Calgary’s Folk Music Festival is celebrating its 40th birthday in 2019 with something that its never had before, a legal cannabis area.

In what is a first for a public event in Calgary, cannabis users will be able to smoke in a designated area at the back of the festival grounds.

“Given our audience, I think it made sense,” said Kerry Clarke, the festival’s artistic director.

“It made sense to accommodate some people who like to smoke, but to also accommodate the people who don’t like to be around it.”

Consumption will be allowed in the small fenced-in area, which is covered with signs indicating tobacco smoke and any other drug than cannabis is not allowed.

Folk fest worked with Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) and Calgary bylaw to make sure the area complies with provincial and city rules. Extra security guards had to be hired to watch the consumption area.

“It’s a place for people to go and safely consume, but there are a lot of restrictions to it,” Clarke said, pointing out it’s nowhere near the festival’s beer garden.

Clarke says festival organizers plan to make a decision on the cannabis site at future festivals based on feedback from concert-goers.

Folk fest welcomes about 53,000 people over the course of the weekend, with about 12,000 people per day. It runs Thursday through Sunday.