Listen to this article

EAST MOLINE, IL. – It’s an event meant to entertain through musicians that meld genres, and to educate about one of the country’s most timely topics. And it’s starting tonight, rain or shine.

The TreeoNine festival, happening tonight and Saturday, is a reggae-seasoned multi-genre festival devoted to providing education about and exposure to cannabis culture. It’s founded by Heather Shadden, who for nine years has operated the Yabba Dabbas chain of functional glass and smoking accessory stores in the Quad Cities.

“I wanted to bring something with energy, something you can’t go see every weekend in our area, and something different,” said Shadden. In addition, the festival is a chance to demonstrate that “we’ve come a long way over the years” when it comes to cannabis, which was fully legalized in Illinois in 2020.

“Obviously, some states have jumped on (legalization), with the science behind it and the medicinal benefits,” Shadden said. “I think it’s great to showcase another option other than drinking.”

Over the next two days, 16 bands will take the stage, including six from the Quad Cities area, and rising national acts originally from Minnesota’s Twin Cities, Cleveland, New Orleans and Massachusetts. Six of the bands are reggae or reggae-infused, and almost all are known for melding different genres.


The CREW from Davenport

The CREW from Davenport

Perhaps the biggest name to be featured is rapper Wacka Flocka Flame, an Atlanta native who has collaborated with Drake, Nicki Manaj, Machine Gun Kelly and more. 

Shadden worked with her team at Yabba Dabbas, and with the owner of The Rust Belt festival venue in East Moline, to choose musicins for the festival. In addition to the music, TreeONine (named after the 309 area code for the Illinois side of the Quad Cities), the event also features:

• indoor vendors focused on aspects of the cannabis industry, including cultivation and medication

• outdoor vendors offering jewelry, artwork, clothing, psychic readings, a seed booth

• live glass-blowing

• a shuttle service to the festival’s sponsoring dispensary, Terrace Cannabis along Avenue of the Cities

• four food trucks


• an art display

• a VIP section


Sir Woman, aka Kelsey Wilson

Sir Woman, aka Kelsey Wilson

Shadden said she hopes the festival will be a fun way to communicate a different message about cannabis than many are still hearing. She says research, especially into potential medical benefits, demonstrates that cannabis is no more harmful than drinking alcohol.

“I can’t say that I don’t have a glass of wine to unwind,” says Shadden, whose Yabba Dabbas stores are located in Davenport, Bettendorf, and Moline. “Smoking should be looked at in the same light.”

The latest poll by Pew Research Center shows 88 percent of Americans now favor legalizing cannabis. Currently, 24 states including Illinois have fully legalized cannabis for recreational and medical use, and 38 allow medical marijuana. Iowa allows medical marijuana only in CBD oil form, and does not allow recreational use. 


Flabbergastor, from Rock Island

Flabbergastor, from Rock Island

Here’s a rundown of bands featured at the festival, and a brief description of their style, with links to explore them further:


  • Flabbergastor: Based in Rock Island, this four-piece “funk metal” band kicks off the festival tonight at 6 p.m.
  • The Tripp Brothers: Brothers Jimmy and Sean Tripp of Davenport provide “glitch hop” by fusing their live saxophone and trombone with deep bass music. They perform second tonight.
  • The Dawn: This six-piece “roots rock/jam band” is also known for an amazing light show. Catch them third in tonight’s line-up.
  • Jon Wayne and the Pain: From Minnesota’’s Twin Cities, this mostly reggae band also builds in electronic beats and psychedelic funk, writes The New Times. They’re the fourth act tonight.
  • Tropidelic: Hailing from Cleveland, this six-piece band melds “Rock, Hip-Pop, Funk and Reggae.” and was recently labeled “perhaps the biggest band in Ohio right now.”  Tropidelic perform fifth tonight.
  • Girl Talk: A one-man dance track mash-up extravaganza, Girl Talk (Gregg Gillis) hails from Pittsburgh and has also produced albums for Wiz Kalifa and T-Pain while building his own following. He will close out tonight’s show.


  • DJ Buddha: Urales Vargas, a Massachusetts native,  is the former official DJ for Pitbull and melds hop-hop R&B, Latin pop, Latin urban, EDM, reggae, dancehall, and Soca. He will open the festival Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
  • The CREW: Davenport’s own quintet of rocking jammers performs second in the day’s line-up
  • Rude Punch: A four-piece reggae band from Davenport since 2007, Rude Punch performs third on Saturday
  • The Wontu Trees: Also from Davenport, this five-piece reggae band performs fourth in Saturday’s line-up.
  • Ryan Jeter’s Mind at Large: With Iowa City and Des Moines ties, Ryan Jeter leads a seven-piece ensemble bringing Funk, Soul, New Orleans jazz, Reggae and Dub. Catch Mind at Large fifth in Saturday’s line-up.
  • Kris Lager: From Omaha, Lager offers “blues, soul, funk, zydeco, country and almost every other ‘American Roots music.’ “ He’s Saturday’s sixth act.
  • Sir Woman: The stage name for vocaliset Kelsey Wilson, Sir Woman is a funk/soul performer who won Austin, Tex.’s Artist Of The Year at the 2023 Austin Music Awards. Sir Woman performs seventh on Saturday.
  • Pimps of Joytime: This four-piece band from New Orleans offers a swath of influences drawing extensively from funk, blues, soul, salsa, house, rock, and “a devilish dance groove. ” They’re the eighth band to perform Saturday.
  • Waka Flocka Flame: This longtime rapper is among Saturday’s headliners, taking the stage ninth. In addition to being a pioneer in rap, Waka Flocka Flame also ran for president in 2015 with pro wrestler Ric Flair as his running mate. Flocka Flame, an outspoken vegetarian and animal rights advocate, also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from former President Donald Trump in 2021.
  • Chromeo: Featuring Patrick Gemayel and David Macklovitch, Chromeo offers “high-camp disco”  that is also driven by choppy funk guitar, noodling synths and squealing vocoder.” Chromeo closes out the festival at around 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

The 21+-only festival happens at The Rust Belt, 533 12th Ave., East Moline. Gates open at 5:30; admission is $20 for one day of outdoor admission only; $50 to $65 for one day of general admission; $100 for a full two-day pass, and $120 for the VIP section for both days. Tickets are available here.

(cover image features clockwise from l to r, festival organizer Heather Shadden; Kris Lager; DJ Buddha; and Pimps of Joytime)