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“Classically Cannabis” Raises Moods—and Money

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Given the pre-show hubbub around last Friday’s marijuana-friendly event staged by the Colorado Symphony Orchestra (CSO), attendees may have been surprised at the utter lack of armored police vehicles, drug-sniffing dogs, or jonesing stoners scaling the walls for a mere sampling of this exotic and enlightening substance.

No, the raciest thing associated with “Classically Cannabis” probably was the name itself. The event, the first of three such benefits for the CSO, was 21-and-over and by-invitation-only for donations starting at $75 per person. These caveats neutered the initial concern over holding a weed-friendly show in an ostensibly public place, and the price tag no doubt scared away any yahoos who might have come for the buzz and not the Bach.

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The evening played out in about the same way any gallery opening or classical music show would. If not for the patrons’ serenely goofy grins and furtive glances—Is he stoned? Is she? Am I?—you might not have guessed that the evening was built around Colorado’s newly minted herb. Yes, there was the occasional distinctive aroma fluttering around the Space Gallery patio, but it was no more pervasive than what you encounter during a typical stroll down Broadway.

The patrons encompassed ages from 20s to 70s, sporting attire that ranged from sparkly and formal to hipster chic to slovenly casual (the latter category being comprised primarily of reporters who were covering the festivities). The suited and ear-pieced security personnel conducted their duties as solemnly as a Secret Service advance team as guests hit the bar or visited several food trucks and popsicle and ice cream vendors on the Space patio. Inside, sponsors such as Leafly set up tables to provide information about their businesses. “This is exactly the type of event we’d like to support and promote,” said Kayla Cook, Leafly’s events and sponsorships coordinator. “I came to Leafly from a wine events background, and this is very similar to that.”

For the evening’s music, the CSO had its Brass Ensemble play several sets of classical favorites. It’s an unfamiliar genre to some—to certain slovenly reporters, anyway—but the tunes included jaunty, proclamational numbers (as if announcing the birth of a prince) as well as stately ballads and graceful lullabies. This is where just a few overt signs of the audience’s substantive intake became apparent: After the first song of the second set ended, everyone seemed to forget how to clap for an extra beat or two; and as the waning notes of “Danny Boy” wafted into the cool night sky, more than a few tears fell.

All in all, Classically Cannabis was cultured, mellow, and fun. More importantly, according to organizer Jane West of Edible Events, it helped the bottom line for a group of artists whose very existence is under constant threat. Having raised about $30,000 from sponsors and another $20,000 from attendees on Friday, the CSO is on its way to exceeding the $200,000 goal it set for this series of events—a relatively modest amount that the booming marijuana industry and its patrons should be delighted to help provide.

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Follow 5280 articles editor Luc Hatlestad on Twitter at @LucHatlestad.

—Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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