LEON: Pot-themed IdeaFestival a major disappointment

Oct 1, 2014 at 2:38 pm
LEON: Pot-themed IdeaFestival a major disappointment

Something a little different is in the air of this year’s IdeaFestival. Wacky Weedus, Mean Joe Green, Marvin the Martian, Stinky Green Cheese, Lucky Charms, Schnazzberries, Green Crush and JaGreen Garofalo will “headline” this year’s festivities. 

IdeaFestival, which started in 2000, is an annual celebration of innovations in science, literature, art, music, politics, economics and those making a positive impact on the world. In an effort to attract a younger, more diverse audience, as well as stimulate even more creative ideas and discussions, directors of IdeaFestival have targeted the swelling exploration of legal, leisurely use of marijuana.

The concept “sparked” interest, to say the least. 

“Cities and states all over the country are debating the issue,” explains IdeaFestival’s founder, Kris Kimmel, “and we believed this was the perfect time to explore the issue. What are they discovering in Colorado? What would it do for Louisville and Kentucky? What great innovations can come from puffing, passing and exploring?”

While the intention to attract a younger, more diverse crowd was correctly predicted, the outcome of the “ideas” part did not live up to the hype. Over 15,000 people attended the four days of events, with hundreds of teens and students making their first visit — some traveling from as far as Michigan, Minnesota and the Carolinas. Unfortunately, the show they expected was a major disappointment. 

Most complained about the rustling of potato chip bags and candy wrappers, distracting from the presentations and causing tension with some of the older, more loyal attendees. Experienced IdeaFestival patrons also said it was difficult at times to hear over the constant chuckling of the new visitors. 

Roy Wood, 43, who lives in Glenview and has been coming to IdeaFestival for years, had to walk out of the seminar, “IF we were all ants.” Wood described to LEON, “I thought this would be a very deep, scientific or sociologic exploration into the human network, living and working together to do big things. Instead, it was a roundtable of some people stoned out of their mind talking about stars. It sounded like something out of ‘Animal House.’” 

Wood did acknowledge that it may have helped if he were, in fact, high himself. “I guess if I were baked out of my mind it would have been a lot better. The people around me all seemed pretty fascinated.” 

Other seminars included:

IF Huh 

IF I Were an Animal, I’d Be a … 

IF Munchies (Culinary Art)

IF Retirement: The Golden Years to the Medicinal Needs

IF I Was … what was I talking about?

Kimmel acknowledged that there were some unexpected divergences from past festivals but stuck by the decisions, saying, “This is what IdeaFestival is all about. Thinking outside of the box. Striving to try something new. The true failure is not measured in success; it’s failing to try at all.”


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