Frequently Asked Questions
FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions
Of course. While we lock the gates leading into Festival during off-hours, you may leave if you wish. In fact, one of the volunteer duties is town runs to pick up supplies. Simply seek the combination from the registrar. We ask that you lock the gate behind you as you exit or enter the land.
Certainly not, but of course, it’s fine if you are, as well.
MMF arose out of the men’s movement of the late 70’s & 80’s and has been happening every summer since 1982. Some of the men have been influenced by attending radical faerie groups.
MMF is open to men 18 years and older of all persuasions & locations, but is mostly attended by gay, bisexual & queer men. While not an exclusively gay event, Festival is a comfortable and safe place for all.
MMF is a gathering of men. Period. Gay. Straight. Bi. Questioning. Fey. Butch. It’s a great place to ditch the labels, Circle together, and build a Safe Space to practice Community.
MMF is very affordable.
There is a 3-day minimum registration of $100, plus $25 for each additional day. This includes meals and a tent campsite or a cot in one of the communal cabins. There are additional charges for RVs and campers, or heavy users of electricity, and discounts for early registration and first-time attendees.
See a registration form to calculate costs.
Everyone attending festival is expected to participate in community service, such as helping prepare meals, cleanup, or gate duty. It’s a great way to get to know each other and is part of the community experience.
MMF’s policy is “No one turned away for lack of funds.” Please contact the registrar if you are requesting a scholarship.
Of course, camping isn’t for everybody. That’s why we also have cabins available, and there’s no extra charge to sleep in one!
Just come on out and we’ll figure out where you’re going to sleep once you get here.
Do bring your own bedding, though.
This information refers to 2019 Festival dates:
Yes, that’s ok! If you expect to arrive during a time that the gate/registration is not manned, please preregister so you can get the combination to the gate lock. Also, if you come in during a time when the gate/registration is closed, please check in at the gate/registration, or On-site Registrar after Saturday, as soon as you can the next day.
Festival has exclusive use of Camp Gaea from noon on Tuesday July 16th, to noon Thursday, July 25th, and we lock the entry gate when it’s not attended to prevent non-attendees from wandering in. The entrance gate/registration is typically open from 8:30 am to 8 pm between Tuesday the 16th and Saturday the 20th. After Saturday, the gate is not manned and is therefore locked.
And this is not the Midwest Gay Men’s Festival, so you’re good. Men of all sexual identities and orientations are welcome and encouraged to attend.
Indeed, MMF was created by straight men—as well as gay men—involved in the Men’s Movement of the early 1980s. We do seek out men who want to explore the nurturing aspect of their masculinity.
Not exactly, but kinda’ sort of.
There are no rules or policy about what men can wear or not wear at Festival and clothing is optional.
Some people get us confused with another group of guys who host an event at Gaea Retreat Center: The Midwest Male Naturist Gathering (MMNG). Check them out, too, but think of MMF as more of an experiment in intentional community, and know that we don’t mind if you prefer to keep your clothes on.
No day is “typical”, but they do have a pattern to them: 3 meals, 2 circles, workshops, playshops, entertainment (such as: movies, book reading, fund raiser auction, dancing, know-talent show etc).
Festival is what you make it; want to do a yoga workshop? – put it on the activity board.
Breakfast is when and how YOU make it; generally cereal, fruit, coffee, juice, or you can cook yourself pancakes or eggs with vegetables and cheese, etc. [figure anytime between 6:00 and 10:00ish]
Lunch: community service volunteers will start preparing lunch around 10:30-11 am- figure lunch will be ~1pm ish, followed by some cleanup after lunch.
Dinner prep will be around 4:00 or so (depends on complexity of the meals) with dinner somewhere around 6-7 followed by a clean up shift.
There are usually two “main” Circles each day, one before lunch and one before dinner.
While there is need for some housekeeping and general business activities, (including announcing upcoming events), this is also a good time to get to know each other. There will be a Circle facilitator who will try to guide the circle (think herding cats). We generally start by going around the Circle saying our name and where we are from. Usually we also have been given a question to answer as well (example: what flower do we most resemble and why or such). Some Circles are more in depth (from the Heart) and give more of a chance to be open and give one a chance to share issues. While this may seem scary to some- it is also part of what makes Festival so important to many of us.
Usually a couple of days during festival there may be opportunities for other Circles (smaller and more intimate) at other times to deal with more “focused” issues. These will be announced as upcoming events and also placed on the activity board. There may be rituals for those who wish to organize them.
With each group of individuals we never know from year to year exactly what events the guys may host, generally we have:
- A fund-raiser auction. Please feel free to bring items to donate that would be of interest to the group. Some examples have been: books, movies, clothes, ritual items, plants, paintings, tools, toys, crafts etc.
- The Know-Talent Show. Singing, lip-syncing/dancing, jokes/stories, poetry reading, instrumentals or whatever talent you wish to showcase.
- An evening dance or two.
- A dress-up dinner to give the guys a chance to dress up in costumes—elegant to silly (or not).
Other interesting activities and workshops are organized by attendees. In the past these have included things like:
- Book reading by community writers
- Yoga lessons
- Workshops on just about anything, including health and AIDS
- Massage workshops
- A pecker pulling party (think about that- yes it is)
- Stargazing through telescopes
- How to make a fuck machine
- Fun at the beach
- Rituals (usually of the pagan /earth-centered
- Intro to dungeon
- Mud or lube wrestling
- Drum circles (with dancing around the fire-pit)
- Sunday morning Church of the wrestling singlet
- Sweat lodge
During the length of Festival, we have exclusive use of the entire camp. The only people you will be interfacing with are other members of the Midwest Men’s Festival.
Three whole days?! Mens Festival occupies more than 9 days on the calendar. There is something that happens to those of us to commit to spending as much time together as possible.
But, since you asked, let’s be frank. There was a time when men would come out to Gaea for just a weekend frolic, and while there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, it was not the kind of energy that is conducive to our experiment in Community.
The three day minimum is how MMF chose to suggest to people considering attending to think about why they are coming and what they hope to gain by participating.
You can leave whenever you please, of course.