Cannabis meets punk style at Oakland’s Burger Boogaloo

July 11, 2017

When it comes to cannabis and punk rock, Oakland has put its cultural stamp on both (see “Oaksterdam” and 924 Gilman). This year, the two converged more than ever at the annual punk rock music festival Burger Boogaloo, held July 1 and 2 at Oakland’s Mosswood Park.

There was familiar green smell in the air as audience members smoked, vaped and ingested weed while bands including the Buzzcocks, X, Redd Kross, Guitar Wolf, Car Crash and headliner Iggy Pop performed on two stages. The weekend-long event, hosted by Burger Records, has become a destination not only for punk music fans, but also for some of the best punk street style seen in the Bay Area (take that, mass-marketed festival fashion!). In its first year since the passage of California’s proposition 64, pot seemed more popular than ever at the festival.

For the second year, New York photographer Henny Garfunkel turned her lens on the outrageous ensembles, extreme beauty and alternative culture scene at Mosswood Park. When asked to keep an eye out for cannabis use during the festival, the photographer had one question:

“Do you think anyone will be smoking?”

Garfunkel was not disappointed. Within minutes of the first band shredding, she spotted audience members sparking bowls and joints in ages old rock ‘n’ roll tradition. Garfunkel, who is well-known for her film festival celebrity portraiture for outlets including the New York Times, Paper Magazine and the BBC, quickly learned to follow her nose to the cannabis consumers.

The eight year-old festival was emceed for the third time by filmmaker and self-described “filth elder” John Waters. The director of “Pink Flamingos” and “Female Trouble” has famously described his early films as “movies made for potheads, even though we weren’t on pot when we actually made them,” and retains a large fanbase among so-called stoners, even with the blockbuster success of the family-friendly musical adaptation of his film “Hairspray.” The photographer and director have been friends for years: Speaking of “Hairspray,” Garfunkel was the on-set photographer on Waters’ 1988 version of the film and even has a cameo in one of the scenes.

After documenting the people and the pot at Burger Boogaloo Garfunkel reflected on both:

“There’s nothing like this in New York!”

Only in Oakland, kids, only in Oakland.

Tony Bravo is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email:

Follow the Chronicle Style section for more photography by Henny Garfunkel this summer