Willie Nelson to Appear at This Year’s Emerald Cup

Published on November 7, 2018 · Last updated July 28, 2020
(AP photo)

Outlaw country legend Willie Nelson will join his outlaw farmer brethren in California’s famed Wine Country this December for one heck of a hootenanny.

This morning promoters for the world’s largest outdoor organic cannabis competition, The Emerald Cup, announced that the grammy-winning superstar marijuana lover will receive a lifetime achievement award at the event on Dec. 15 in Santa Rosa, CA.Looking For Legal Cannabis?

A Rare Winter Appearance

It’s a real coup for the 15 year-old Emerald Cup, which has grown from a backwoods gathering of clandestine pot growers into the globe’s county fair of cannabis. Over 20,000 people are expected to attend the two-day event an hour’s drive north of San Francisco.

“We’re finally going to get Willie there. It’’ll be a magical moment, given Willie’s age and how much we’ve always wanted him there.”

Emerald Cup organizer spokesperson and founder Tim Blake said he’s asked Willie to appear for five years. Nelson usually doesn’t perform in December, but he agreed to one gig in the Bay Area that weekend, and added the Emerald Cup to his schedule.

“He’s going to fly up. Take the award. Play a couple songs. And then he’s going to fly back and do his show,” Blake said. “We’re finally going to get Willie there. It’ll be a magical moment given Willie’s age and how much we’ve always wanted him.”

Dec. 16 in Santa Rosa

The 15th annual cannabis celebration’s Willie Nelson ceremony will take place on Dec. 16 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, Calif. The 2018 Emerald Cup will mark Nelson’s first-ever appearance at a large-scale cannabis event.

The Emerald Cup will also honor the singer and cannabis activist by renaming its annual award the Willie Nelson Award.

Nelson is an American icon and national treasure with a six-decade-long career that includes best-selling albums, books, and the annual Farm Aid benefit concert. He’s also a fifth-degree black belt in Gong Kwon Yu Sul.

Looking For Legal Cannabis? Leafly Has All Your Local Menus

Lifelong Rebel and Cannabis Enthusiast

Nelson grew up in Texas, and the singer, songwriter, author, poet, and actor was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1993. In 2015, the Library of Congress gave him the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song —the first-ever country artist to receive the award.

Shop highly rated dispensaries near you

Showing you dispensaries near
See all dispensaries

“We have a great deal of respect and admiration for Willie, who is graciously allowing the Cup to honor future individuals with an award that will remain in his name,” Blake said. “An unwavering ability to stand true in his beliefs and refusal to accept society’s rigid set of rules are only part of what makes Willie the perfect individual to be recognized as a hero to the cannabis world.”

The Emerald Cup may be the most influential cannabis event in the world. It features a massive cannabis flower, extract and seed fair, a judged cannabis contest, as well as headlining musical acts, industry presentations, artists and educators.

The Emerald Cup takes place Dec. 15 and 16. Tickets are available on the Emerald Cup website and Eventbrite. Weekend passes start at $120.

[Clarification: After publication, an Emerald Cup spokesperson clarified,  ‘It is not confirmed or official that Nelson will be performing’.]

Shop highly rated dispensaries near you

Showing you dispensaries near
See all dispensaries
David Downs
David Downs
Leafly Senior Editor David Downs is the former Cannabis Editor of the San Francisco Chronicle. He's appeared on The Today Show, and written for Scientific American, The New York Times, WIRED, Rolling Stone, The Onion A/V Club, High Times, and many more outlets. He is a 2023 judge for The Emerald Cup, and has covered weed since 2009.
View David Downs's articles
Get good reads, local deals, and strain spotlights delivered right to your inbox.

By providing us with your email address, you agree to Leafly's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.