Northern Nights: Forging New Relationships Between Cannabis Country and the City, Say the Founders
Peter Huson and Andrew Blap are excited about this year’s Northern Nights Music Festival held on July 20-22 in Cooks Valley on the banks of the South Fork of the Eel River. The two founders of the event say they have teamed up with the Emerald Cup and Starr Hill to make the 6th annual event even more colorful than ever. They believe that the friendships forged between the local community and the festival goers can be good for the area.
Huson and Blap have been working together for eight years. “Peter and I in 2010 started a music production company in San Francisco,” Blap explained. “That caught on pretty quickly.”
But really the collaboration starts even earlier when in 2006 they set up camp together at Reggae on the River.
“That was our first experience hanging out up here in this amazing place,” Huson said.
When Reggae on the River looked like it was collapsing, the two came up and began looking into starting their own festival.
“2014 was the first year we were able to put everything in motion,” Blap said. “Year after year we have gotten more and more experienced. The second year we were able to incorporate a stage…Burning Leaves production from Briceland helped us curate a really unique experience in the Redwood grove. There is live music and Burlesque, and acoustic performances. Over the last four years, it has become the heart of the show.”
Huson said during the day most of the event-goers are at the river. “Then there’s the main stage with the major music…The grove has become this intimate space. It gives a closer experience with other artists.”
Blap believes the Northern Nights event will help the local community. He explained, “60% of our people come out of the Bay Area. New relationships are forged here and people go back talking about the redwoods and how they want to come back…Events are a way to bring new people to the area. They come have a good time and then later they make time to come back to see the area or go to Humboldt State.”
And, Blap said, that the Northern Nights Festival brings in a “younger demographic that is going to have the opportunity to come here and bring their kids back for years to come.” Thus, ensuring an ongoing tourism base.
Blap said that this year, “What we are hoping for is a bigger celebration of the heritage of Humboldt, Mendocino, and the Triangle.” But, because current regulations only allow cannabis consumption at events to take place at fairgrounds, he explained, “We’ll have to see how the new regulations are going play out.” Both Blap and Huson are part of a team that has helped to write AB 2020 which is a new bill that would allow cannabis sales at festivals and events.
“We’re doing out best to get that passed before Northern Nights,” Blap explained.
For more information about the event, go to these sites: