lot of people to give them products, money, and time but didn’t fulfill their end of the bargain as presented. In their wake they left a lot of angry people.
It all comes down to this: COMMUNITY. It’s a catch phrase I use all the time. The people who came to town to put on a show did not do a good job of engaging the local community. In fact, they alienated much of the community with their actions months before the event was even scheduled. And in the end the community just didn’t show up for them. They may be coming to a town near you. Pay attention.