Major celebrities of Coachella including Kylie and Kendall Jenner, A$AP Rocky, Amber Rose, Rae Sremmurd and members of The Dead Ships were spotted smoking, feasting, swimming, playing cornhole and chilling at a private, cannabis-themed “green room” during the two weekend-long event in this April.
The WeedMaps-sponsored “Green Oasis” also drew members of Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Deafheaven, Carla Morrison, The 1975, Phases, Health, The Damned, DMAS, Native Wayne Jobson, Post Malone, and others.
As the dust settles from the massive Indio, California festival, activist event producer Susan Soares said her cannabis-friendly brainchild, Green Oasis — the “ultimate green room” — was a major hit for the second year in a row.
Celebs did more than just chill, she said, they learned about cannabis as a medicine, marijuana legislation and opportunities for their involvement.
“The goal of Green Oasis is to raise the bar on what the cannabis community is,” Soares told Cannabis Now, “and influence these major musicians in the way they message about cannabis, that it be accurate and positive. I try to encourage them to talk to their audience about the positive aspects of cannabis.”
Now in its 17th year, Coachella drew about 100,000 people per day to see hundreds of acts, from LCD Soundsystem to Sufjan Stevens to Ellie Goulding to Calvin Harris to the Silversun Pickups to St. Germaine to Guns N’ Roses to Sia to Bernie Sanders introducing Run the Jewels via satellite.
[Related: Coachella’s founders announced Tuesday the Desert Trip festival October 7, 8, and 9 with The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Roger Waters, and The Who. Tickets are $199 per day and on sale Monday!]
The founder of Just Say Care — Soares came up with the concept of Green Oasis last year after discovering most people she knew in Los Angeles were going to Denver for 420. The event producer decided throw a local 420 bash. While researching other celebrations, she came across Coachella’s website, where in FAQs she read:
“I have a medical marijuana card and medicate daily. Cool?” And the answer was (and still is), “Sorry Bro, medical marijuana cards are not valid at Coachella Festival.”
“I thought, ‘I am going to go rent a house near the festival and invite all the artists to come over, relax — and give them high-end cannabis gift bags.’ And that was the start of Green Oasis,” said Soares.
Soares was heavily involved during the 2010 California legalization Prop 19 Campaign, has designed educational stages for the Emerald Cup, and is a co-producer on the State of Marijuana. Just Say Care is a non-profit organization in which she’s dedicated to supporting cannabis advancements by producing events that spearhead opportunities and provide education to the public about cannabis.
Weedmaps — an online community where medical marijuana patients connect with other patients in their geographical area to discuss all-things cannabis at local co-operatives, dispensaries, and to locate medical doctors and delivery services — hosted this year’s event.
“They came in with their team and supported me in ways I never expected. I couldn’t have pulled it off without them,” said Soares. Last year, she rented a house for Green Oasis that was 10 miles away from the festival, which proved to be a challenge. This year, the event took place at the elegant, expansive Weedmaps House, less than a mile from the festival.
“There were a lot of people,” Soares said. “I think the musicians are all so used to being ‘on’ all the time, and we took care of them. At Green Oasis they could just relax and be among cannabis enthusiasts and be themselves.”
Soares said that Pinch from The Damned stayed for over three hours getting ready for his set. He and his wife were very up to speed on what’s happening politically regarding cannabis, Soares adds, so she had a compelling conversation about the state of marijuana in California with them.
A$AP Rocky brought a big crew with him. “They went straight to the kitchen where Bruce from Stoner Cuisine fed them some amazing food,” said Soares. “It was a weed-and-feed!”
“We actually had the mayor of Coachella come too,” she added. “We had rooms for the sponsors, casitas for my staff, and people were even sleeping on the hammock outside. Some skater guy ended up staying two-and-a-half days. He didn’t ever go to the festival!”
After verifying that they’re medical marijuana patients (there is a doctor on-site to accommodate those who don’t), Soares goes through specially assembled gift bags with the musicians, explaining each item in detail: cannabis, edibles, glass, socks, shoe cleaner, Sacred-infused Epsom salts, and more.
“The gift bag is the star of the show, it really is,” she said. “The Alabama Shakes came last year and stayed for four hours! [Lead singer] Brittany was so excited to get her doctor’s recommendation. She was freaking out! We talked to her about going to a dispensary, labs, strains and politics. It was great.”
This year, Soares said that Matthew Healy, frontman of Manchester’s The 1975, was “incredibly sweet and said that it was if I knew exactly what they needed when I gave them the gift bag full of goodies. The 1975 are the ones who dubbed Green Oasis ‘the ultimate green room’. And Matthew made a point of smoking a joint on stage the second weekend to send a positive message out about cannabis!”
And while Green Oasis has been an incredibly successful pro-cannabis event for two years in a row now for Soares, she believes the Coachella Festival is still anti-medical marijuana.
“Everybody knows there are a lot of drugs going on at Coachella. Why would they single out medical marijuana and send people to San Bernardino?” she said. “I plan on lobbying them. I’d love to have Green Oasis on the festival fairgrounds. The reason I went after Coachella, after musicians, is that music is the highest form of communication. And if anyone can save the world, it’s going to be our artists.”
Were you at the festival this year? We’d like to hear about your Coachella cannabis experience.