Miami's Five Best 4/20 Parties

Photo by Karli Evans
Much like Super Bowl Sunday (and the Hangover Monday that follows), April 20 — or 4/20 — has become an unofficial holiday. Employees will call in sick and students will skip classes. It’s a national day of stoned joy resulting from the now-mainstream embrace of those three simple numbers: 4, 2, and 0.

The date has been nearly ubiquitous in weed culture for the past 30-odd years. The term originated with a group of California potheads in the '70s and was popularized by the Grateful Dead once the bandmates caught a whiff of the super-duper-secret code and spread its use with every show thereafter. Considering the close relationship marijuana has enjoyed with music for the better part of the past half-century, it seems natural that a rock 'n' roll jam band became the Johnny Appleseeds of planting 4/20 in the minds of the masses.

Today, 4/20 is a public celebration that gets a sort of pass by even those not involved in the fun. Even if Miami can't be quite as public about its 4/20 love as a place like Denver, where recreational pot is perfectly legal, the Magic City still has plenty of weed-centric festivities planned next week. Though we recommend caution as to how aficionados spend the day — after all, Florida lawmakers are still dragging their feet in passing the medical marijuana legislation overwhelmingly approved by voters last November — here are some of the best events around town not to puff-puff-pass on.

Sunday, April 16

420 Miami Celebration at Fussé Studios
Because April 20 is just too far away, NugBrand Clothing and Dab Day Productions are getting an early start with their 420 Miami Celebration this Sunday. The politically and socially minded groups are, in part, commemorating Florida's approval of medical marijuana through live music, merch, and food trucks (meanwhile, Canada is looking to legalize weed everywhere, in all its forms — sigh). And rest assured, next-generation THC fans who prefer dabs, there will be gear available by several 710 vendors (because 710, of course, is the word “oil” upside down).
Thursday, April 20

Big Sean at the Fillmore Miami Beach

The marquee event of the evening, Big Sean was already going to perform at the Fillmore Miami Beach in a haze of smoke, so it makes all the more sense the show will take place on 4/20. A proper hip-hop concert (or rock concert, for that matter) doesn’t really start until the acrid scent of that first puff hits the air. More often than not, concerts and festivals achieve the unspoken status of a space safe. Be prepared for the moment Big Sean drops “High,” though — a gas mask, either to rip bong hits out of or, conversely, to catch your breath, wouldn't be a terrible idea.

Miami 420 Music Festival at Churchill’s Pub

If there’s one thing Churchill’s can never be accused of, it’s being boring. Always involved in the local music scene, the venerated rock club/dive bar will not be outdone with its Miami 420 Music Festival, presenting the diverse talents of Layzie Bone of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, rapper Lil Eazy-E, Miami’s resident weirdo Otto von Schirach, and the “strange bass” of Lamebot, among other musical beats to go with your smoky treats.

SoundBite Presents 4/20: A Space Odyssey at Lincoln’s Bear Brewing Company
This party takes getting high to new heights: outer space. SoundBite Magazine presents a special screening of Stanley Kubrick’s mind-bending science-fiction classic 2001: A Space Odyssey. Held at Lincoln’s Bear Brewing Company, the showing will feature music by Folktale San Pedro and Pavlov’s Bell, a pair of dreamy, psychedelic Miami-based bands. The event is free, and liftoff is set for 8 p.m.

Saturday, April 22

Kaya Fest at Bayfront Park Amphitheatre
Tommy Chong, every pothead’s adoptive grandpa, last year tweeted, “You can also celebrate 4/20 on 4/22 because it’s Four Twenty Too.” The folks behind the inaugural Kaya Fest happily follow that same logic with a music festival that could become the new Marley Fest. Advocating “Education Before Recreation,” Kaya Fest boasts an initial lineup including brothers Stephen, Ziggy, Damian, Julian, and Ky-Mani Marley (together onstage for the first time in more than 20 years), as well as Lauryn Hill, Sean Paul, Wyclef Jean, Cultura Profética, and Inner Circle, all hosted by radio and MTV personality Sway from Sway in the Morning. It's a weed-friendly, Caribbean-flavored, and reggae-heavy roster of artists that we’d recommend not getting too high for because it should be a day worth remembering.
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Angel Melendez is an unabashed geek and a massive music nerd. A graduate of Florida Atlantic University and an accomplished failure at two other universities, Angel is a lush and an insufferable know-it-all, and has way better taste in music than you.
Contact: Angel Melendez

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