By Anna Rumer April 7, 2017
Cannabis oasis Kushella to open in time for Coachella, 4/20
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival isn't cool with you smoking pot on festival grounds, but travel less than 3 miles to the east and you'll come upon Kushella, a marijuana festival opening in Coachella in time for music festival season and stoner holiday 4/20.
The event, which is planned to take place on a city-owned lot located at the southeast corner of Calhoun Street and Avenue 50, is described as a "forward-thinking cannabis festival" by co-organizer Umberto Bagnara, who owns the All About Bud marijuana dispensary in Desert Hot Springs, as well as other members of the Coachella Grow Association and Coachella Ventures, Inc..
Vendors from all parts of the marijuana industry are planned to be on site, as are doctors ready to recommend medical marijuana cards to those who need them, Bagnara said. Only medical marijuana usage will be allowed at the festival, despite the recent legalization of recreational use for adults 21 and older.
Air conditioned lounges should be available for VIPs, Bagnara said, but everyone will have access to a beer garden, live music and other entertainment. RV parking will be available for people who want to camp out.
"The vision is to be an event that's next to Coachella, which as you know is an internationally known event," attorney Chris Hoo told Coachella City Council. "(It's) piggybacking off of that event."
Coachella City Council approved the $19,000 lease for the land at a March 22 meeting in a 4-1 vote, with Councilwoman Betty Sanchez voting against the measure. In addition to the lease, the festival organizers will be required to pay transient occupancy tax, excise tax and sales tax to the city.
Mayor Steven Hernandez said this festival could be a way for the city to get a piece of the pie when it comes to profiting off of the festival that shares its name.
"We as a city have tried to benefit for years from the Coachella music festival," he said. "We haven't really been successful obviously as a result of lacking amenities that the folks attending the festival wanna come and see. Maybe this is an attempt to get some kind of return or some kind of investment from what otherwise is a large footprint (from people) that attend the festival and are frankly in the eastern end of the Coachella Valley."
City Councilmember Emmanuel Martinez said he thought the organizers had left themselves a short timeline with which to work, but that the timing of the event is "perfect."
"If the applicant feels like they can pull it off, more power to them," he said. "I think it's a great idea."
The festival will be held on April 14-16, 20-23 and 28-30. Bagnara said he hopes that having the event open on 4/20 will provide a little extra fun for those who celebrate and medicate.For more information and ticket sales, visit kushella-life.com.
"I feel like it's going to be a big success," he said.
Anna Rumer is a reporter covering the Eastern Coachella Valley for The Desert Sun. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @AnnaRumer.