Neal Cassady Birthday Bash

About the Bash

The Neal Cassady Birthday Bash is held in Denver each year since 2010 to celebrate the birth and life of Neal Cassady – self-described as “Denver’s unnatural son.” Neal Cassady’s influence on literary and pop culture is well documented. He was the archetype Beat writer as well as the protagonist of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” muse for Hunter S. Thompson and Thom Wolfe and driver of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters bus “Further.”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, Jamie, John Allen, and Robert Hyatt reading from his letters and sharing memories of their dad. They are joined each year by a variety of notable Beat scholars, musicians, and poets including Jello Biafra, John Sinclair manager of the MC5 and founder of the 60’s White Panther Party, sax legend Richie Cole, noted conductor and musician David Amram who was aclose friend and collaborator of both Kerouac and Cassady, the Rev. Steve Edington from the Lowell Celebrates Kerouac committee, internationally recognized “prepared” guitarist JanetFeder, plus the best Denver’s poets including Ed Ward, Suzi Q. Jones, Junior Burke, Jennifer Dunbar Dorn, Zach Kopp and core faculty members of the Jack Kerouac School at Naropa University.

In 2011, 2013, and 2019 the Mayor of Denver citing – “Cassady’s unique outlook, philosophy, and worldview shaped by his Denver upbringing” – proclaimed the date of the Bash as “Neal Cassady Day” in Denver.

In addition, in conjunction with the 2012 Bash, Denver East High School granted Neal the high school diploma he never received citing, “Cassady’s major impact on American literature.” Cassady attended East in 1941 and 1942.

Neal Leon Cassady was born February 8th, 1926 and died February 4th, 1968.

Celebrating the life of Denver’s self-described “unnatural son"