Considering Coachella is the premier U.S. music festival, it's no surprise that a flurry of non-sanctioned parties and events just happen to pop up near the Indio desert every year when Coachella goes down.
But this weekend, something unprecedented is coming to the California desert: Weed.
Okay, okay -- blazing during Coachella weekend doesn't exactly qualify as trailblazing. But a new, invite-only event that the online marijuana community Weedmaps and Talent Resources are planning for this weekend is something previously unseen amid the eruption of parties and branded-events: A retreat space devoted solely to marijuana.
"A lot of parties that go on during Coachella try to compete with Coachella," says Jonathan "JJ" Jones, vice president for business development at Weedmaps, which has worked on similar events in the past. "We see it as a place where people can decompress and get away from the madness. We look to complement it, not compete with it." While conversing with Billboard, Jones is careful to point out that the event is not Coachella sanctioned.
With a focus on "health and wellness," the so-called Marijuana Oasis will feature several geodesic domes, each one occupied by a different A-grade brand of California kush.
"Each one of our brands -- Nameless Genetics, FlavRX, Brass Knuckles -- they have their vibe within our domes," Jones explains. "We're unique in that we can bring brands that would be seen as competitors in one place and showcase them as the 'Best in Class' that they are. You could say the best brands in the world are coming out of California, and these are the best brands in California. So these are the best brands in the world."
What's the cost to smoke the best? Well, nothing. After all, if the Oasis charged, they'd be dispensing, and therefore in violation of the law.
"Imagine you go to a wine tasting -- we provide it as a sampling. We don't charge. It's exclusive, VIP. If you're an A-lister, you're going to be there, it's a one of a kind experience. Whether you want to try edibles or try concentrate for the first time or just smoke some great flower, we give it all away. It's more or less there for brands to showcase how great their products are."
The catch, of course, is that the event is invite-only -- not just anyone can roll up and roll one. To keep it that way, the Oasis isn't revealing the location of the event until the Friday (April 14) it lights up the desert (the opening party starts 9:30 p.m. local time; the Oasis only runs this weekend). Jones said the curated list of invitees includes everyone from fashionistas to "top-level executives from Fortune 500 companies to action sports athletes."
In short, it's not a space for out-of-their-mind stoners to sync Dark Side and Wizard of Oz. "What's important for Weedmaps as a company and a brand is elevating the cannabis industry, and being more about lifestyle. We're de-stigmatizing the Spicoli vibe."
Apart from giving attendees the chance to turn a new leaf, the Oasis will offer massages, manicures, pedicures, juices, pools, and other accouterment you might find at a wellness spa. In the music realm, Jones promised DJs and teased "a lot of performers who will probably jump up on stage and perform," but he wouldn't reveal names. "We don't want to announce them because we don't want that to be the draw. We want the draw to be the best cannabis in the world. The headliner for us is cannabis."