For Jonathan Rader, founder of the cannabis brand Ganja Pigs, harmony is the goal. Over many years from the legacy to legal sectors, he’s laid the foundation for events that helped mark New York as the consumer capital of the world. This summer, he will imbue groundbreaking East Coast events with that same energy, first ringing in the 710 holiday with an incredible Jersey Shore party co-hosted by Scrambld Yegs and presented by VIBES Papers, and then August 9th-11th uniting the Empire State’s communities for the second annual Budstock festival

“We’re celebrating the plant and the way it should be,” Rader says. “I’m trying to create an environment where the plant is doing what it’s supposed to do - bring people together.”

What's Happening At The Ganja Pigs x Scrambld Yegs 710 Party In New Jersey?

The entrepreneur and activist believes that July 10th, also known as International Dab Day or OIL Day (710 flipped upside-down), will eventually eclipse 420 (National Cannabis Day) in terms of event production and cultural importance. It’s a time that opens new pathways for advocates and consumers to enjoy their favorite concentrates, resin, shatter, and other pure forms of cannabinoids. Nowhere will that be more evident than during the Ganja Pigs x Scrambld Yegs party, which will showcase 50 of the best vendors in the tristate area, live music, deluxe culinary offerings including special preparations by Manja La Ganja and elite food truck services, dab bars, giveaways, and more.

Attendees will gather in Farmingdale, New Jersey, getting the full experience of the Garden State’s natural beauty amid the delights that the event’s producers have cultivated. Rader is also dedicated to making the party accessible: General admission is $10, and VIP tickets go for $25 plus purchase of an edible, eighth of flower, or gram of wax. (For more information, DM @ganjapigworldwide @animalhouseevents420710 and @scrambld_ on Instagram.)  

Ganja Pigs founder Jonathan Rader and his partner at Budstock 2023, Echo Lake, NY (C) Alex Long @alexlongphotography

“This is our third annual Ganja Pigs 710 party,” Rader notes, “but [we’re calling it Part 2] because this is my second one with Scrambld. He’s Jersey-based and does supreme food-related events. Ganja Pigs, though we’re an enterprise known for many different things, is definitely interested in food and edibles. When I collaborated with Scrambld the first time around, he had just been getting his business going, but now he has built it to a point where he has three huge food trucks and we can throw a really cool thing. All the big hash guys are coming out and it should be a good display of what’s happening in the oil world.”

To an extent, Rader sees this 710 celebration as the best way to introduce New York and New Jersey brands to each other in an elevated setting. Such networking opportunities are his specialty, as he’s drawn major crowds to sesh events that merge cultural and business-building interests from 2016 onward. Inspired by the great social movements of the 60s and 70s, and 21st century productions like Washington D.C.’s City Sesh, Rader determined that he would put New York on the cannabis map. Working with collaborators including NYC Hempire, founder of the iconic Heavy Hitterz brand, the visionary manifested a different kind of plant-infused gathering. Notable artists like Fabolous, Rowdy Rebel, Bobby Shmurda, and others contributed their talents, and soon the rest was history. 

Rapper Jadakiss and artists at Budstock 2023(C) Alex Long @alexlongphotography

See Ganja Pigs on Times Square billboards during Honeysuckle's 420 2024 celebration:

Why Is It Important To Host The Ganja Pigs x Scrambld Yegs 710 Party In New Jersey?

Rader has always put his faith in the power of 710. He gives major thanks to VIBES, Scrambld Yegs, and all partners for making the New Jersey event happen this year. Approximately 500 guests are expected to attend. 

“I think what’s happening right now is that the community is moving around,” he observes. “A majority of the people [New Yorkers] were dealing with in the beginning were coming from other states like Pennsylvania and Jersey. Now that there’s bigger events going on in [places like Philadelphia], so there are communities growing around where I placed this event which might make it a better middle point than New York City. Jersey being in the middle, people can come from Philly, Delaware, or farther away, and we can all meet. It’s on a farm. There’s nothing like that in New York City. It’s about connecting people with nature right now.”

LOVE AND HIP HOP star Sophia Body DJs at Budstock 2023 (C) Alex Long @alexlongphotography

Ganja Pigs Presents Second Annual Budstock Festival At Electric Echo Lake, August 9-11, 2024

To that end, Rader is looking extremely forward to August 9th, when Ganja Pigs will present its second Budstock on Echo Lake in upstate New York. In the village of Afton, just north of Binghamton, the Electric Echo Lake campground will play host to this unique festival, which Rader calls “a harvest fest for peace, love, music, and ganja.”

Last year, Ganja Pigs produced the inaugural Budstock to immense success and as an industry milestone. “We were the first music festival in New York where cannabis was legally sold on the premises,” Rader explains. “It was a three-day, two-night affair where people camped out. It was a whole vibe.”

Headlined by Jadakiss and featuring performances by Mr. Puffington, Love and Hip Hop’s Sophia Body, Dub Proof, LoveStoned, and many others, Budstock 2023 served as the next-gen iteration of the New York HarvestFest Freedom Rally, bringing a grand 25-year tradition of music and cannabis advocacy to new heights. With an attached-but-officially-separate Cannabis Growers Showcase on the premises, licensed New York cultivators educated festivalgoers about their flower and consumers could sample offerings from a curated Bud Bar. Other sponsors, including RAW Rolling Papers, Viola Brands, Clover Leaf University, and the retail brand Legacy Dispensers, helped establish the multisensory entertainment atmosphere that made the event’s creator dub it “the Coachella of Cannabis.” 

Budstock 2023's acclaimed laser light show, which will return for Budstock 2024(C) Alex Long @alexlongphotography
(C) Alex Long @alexlongphotography
(C) Alex Long @alexlongphotography

What Can Attendees Expect From Budstock 2024?

Budstock 2024 promises to be even bigger. Attendees on both nights will enjoy a fabulous laser light show on the lake, which was a highlight of last year’s festivities. While the artist and vendor lineup remains under wraps until closer to the date, Rader recounts that 2023 had over 50 performers and 20 sponsors. He assures cannabis enthusiasts that for the second go-round, they will encounter a tribute to all things peace and plant-related that truly up the ante. Like the Ganja Pigs 710 party, Budstock will be extremely accessible - free tickets are currently available to the public (reserve your spot here). 

Most importantly, he emphasizes the opportunity for genuine connection. “There’s a huge disconnect between New York City and the upstate community. So we want to bridge that gap, merging North New York and South New York and bringing all the growers together… I want to have as many growers as possible come with their latest crops and celebrate the harvest. That’s the whole premise behind [Budstock], trying to give these guys that are in the daily grind a chance to just kick it, reflect, enjoy the music, enjoy smoking, decompress for a few days. My parents are hippies, man; they came from the Woodstock era. I just wanted to do my own version of it, and now it’s an especially good time because of how much craziness and unrest there is. I want to bring some real peace.”

(C) Alex Long @alexlongphotography
(C) Alex Long @alexlongphotography
Heman Shahi of Re-Legalize Nepal at Budstock 2023(C) Alex Long @alexlongphotography

Connection And Cannabis Milestones At Budstock

Part of why last year’s event worked so well was New York’s pilot program of Cannabis Growers Showcases, which allowed consumers to interact directly with farmers and local brands. “The fact that we were granted the Growers Showcases was a blessing,” Rader asserted. “I don’t think it’s been done in any other state where you could have these farmers vend at festivals, fairs. It’s a unique opportunity and a cool angle to play, promoting our brand but also helping the farmers at the same time. That’s why we did it, to help the people who need help. And if we’re going to excel in this industry and move up, we need support the people doing it right and trying to succeed. Those farmers have been going through it and are still going through it. [I want] to bring out a serious audience for these people.”

Revised regulations from the state’s Office of Cannabis Management in the past few months have added new complications, such as ending the Growers Showcase program in December 2023 and revised regulations in May 2024 on how cannabis products may be sold at events. “Legally, it’s hard because the market is still evolving,” Rader admits. “But I think there’s still a big part of the New York consumer base that just wants to try legal weed. They want to see what we got, how far it’s come, sample this and that. There are definitely consumers that will come to [Budstock and other festivals] and purchase. So that’s part of the goal - we want to help get farmers into a place where they’re comfortable, so more stores can open, and [the market] will be full and plentiful of great cannabis and we can all celebrate the harvest. [Budstock] is a freedom rally, it’s a music festival… It’s history, actually. Electric Echo Lake was the site of New York’s first Cannabis Cup, now 26 years ago. It’s a mecca for cannabis and we want to carry on the tradition.”

Join Ganja Pigs, Scrambld Yegs, VIBES Papers and friends on Wednesday, July 10, 2024 for the 710 Party, 3-10PM in Farmingdale, NJ. DM @ganjapigworldwide @animalhouseevents420710 and @scrambld_ for more information. 

The 2nd Annual Budstock Festival will be held August 9-11, 2024 at Electric Echo Lake in Afton, NY. Free tickets are currently available - click here to reserve your spot through Eventbrite.

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Featured image: Mainstage performances at Budstock 2023, Echo Lake, NY, hosted by Ganja Pigs (C) Alex Long @alexlongphotography