420 and bluegrass – Or: Things that I didn’t know before coming to Canada

Posted in media, culture and society by thomas on the April 25th, 2009

I have mentioned before that a lot of people in Vancouver tell me about the quality and importance of B.C. marijuana and how the laws or rather their enforcement is lenient compared to the US and Canada’s east. I think I also mentioned that on the other hand alcohol laws and their enforcement are extremely strict compared to those in Austria. So I was already kind of used to seeing the reverse image of Austrian culture: people smoke weed in public or at concerts where there’s a strict „no tobacco“ policy, people get arrested for drinking or being drunk in public.

Anyways, when it came to April 20th I was still stunned by how different our two cultures deal with the two drugs. April 20th or 420 (4-20) is a (supposedly) global counterculture holiday to celebrate the use and demonstrate for the legalisation of marijuana. It obviously never made it to Austria, a country where April 20th is more related to the birth of a rather unpleasent historical figure.

So – how would you expect this counterculture holiday to look like? Secret private gatherings? Think again.

(Nope: I do not have original video material as I was not downtown …)

Please take a second to imagine a demonstration like that in Vienna, preferably 1st district.

On the same day, maybe remotly connected in terms of ideology, I agreed to attend a bluegrass concert. The Yonder Mountain String Band was in town and I got some insider information that they would be absolutely amazing live. And they were. (Music starts at 1:40)