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Lincoln's 420 event will be the first cannabis-friendly festival in central Illinois

A green graphic surrounded by leaves and colorful images of people dancing reads "420 Illinois Festival, 20 April, 2024".
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The 420 Illinois Festival on April 20 in Lincoln will be the first cannabis-friendly festival in central Illinois. In addition to vendors that include cannabis companies like Mystic Greenz and Cresco Labs, the festival will have designated space for consumption on-site.

It's been four years since Illinois legalized recreational cannabis — and while events friendly to cannabis sales and consumption have been on the rise ever since, they've largely been held north of Interstate 80.

That's slated to change this April.

A group of cannabis industry professionals have organized central Illinois' first cannabis friendly — and themed — festival at the Logan County Fairgrounds in Lincoln.

Tiffany Jackson, a co-founder of the cannabis consulting firm Sour Diesel Group, said industry professionals in the area think the area is overdue for a festival of its own.

"It's been on all of our minds for a few years now," Jackson said in an interview. "We noticed that it's just disproportionate: There's always events and festivals in the Chicago area. They’re everywhere. But when you get to central Illinois, there’s no festivals, nothing 420-friendly.”

To change that, Sour Diesel Group, along with other partners, plans to launch the 420 Illinois Festival — you guessed it — on Saturday, April 20.

“As the industry continues to boom and get larger and people start normalizing the cannabis industry, we had to do something down in central Illinois to make sure that we were on the map,” Jackson said.

Although there was some initial resistance, Jackson said the county fairgrounds in Lincoln, about a half-hour drive southwest of Bloomington-Normal, was chosen as the festival location due to its proximity to a dispensary she co-owns [Mystic Greenz] and Illinois’ largest cultivation center, owned by Cresco Labs.

“We’ve always wanted to foster that partnership,” Jackson said. “With the dispensary in Lincoln, brand new, we’re bringing all of this energy to Lincoln and we just wanted to keep the party going there.”

Tiffany Jackson, left, and Allysia LeSuer are among those organizing central Illinois' first-ever cannabis friendly festival. The Illinois 420 Festival is set to run from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 20th, at the Logan County Fairgrounds.
Lyndsay Jones
/
WGLT
Tiffany Jackson, left, and Allysia LeSuer are among those organizing central Illinois' first-ever cannabis friendly festival. The Illinois 420 Festival is set to run from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 20th, at the Logan County Fairgrounds.

The festival is set to feature a mix of live music, food trucks and vendors — many of which will be other cannabis industry representatives that Jackson said plan to give out goody bags with free samples. So far, more than 40 vendors have signed up.

And there will be opportunities to consume cannabis on-site, whether smoking, vaping, or otherwise. Jackson said that’s the part of the festival that drew initial resistance, but organizers were able to assuage concerns by providing security plans and designating the consumption area to a single place.

Admission will only be open to adults over 21 years of age.

“People were thinking Woodstock, you know? We want more of that same peaceful energy, but more of a laid-back, very responsible vibe,” Jackson said. “We’ll have a lot of security. It’ll be contained to one area, everybody won’t be walking around just doing their own thing. We’ve got a lot of oversight over that.”

Tickets for the 420 Illinois Festival are available via Eventbrite. It's currently slated to run for just a single day, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., but Jackson joked that organizers — an “ambitious group” — have larger visions for the future.

“We plan to make it bigger each year," she said. "This year, we started with one day. Next year, it’d be two or three days and who knows — Burning Man one day? You never know We’re just extremely excited, we’re big on ‘first-of-its-kind’: Mystic Greenz was the first dispensary in Lincoln, the first dispensary in Decatur [and] now we have the first festival in central Illinois. So, we’re making our mark little by little.”

Lyndsay Jones is a reporter at WGLT. She joined the station in 2021. You can reach her at lljone3@ilstu.edu.
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