About The Bash
The Neal Cassady Birthday Bash is held each February to celebrate the birth and life of Neal Cassady – who described himself as “Denver’s unnatural son.”
Neal Cassady’s influence on literary and pop culture is well documented. He was the archetype Beat writer, the protagonist of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” muse for Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe, and driver of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters’ bus “Furthur.”
Throughout his life Neal exuded a style and distinct Denver, western “cool” which secured his stature as a true American original.
The Bash is organized with the cooperation of the Cassady Estate and often features Neal’s “kids” Cathy, Jami, and John Allen, reading from his letters and sharing memories of their dad. They are joined each year by a variety of notable Beat scholars and poets like the Rev. Steve Edington of the Lowell Massachusetts Celebrates Kerouac committee and core faculty members of the Jack Kerouac School at Naropa University. The 2014 Bash featured poet, manager of the MC5 and founder of the 60’s White Panther Party John Sinclair. The event also regularly features the best of Denver’s poets and musicians like Molina Speaks, Suzi Q. Jones, Ed Ward, Marty Jones and Janet Feder. Close friend and collaborator of both Neal and Jack, David Amram and his quartet are also perennial guests at the Bash.
Others in Denver Take Note:
In 2011 and 2013 Mayors Hickenlooper and Hancock, noting how, “Cassady’s unique outlook, philosophy, and worldview shaped by his Denver upbringing, still interest and inspire new generations,” proclaimed the date of the Bash as “Neal Cassady Day” in Denver. In conjunction with the 2012 Bash, Denver East High School granted Neal his high school diploma citing “Cassady’s major impact on American literature.”
Cassady, who died in 1968, would have been 92 years old on February 8, 2018.