Sept. 25, 1971
October 1st, 2010
MADISON: After I reported the first Harvest Fest had it's roots as an
anti-war rally, I heard from "a reliable source" who was among the
organizers of the first of what will be 40 marijuana harvest
festivals this weekend. The source, who wishes to go unnamed, shared
some memories of the first fest:
Harvest Fest was a smoke-in from the get-go.
We asked the Vietnam Veterans Against the War to get the permit for
use of Brittingham Park because we didn't think that the city would
give the Yippies a permit for anything (this was before [Paul] Soglin
was elected Mayor) but figured they wouldn't be able to deny it to the vets.
What we didn't know was that we were so thoroughly infiltrated that
this strategem was reported by the informants and therefore
completely known to the police and whoever the police chose to tell.
The first issue of TakeOver (underground newspaper) printed a
centerspread photo of the march with the headline: "First Annual
Marijuana Harvest Festival." It shows the marchers from the park
starting out toward the Capitol.
The main banner read: "Yippie! Smoke-in, Madison, Sept. 25. Free Dana Beal".
It was decorated with the "Armed Love" version of the Zig-Zag guy
with a bandoleer of shells across his shoulder, and the slogan:
"America's Going to Pot."
One of the police reports afterwards said they could smell the smoke
from 500 feet away. They also said that 40 pounds of pot were smoked,
which was an exaggeration by about a factor of ten. I guess they
believed any boast we made.
39 years later, and we still have to say: "Free Dana Beal."
At that time, Dana was in jail in Madison charged with several counts
of sales to a narc and also charged with possession with intent. In
the end, he copped a plea and served about a year in the Dane County
jail. William Kunstler, legendary lawyer for radicals, was willing
to serve as his defense lawyer but the case didn't ever come to trial.
I sure didn't think Dana Beal would still be facing time in prison 40
years after 1971.
Harvest Fest 40 goes into full stride Friday, Oct. 1 - Read the full