Below is an abbreviated version of Jason’s Midwest Mens’s Festival History.
The beginnings of the Midwest Men’s Festival may surprise many who will attend this year. In late 1981, a small group of men in Kansas City began talking, meeting, and planning for the first festival to happen in 1982. The six straight brothers of the group had been involved with ongoing Men and Masculinity conferences being held on college campuses. They also felt pressure from their female friends and partners to “get it together.” The women were already doing a flourishing Midwest Women’s Festival. Jim (Jason) Carrigan and Everett Wright, the two gay members of the group, attended the “Spiritual Gathering for Radical Faeries” in the Colorado mountains in August of 1980 and were strongly affected by their wonderful experiences. At that festival they met John Burnside and Harry Hay from LA, the poet James Broughton, Donald Engstrom from Iowa, Peter Soderberg from Illinois, and The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence from San Francisco (including Sister Mish), along with about 300 other faeries from around the US, Canada, and Europe. Jim and Everett were hungry for MORE! The idea of a local men’s festival was a natural progression. The whole group was interested in gathering men together, having fun, and learning how to share the experience of being “male”, together. It seemed a natural thing to do. Well, obviously, the faeries prevailed, and most of the straight brothers vanished after the first couple of festivals.
The First Annual Midwest Men’s Festival was August 20– 22, 1982 at Camp Pin Oak, Lake of the Ozarks, Mo.