Six years ago in New York City, singer-songwriter Freddy Freeman put together a concert of musicians and performers of the Bear community, and called it Bearapalooza. Since that first show Bearapalooza has grown into a national musical celebration of ursine brotherhood, with successful music festivals in New York, Philadelphia, Seattle, Nashville, and Florida.

After six years and twelve festivals showcasing the incredible talents of Bear artists like Yolanda, Max Christopher, Tommy Johns, Kendall, The Future Villain Band, Bigg Nugg, Nekked, Charlie Brown, the Bootlickers, Elijah Black, Martin Swinger, Bobaloo, Andy Northrup, Freddy Freeman, Dave Montana and many others, the magic continues as we plan to celebrate the music, the family, the history and the phenomenon that is, Bearapalooza! Founder Freddy Freeman and co-producer Michael West once again are taking this celebrated concert event nationwide in 2008.

First up is The Bearapalooza Roadtrip, which will take this truly home-grown festival of independent bear entertainers across the Northeast May 1 - 10. A group of Bearapalooza artists are piling in a van, heading up the East Coast and joining local artists along the way for eight exciting shows.

Bearapalooza will be a featured part of two wildly popular Bear events, which is the best way to see Bearapalooza and get a full bear event experience all at once. Bearapalooza will be at Bear Trek - International Bear Jamboree, in Rye, N.Y. with the Bearapalooza Brunch on May 4; and a joint event in Philadelphia as part of the Liberty Bears' Bears on Liberty weekend and the Liberty Gay Rodeo Associations' Liberty Stampede on May 9.

Bearapalooza will also be producing independent concerts in Boston, New York City, Baltimore, Washington D.C., and Raleigh. This exciting trip will feature, Bigg Nugg, Charlie K. Brown, Don Harvey, Gordon Michaels, Freddy Freeman, Kendall, Martin Swinger, Max Christopher, Michael West, Grady Challis; Nekked, Roger Mapes (formerly Yolanda), Swin Dunbar & many more (check their schedule on their Web site for lineups and venues in each location).

2008 will also see a new Bearapalooza event at The Timberfell Lodge; Tennessee's Premier Private Men's Resort & Campground in March and of course their big annual show in Bearapalooza's Hometown of Nashville, Tennessee as part of the Music City Bears' Bear Jam. Shows are also in the planning stages for, Milwaukee, Los Angeles, Seattle and West Virginia for 2008. 

Founder Freddy Freeman says "Bearapalooza has something to offer everyone whether you are a bear or not, because we celebrate diversity, positive body image, and positive attitudes about gender. Plus the music is top notch quality work by amazing artists crossing all genre lines. I am proud to once again be showcasing these talented artists and celebrating this diverse community" Be a part of the Bearapalooza Nation. You can learn all about the individual shows at their new and improved Web site featuring a photo history, video, artist links and much more."

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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