Good vibrations resounded through Saugerties, New York, at the Under Over Fest during the July 4th weekend. The Cannabis-friendly music festival, so named because it takes place in the shadow of the famed Overlook Mountain, was a daylong celebration of freedom as it should be. Presented by Etain Health, New York’s only women-founded medical cannabis brand, Under Over Fest surrounded audiences with a delightful array of sounds, education and advocacy, CBD beverages, and a caravan of babies and dogs that made everyone smile.
Check out our highlights from the Under Over Fest!
What Is Under Over Fest? Music And Cannabis In Upstate New York
“One of the reasons we started Under Over Fest was to unite members of the community in upstate New York with the newly regulated and legalized cannabis industry,” said Sloane Barbour, the event’s co-organizer. It’s only the second year that the festival has been produced, but it’s already proven a great success, selling out early both times. Barbour noted that by using the backdrop of “music and weed, which go together like peanut butter and jelly, there’s still a lot to learn about the history of the plant, how to interact with the plant, [and] what legalization has to offer.” By hosting such an event in Saugerties, adjacent to Woodstock, the organizers were not only conjuring the elevated vibes of the iconic 1969 fest, but also honoring Ulster County’s reputation for incredible agriculture and cultivation, while bringing new opportunities to the fore. The Upstate Farmhouse venue harmonized all these intentions, setting the goings-on in a classically peaceful farm location complete with rolling fields and swimming hole that opened onto the river. As Barbour affirmed, the layout gave the feeling that Under Over Fest had something for everyone.
Etain Garden: Cannabis Education At Under Over Fest
Entrants to the grounds were greeted by the Etain Garden, where a knowledgeable team provided education about cannabis wellness and a wide array of CBD products for festival attendees. Jes Feuer, Etain’s Marketing Director, was the hostess with the mostest – she seemed to travel almost between dimensions, moving quickly from handing guests CBD beverages to explaining how items could be used in a daily regimen to extolling the many women-owned brands that Etain displays in-store. Fun-seekers could also guess the number of nugs in a pepper grinder to win a prize, a cheeky nod to Etain’s newest strain, Sergeant Pepper. The thrumming energy of the space gave visitors an instant uplift, an idyllic spot where cannabis could be enjoyed among wildflowers and picnic tables.
What Are Etain's Best Cannabis Products?
Among the products highlighted were sprays, lozenges, tinctures, and Etain’s signature water-soluble powder. Feuer called particular attention to the Motif Magnetic Vape Pen – “there’s nothing else like it on the market” – which was produced in a rainbow limited-edition theme for Pride Month. Though Etain celebrates Pride all year long, the specially-designed pens will only be available while supplies last (20 percent from each sale supports Callen-Lorde, a global leading organization in LGBTQIA+ healthcare). Additionally, Etain is the exclusive New York retailer for Buy Weed From Women, an apparel and accessories brand created by New Jersey artist Jasmine Mans.
Etain's Kingston Store
“As a medical cannabis brand based in New York, it’s really important for us to be involved in the community,” Feuer commented. “When Under Over Fest reached out to us about being part of this, we were so excited.” The festival’s location was especially significant to Feuer and Etain’s founders, the Peckham family, because the brand’s Kingston store is only 15 minutes away from Saugerties. “Kingston was our first location that we opened in 2015… Our staff is really welcoming to the community, and [now] people want to know more about medical cannabis and CBD and the adult-use that’s coming to New York, so you can stop in whether you have a medical card or not and learn about the program. Kingston [continues to be] a really important area for us.”
PrestoDoctor: Getting A Medical Cannabis Card At Under Over Fest
Ryan Lepore, Director of Business Development for PrestoDoctor, was onsite at Under Over Fest as well to help attendees learn about getting their medical cannabis cards. PrestoDoctor is the nation’s top-rated service to register online for medical cannabis cards, now available in nine major markets. In New York, thanks to a recent expansion of the state’s medical cannabis program, doctors are able to certify patients for medical cannabis treatment for any condition at their discretion. This has huge advantages for patient accessibility.
Lepore explained that getting a medical card has a plethora of benefits for most consumers. For people who already take various medications, it’s useful to speak to healthcare professionals about how cannabis may interact with their current prescriptions. “New York’s process allows [patients] to see a physician as well as [medical professionals] onsite at a dispensary such as a pharmacist, which is really helpful because if you have a specific condition, you can walk into a store and be told which products are going to work for you… Medical patients are also going to be able to home-grow… That’s going to take place 18-21 months after adult-use has been in effect. So those who have their medical cards, they’re going to be able to grow their own cannabis and take control of their own medical regimen.”
Understanding the health benefits of cannabis is key to Etain’s mission as well. Feuer added that by partnering with Under Over Fest, the real joy for her was “meeting more people in the community and letting them know that we exist and that we’re here to help them with all their different health and wellness needs. We really have something for everyone, whether you’re canna-curious or very experienced, whether you need high CBD or THC. We just want to educate people and take away that stigma. It’s just a plant and it can do so much good to help people. We just want to spread the love.”
Which Musical Acts Performed At Under Over Fest?
Love was all around in Saugerties. Attendees were treated to diverse performances that flowed in a brilliant evolution of genre - gentle folk and country in the morning, Caribbean-inspired salsa/pop in the afternoon, EDM in the evening and plenty in between. Barbour and his co-producer Jonathan “Skip” Huvard kicked off the musical program with the 70s-inspired guitar stylings of “Skippy and Sloane,” including a beautiful rendition of Gerry Rafferty’s “Right Down the Line.” The soulful duo Moonlight Revival enchanted the audience; Uncle Sam Bridge modernized classic folk tunes with a soaring energy. As action moved from the riverbank to the mainstage, Nashville singer-songwriter Jillette Johnson dazzled in her keyboard-backed ballads, a pop twist on the torch song archetype.
Olivia K and the Parkers threw the day into high gear. A seven-piece band maximized the vocal talents of frontwoman Olivia K, whose dancing and musical storytelling drew from her Afro-Latin roots. From the get-go, she and her group had listeners mesmerized (just try getting “Melanin,” a catchy ode to BIPOC pride, out of your head). The conclusion of their set, segueing from the prayerlike “Good Things” to a slowed-down version of “I Want to Dance With Somebody” joined the congregation together in an encompassing sense of hope.
“I have a lot of mission-driven messages in my songs,” Olivia K said following her performance. “They’re really about putting a little kernel of info [out to the audience] so they can take it away with them. It’s a combo of a lot of things. One, just feeling loved, feeling cared about for yourself, feeling empowered to just take on the world because life is crazy. A lot of these songs are love songs to people I care about, and I think everybody in the band are people that I care about. And everybody in the audience is like an extension… a big family reunion… and also just reminding everybody that we can make a difference in the world! I think music is incredibly powerful at keeping us going. I want to be the music and the movement.”
Creative juices flowed throughout the festival. Progressive guitarist Marcus Rezak evoked The Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia Band with his Shred Is Dead rock-and-roll jam session. The art collective Great Small Works premiered numerous inspirational pieces that delighted guests of all ages. Acclaimed multimedia performer Pat Oleszko was at the height of spatial performance in this liberated arena. The culinary and beverage arts also had their time to shine, as attendees could indulge in gourmet-level food from lobster rolls to vegan sandwiches, and refresh themselves with craft brews, mineral waters, and various CBD drinks. (Little Saints drinks, a popular choice of the day, will soon be available at all Etain stores!)
Under Over Fest: An Entryway To Cannabis Tourism In Upstate New York?
“We wanted to provide the spectrum of what a cannabis-friendly festival would look like,” said Barbour. “In this legal framework, I think we’ve entered a new paradigm and we want to be able to do that in an education-forward way, a community-forward way, and most importantly an inclusive way.”
Barbour observed that New York’s cannabis industry is “incredibly diverse in terms of its topography, its politics, its population,” and that these qualities would be harnessed to increase production and tourist activities upstate. “Ulster County has been known as a butter field, a rich place where some of the best food in New York City comes from, and there’s been a lot of activity in the hemp community up here. [Companies] like Hudson Hemp and High Falls Hemp have been pushing the industry forward for years, and now they have the opportunity to cultivate high-THC cannabis on the exact same farms that they’re developing different hemp strains that perform well in this weather. So I think you’re going to see a lot of growing, you’re going to see a lot of potential tourism for cannabis up here, which I think is an incredible opportunity to showcase how this plant can grow in a very natural outdoor environment or in a very sustainable greenhouse. I believe [this] is the future of how cannabis should be grown, so we can build an industry that’s not only profitable and equitable, but also sustainable.”
Closing out the Under Over Fest, a spectacular fireworks show from event producer Jamie Leo and pulsating sounds from DJ duo The Beet Boys turned the Upstate Farmhouse into the sweetest little rave site ever. The majestic Overlook Mountain seemed almost like a caring guardian, protecting all visitors in its mighty shadow. And the stars of the day were absolutely the bevy of enthusiastic, adorable dogs who ran around the grounds until late into the evening. Special mentions to Zeus, the French bulldog whose strength belies his small stature; River, the 5-month-old puppy with an indestructible taste for adventure; Chico, the Upstate Farmhouse’s resident pup who greets everyone like an old friend; and Thompson, a Doodle mix whose love for life and sheer stamina made him the hit of the party.
Thanks to Etain, the Upstate Farmhouse, FlowerHire, and all the Under Over Fest’s organizers, producers and vendors for a summer event like no other. In Barbour’s words, “Once you start freeing the plant, you free the people.” What a gorgeous tribute to the power of nature, artistry and a shared love of cannabis in creating liberty for all!
For more information about Etain, visit etainhealth.com.
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Featured image: Olivia K and the Parkers performing on Under Over Fest's mainstage (C) Tenzin Tashi @justotrotashi / Honeysuckle Media, Inc.