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Kyle Meets… Matt Bearracuda, founder of Bearracuda — the largest attended bear party in U.S.

Bearracuda — the largest attended bear dance party and most prolific gay dance event in America — is in it’s 14th year!

For years, bears, cubs, otters, beefcakes and other wildlife worldwide have experienced the beefy, furry men and the incredibly fun time that Bearracuda has to offer.

I had a chance to chat with the founder of Bearracuda, Matt Bearracuda, to discuss how it all got started, and where Bearracuda is headed next!

KJ: Hi, Matt! Can you tell me what made you want to start Bearracuda? Was there a specific need in the community you felt you needed to address, etc.?

MB: Hi, Kyle! Bearracuda was started in San Francisco in the summer of 2006 as a response to the lack of fun bear events in the city. We had a dedicated bear bar and a dance party that happened 4 times a year, but nothing super fun that happened on a regular basis.  

Our bear bar, at the time, felt relatively conservative for an alternative scene. I was of the mindset that bears wanted to have a good time and were super sexy. There needed to be something more for the community.

KJ: What have been some of your most memorable events, or some of your most memorable Bearracuda moments throughout the years?

MB: Bearracuda has had nearly 1,000 parties in 14 years! We’ve had some spectacular times all over the country and beyond. I’d have to say our first events in New Zealand and Sydney were really great. So many nice guys down there, and both of those parties were sold out.  

There was the 1,300 person Pride party in Vancouver that was out of this world. In the US, our annual Denver Pride party is consistently our biggest event of the year with 1,500 people kicking off the weekend. 

One of the biggest treats is our annual 7-day cruise on Celebrity Cruises. Next year is a weeklong trip with hundreds of great guys sailing through the Caribbean.That cruise has its own website:

KJ: What are some of the most important or enjoyable things about the bear community for you?

MB: The most important thing for me is camaraderie and friendliness in the community. It’s not a perfect community, but it is what you make of it, just like anything else. We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive experience since starting the party.  

KJ: Where do you like to party when you aren’t working on Bearracuda, or what are some of your favorite non-Bearracuda events?

MB: I live in Portland, OR, and you can find me at the long running queer event, Blow Pony, when I get a weekend off. 

Blow Pony has been going for almost as long as we have, and is a true melting pot of queer nightlife.  It’s a great spot for people-watching, socializing and seeing a great show. The monthly event is in a 700 person venue and for its sheer size, it’s a very unique party in the US.

KJ: What Bearracuda events do you have coming up this year?

MB: Bearracuda has 70 to 80 parties a year! Our biggest ones are IML Friday in Chicago, Atlanta Bear Pride, Dore and Folsom weekend in San Francisco, and Pride in LA, Denver, Portland, Vancouver, Seattle, and more cities. 

As soon as we get it confirmed, it’s quickly up at

KJ: What are some cities that you look forward to taking Bearracuda to in the future? 

MB: Bearracuda has been in 63 cities worldwide, and we’ve been taking a break from expansion to strengthen the cities we’re already in. That said, we are the most prolific gay dance event in the country and (just recently) the biggest traveling bear party in the world.  

If I had to choose a new place to bring the party to, I’ll probably take it down to South America. São Paulo is the most populated city in the Americas, and there are a massive amount of handsome, furry faces down there!

Follow Bearracuda on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

Kyle Jackson

Kyle Jackson (He/Him) is Senior Staff Writer at Gray Jones Media, and additionally works as a writer, editor and theatre artist/actor. A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, he studied at Dillard University, received a BA in Theatre from Morgan State University, an MS in Arts Administration from Drexel University, and completed the British American Drama Academy’s Midsummer in Oxford Programme in 2017. Having lived in Baltimore, the Washington, DC area, Philadelphia and New York City, he now resides and works in London, United Kingdom.