The Fire Station Cannabis Co. will host one of Michigan’s first marijuana consumption events this fall. From October 7-9 a one-of-a-kind arts, cultural, and music festival titled Camp Cannabis will be held at Tourist Park in Marquette, MI and will include a line-up of national and regional music artists and comedians across two stages, along with spaces dedicated to marijuana education, shopping and experiences. Festival attendees will have the option to camp onsite during the weekend of the festival or purchase weekend passes without camping.
According to Kelsey Potes, Director of Marketing, Camp Cannabis promises to be “something that people have never seen before, and we can't wait for everyone to experience the entertainment and education we have planned all weekend long.”
“This three-day event gives attendees an opportunity to come together in a welcoming environment to celebrate and learn about cannabis,” adds Potes. “Through Camp Cannabis, The Fire Station hopes to lessen the stigma associated with the use of cannabis, further event attendees’ knowledge of the plant, and provide the Upper Peninsula with a one-of-a-kind arts and culture experience.”
The musical line-up includes such nationally recognized artists as The Floozies, Asher Roth, Afroman, and Nimesh Patel, along with over 30 other additional entertainers such as Big Trouble, Bianco Suave, Chasin’ Steel, Frank & da Beans, High Wasted Genes, Hootie & the Bootie Fish, Strung Together, and the reggae rock band Sublime with Rome to headline the musical line-up.
Camp Cannabis is anticipated to be the largest cannabis festival in the Upper Peninsula, bringing in a variety of musical talent across all genres, coupled with cannabis-inspired education and experiences, dozens of vendors, and of course, legal cannabis. Because the festival is being held at Tourist Park, patrons will have a 40-acre campground located on the edge of the city along the shores of the Dead River to soak up and enjoy the many experiences offered throughout the weekend.
Organizers have designed this festival in order to celebrate, de-stigmatize and experience marijuana. From a fully-stocked pop-up store for all of your cannabis needs, to educational programming related to the plant, campers will have the opportunity to enjoy cannabis at every turn. Many of these experiences will be a part of three designated camp areas: Cannabis Island, featuring The First Station Retail Store, The Pavilion, and The Good Vibes Grove.
Hours of operation will be from 12:00 pm - 9:00 pm on Friday; and Saturday from 9:00 am - 9:00 pm.
The Good Vibes Grover will serve as a chill, creative space where event attendees can make hands on projects or participate in relaxing activities such Tie-dye, guided meditation, and ‘Puff & Paint’ sessions, whereas The Pavilion promises to be one of the most exciting spaces at Camp Cannabis where attendees can learn about topics such as: Joint Rolling 101, The History of Cannabis, Cooking with Cannabis, Cannabis Mixology, the history of Cannabis law, Cannabis Terpenes, along with a Scavenger Hunt.
Patrons can get General Admission tickets for only 125.00 that allow admission for all festival events the entire weekend, or upgrade to the VIP Experience for $200.00 that will allow admittance to a VIP Tent with luxury restrooms, a lounge tent, a separate beer garden serving only VIP guests, bonus activities, and a VIP Raffle. “We’ll also have a heated tent in the VIP area, because with October weather you never know how hot or cold it will be,” notes Kelsey. “Plus, we’ll have lots of outdoor sofas close up to the stage and a variety of different activities and games along with VIP gift bag items from each vendor and sponsor. VIP holders will also get early access to the festival, with gates opening 1-hour earlier than for general admission.”
Established in Upper Michigan in October of 2019, The Fire Station was the second medical marijuana facility to open in the Upper Peninsula. The Fire Station’s Negaunee location became the first Upper Peninsula, MI recreational facility in November 2019, and was approved for delivery services in March 2020.
Now headquartered in Downtown Marquette, The Fire Station is committed to being the premier cannabis destination across the U.P, providing customers with high quality-cannabis products, education, and exceptional customer service. Presently they have locations in Hannahville, Houghton, Iron River, Ishpeming, Marquette, Munising, and Negaunee.
The idea for Camp Cannabis originated when the city of Marquette raised a special events ordinance last fall allowing cannabis related events to occur within the city limits. “Tourist Park was available in September and October and one month in May, when the park was not fully booked, as a means to bring more tourists and people in general into the Marquette area,” explains Kelsey.
“We saw an opportunity to create a special and one-of-a-kind event where we could educate members of the Upper Peninsula and neighboring regions of the lower peninsula and Wisconsin about cannabis,” she continues. “We wanted something where people could consume, learn, and also enjoy a traditional musical festival at the same time; but mainly, we want to normalize cannabis an remove the stigma around its use while doing this within the context and setting of a musical festival that people are already familiar with.”
This blueprint for merging a cannabis convention with a major 3-day festival is obviously an ambitious endeavor. According to Kelsey, while The Fire Station is the main sponsor for the festival, they have a subsidiary business, TSF Events, that is putting on the festival. “We have five or six festival directors working day in and out and partnering with TSF to put together the line-up and staging and sound production, which will be provided by Double Trouble Entertainment that is also based out of Marquette.”
Approximately 100 campsites are available at Tourist Park, which rests on the northern edge of the city of Marquette. “One other music festival known as the Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival has been held there in the month of July for 50 years,” explains Kelsey, “and they’ve been a great partner to pick brains about holding a festival at this specific venue. We’ll have two stages - one Mainstage for the national acts and one regional stage for the more local acts, plus we’ll have a pavilion that will serve as kind of a third stage. During the day we’ll be staging educational programs and holding contests centered on cannabis, and the evening we’ll turn that into the area where a Silent Disco will be held for 3-hours after the bands perform for each day of the festival.”
“The workshops will be happening continuously throughout the festival, and we’ll be releasing an actual schedule with the times and locations of each event on our website,” she notes. “We wanted to offer a creative space where people can relax and create and bring some things back that people might have experienced when going to summer camp in the past. A lot of sponsors and vendors are hosting different sessions throughout the day to provide education on cannabis, cannabis mixology, plus the Last Prisoner Project will bring awareness to some people still incarcerated in prison due to non-violent cannabis related crimes, which ties into our goals of removing the stigma around cannabis and normalizing it as much as possible.”
Kelsey says about 30 different cannabis related vendors are involved in the festival right now, along with some different retailers across the U.P. “It’s exciting to partner with them so they can expose their brand to festival growers. We’ll also be featuring processors and other vendors who’s products we carry in our store, so people can ask them questions. Plus, we’ll be conducting giveaways - none of them containing THC - but things such as coupons and opportunities to win things from different vendor tables.”
The Fire Station itself is the first recreational and 2nd medical cannabis facility in the Upper Peninsula. Owned by Logan Stauber and Stosh Wasik, their first opened in October, 2019 as a provisioning center. “The building our two owners purchased and renovated was nearly condemned, so it was incredible for the community to see what we did to that building by revitalizing what was once an eyesore. I feel we got off on the right foot by investing in this way” explains Kelsey.
“Being the first in such a wide geographical area, we had customers lined up around the streets for months because it was the only opportunity for people to purchase legalized cannabis,” she continues. “After the first store opened the city offered unlimited licenses and we were able to get a second location and are up to seven stores now. People appreciate the money we’ve reinvested throughout the upper peninsula and doing business with a company owned and operated only by U.P residents. We’ll also be opening our eighth location in October after the festival and hoping to open another sometime next year. The city of Marquette is the most competitive market across the U.P and there are quite a few retailers in the city now, but our local roots have grounded us and we’re having a great time servicing our customers.”
One of the often neglected components about cannabis reform in Michigan is the $23.1 million dollars in additional tax revenue generated by the State of Michigan through the sales tax on cannabis, which in turn goes back into local communities. Last year Bay County received $1.4 million reinvested into community coffers, so how has that revenue impacted Marquette?
“I’m not 100% sure what the excise tax revenue was in Marquette for 2021, because I don’t think most of the locations opened within the year,” reflects Kelsey, “but I know this upcoming year will be significant. In terms of Nagmani Township, where we opened our first store, I believe they received over $60,000 in revenue, which is significant for a small township in the Upper Peninsula. Plus, they rebuilt a playground near Township Hall and the Fire Station gave them a $10,000 donation as a company to invest into that project, in addition to the excise tax, because they believed in us so much when we started. It’s exciting to see tax dollars coming back into the local communities because of this reform.”
Parking will be limited on the Festival site at Tourist Park, so an additional lot at Westwood Mall a couple miles up the road from the park will be available for parking, with shuttles leaving every 15-minutes. The south entrance at Tourist Park will also be an entrance for bicycles with a bike valet, so people can check their bike and get a valet ticket, as bicycles will not be allowed beyond the check-in gate. Camping guests are allowed two vehicles per campsite and can keep their vehicles on the campsite.
Tourist Park is located in Marquette, Michigan at 2145 Sugar Loaf Ave.
For tickets and more information about Camp Cannabis, you can visit them at https://thefirestation.com/camp-cannabis/
9th February, 2024