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:




  • No worries ,Trump going to decriminalize it, looking for some tax money I suppose haha, smoke on!!

  • “They believe that the friendships forged between the local community and the festival goers can be good for the area.”

    What does that mean? How come they cannot answer the question? Specifically, how is it “good for the area”?

    How is this festival “good” for the South Fork Eel River and wildlife habitat?

    Wild & Scenic Rivers, including listed threatened & endangered species should be protected, not degraded.

    At what point does it stop being an “amazing place” and just another concert/festival venue site?

  • Hey as long as they hook up the neighbors!! It’s fun to have excited happy people in the area. Even if they are carpetbagging dope yuppies. Still good friendly people. But please, clean up. I live downstream.

    • I too wish people were more diligent in cleaning up after themselves. The garbage is picked out of the river every morning during the event every year. I try really hard, but I might miss something every now and again. 😉

      • Thank you for your service RedwoodDan. However, it’s just not cleaning up garbage; its the study after study, how artificial night lighting and loud outdoor amplified music degrades and adversely affects wildlife habitat and their behavior. Let alone negatively affecting the South Fork Eel from water use for some murky sense of the greater good…

        • Everything fun has consequences… let the kids have fun the world will keep turning… lighten up

        • A couple weekends a year is no different than the trucks all the time
          I live by the highway. Why don’t you complain about that ?

          • The fallacy of relative privation, or appeal to worse problems, is an informal fallacy which attempts to suggest that the opponent’s argument should be ignored because there are more important problems in the world, despite the fact that these issues are often completely unrelated to the subject under discussion. A well-known example of this fallacy is the response “but there are children starving in Africa,” with the implication that any issue less serious than that is not worthy of discussion…

            • Except the trucks are on the 101. Right there. Not Africa. You’re not the smartest man int he world. Nor do you care for sfel more than others. You just have no voice against anyone but the mateel.and folks having fun around here. While I agree with you a lot, I see that you are just a bitter old man. Fight the Grove project and more big trucks and noise, not one weekend a year man. [edit]

              • “Fight the Grove project and more big trucks and noise, not one weekend a year man. [edit]”

                I have submitted public comments in opposition to the Caltrans-Richardson Grove STAA project and will continue to do so. However, you are correct, I am “bitter”. when I see people abuse the River for their own sake or greed, what you call “fun”, without knowing whom they’re affecting and harming. BTW, it’s not just “one weekend a year”, not when you take them all together in a “year”.

                Maybe ask any of the instream gravel extraction companies that operate within Wild & Scenic Rivers in Humboldt County. I’m sure they have more colorful aspersions as you do. When was the last time you saw Mercer Fraser extracting gravel on the river bar or batched asphalt at Cooks Valley?

        • Or the [edit] that blow off illegal mortars/fireworks that not only stresses domestic pets and livestock but will actually cause disruption of wildlife nesting habit and causes birds to fly when they cant see.. and they also rain down generous doses of HEAVY METALS.

  • I just don’t think these city slicker realize that a lot of folks who do live up here don’t want to be in or around the city vibe, even people their age. And weed at a festival has never seemed to be a problem. No one cares that you are just some yuppie with connections in the political world. Any conscious person knows that world is creepy and slimey.

  • Why is the weed the girl in the picture is holding steaming?

  • She’s vaping it with some kind of Hindu mind meld.

  • “Blap said that this year, “What we are hoping for is a bigger celebration of the heritage of Humboldt, Mendocino, and the Triangle.”

    So I take it, the only “heritage” he’s talking about is the black market underground economy from growing cannabis? Did Blap know Humboldt and Mendocino existed without the cannabis industrial complex before 1980? Why would you want to celebrate an “heritage”, that for the most part, adversely degraded the South Fork Eel River watershed and wildlife habitat. Maybe Blap should watch the following video:

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