This summer, I attended the first Legends Valley Music Festival and Bio Cup Canada 2016. This weedy musical event took place at Laketown Ranch in beautiful Cowichan, BC. Donnelly & Associates held the public event in conjunction with Bio Cup Canada Music Festival Limited.

As a Twelve High Chicks journalist I had access to some amazing musical talent and fine cannabis products. They granted full media access to all areas including the VIP areas, full backstage access, and permission to take some close-up stage shots. So I brought with me both my personal assistant, Ryan Ninine, and our photographer Stoner Advisory. We made a great team for the event, gathering more digital footage with two photographers. It was truly a great career experience that I will never forget.

To give you an idea of that experience — as a photographer and journalist on this “musical marijuana media mission” — I decided to do a feature that gives an unbiased perspective that readers can both read and visually enjoy.

My Experience

Upon arrival, I noticed that the land was cleared to accommodate hundreds of event goers, campers, RVs, and vendors. And it held one big-ass stage in my immediate sight. Security and RCMP guided people to their glamping/camping areas, which made the event feel safer.

Those that had glamping accommodations were likely disappointed, as they weren’t what was initially portrayed. The hosts made sure we had what they could accommodate, but we were still out one camping spot. So that forced Stoner Advisory to rest in her vehicle. This was the only inconvenient issue that we encountered and we still made due. It was a rough start but it wasn’t something a little weed and medibles wouldn’t solve later on. I was personally happy to have this opportunity and am grateful for this rare experience.

After we comfortably settled, we mingled our way through the event. Smiles were exchanged, people were lit, and energies were high. The tone was chill, and everyone was friendly as they passed by. I was enthralled and was taken by the atmosphere as I went along. I was ready for fun.

The sun was shining without a cloud in the sky. It was a hot one. And as the heat wave picked up so did my desire to stay quenched. The mountain scenery heartened the mood as the event began to get underway. Music filled the valley, echoing off the majestic mountains and rippling into vibrations of harmonic melodies as it belted from the stage speakers.

On the first expedition around the property, we ran into many well-known cannabis enthusiasts like Urban Remo and Neil Magnuson. Neil opened the event with his infamous song “Oh Cannabis,” a parody of “O Canada.” The power in his voice while he sang brought a moment of serenity to the gathered crowd. It was spectacular to witness.

The Grounds

Vendors, Food & Amenities

As the event rolled on we checked out some of the vendors; throughout the site there were plenty to choose from. Their wares included clothing, books, glass, weed paraphernalia, medibles, shatter and more. I was able to sample some amazing shatter from Skunk & Panda, a dispensary out of Victoria, who’d set up a “shatter shack”. The dabtenders were high-ly educated, and were generous to the crowd in sharing their amazing concentrates.

(While enroute to Cowichan we had stopped at the Skunk & Panda dispensary at the Canna Mall in Victoria. I picked up some Northern Lights shatter and Green Crack shatter — truly top-shelf West Coast extracts. We enjoyed them immensely at the Green Ceiling vapour lounge in the mall. The staff there were super friendly and very welcoming. I recommend checking out the Canna Mall if you’re ever in Victoria.)

Amenities included showers with hot running water, as well as flushable porta-potty stalls maintained twice daily. And the festival grounds even had portable ATMs and Wifi available.

Food options for BIO Cup Canada 2016 were broad, with an array of choices. The food trucks and shacks varied from Asian cuisine to a smokehouse to homemade ice cream, pizza, mini donuts, and poutine. Finally, they were all open as late as the night went, and sometimes that went into the next morning. It was a stoner’s munchie paradise in the middle of nowhere!

The Tour

Legends Valley Music Fare 2016

The feeling of being both starstruck and thrilled was a cocktail leading to some amazing photo opportunities with the performing musicians. Security was very cooperative and extremely helpful as I carried on, allowing me to access the stars close up with no time limits. I relaxed in my work and head space. Still mastering my Nikon D7000, I took it upon myself to use different apertures and ISO settings to produce random and rare photos.

This first year kicked off with a musical lineup so robust, one couldn’t help but pull all-nighters to catch all the shows. With two stages it was hard to catch everything even with two photographers.

The Music

The big names performed on the main stage while DJs and lesser-known artists performed on the smaller stage. Some of my favourites included in the lineup were Sublime with Rome, Kottonmouth Kings, Funkdoobiest, Dirty Heads, Forgotten Rebels, The Sheepdogs, Daniel Wesley, Dirty Mike and the Boys, and, especially, Bif Naked.

Weekend Highlight!

I caught Bif Naked’s show and spent about 30 minutes shooting pictures of her owning the stage. A little of my history with her performance — she was a huge motivation for me to pursue this specific gig, and I’ll tell you why. When I was a youth, I used to sneak into a local pub in Winnipeg (The Royal Albert) specifically to watch her perform in her band Gorilla Gorilla, whose style was soft-core punk meets Joan Jett. I idolized her. I showed up to all her gigs every time she played. And I was honoured to meet this gem of a woman.

She was as spectacular then as she is now and having beat breast cancer, she wears her tattoo “Survivor” well. Bif Naked shares her personal experiences with her fans, while encouraging them to harvest freedom and exercise personal liberties. Hers was a great performance and she’s a great speaker. It was amazing to have been as close as I was for this show.

Bif Naked

Bio Cup Canada 2016 Cannabis Events

Along with the musical talent there was the cannabis cup and a glassblowing competition. Redbeard Glass & Vagabond Glass set up a VIP glass shack at the event, and other glass artists joined the torchy fun.

Redbeard and crew also hosted a VIP dab and toke area, I quite enjoyed it! Although I did not judge any of the Bio Cup Canada 2016 cannabis, I certainly didn’t say no to sampling some of it. A perk of being in this industry is often getting handed a joint or offered a dab.

Glass and Dabs

As for what the cannabis entries were and who won, well, there were so many categories that it was hard to track in real time, though Beard Brothers Collective definitely accumulated a few, and Bare Coconut massage oil and Purfarm won awards. As of now, Bio Cup Canada hasn’t released a winner’s list. I have inquired but have yet to hear back.

Now would I go again? It depends on the musical talent: if the lineup is as good next year as it was this year, you bet I will go. And if that is the case, I will be getting the judge’s pass!