For The Love of Beer! Can We Bring Back a Badass Aber Day Kegger?
Like many stories and myths about Missoula, the Aber Day Kegger is right at the top of the list, but it was no myth. It was one of the biggest keg parties ever. Should we bring it back?
In 1972 a group of University of Montana students had the bright idea of throwing a massive kegger to raise money to offset the cost of tuition and books. It's a brilliant but simple idea. Missoula has always been a small mountain drinking town with a football problem. I don't think anyone knew exactly how big this thing would get. Imagine drinking all the beer you wanted for a whopping $8.
Every year it grew in size and finally had to be moved to the K-O rodeo grounds. What started as a small fundraiser had grown into a massive party event. Music acts through the years include Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Doug Kershaw and Earl Scruggs, Jimmy Buffett Heart, and Bonnie Raitt.
According to raisedinthewest.com, the Aber Day Kegger raised over $400,000 throughout the years, and even landed itself in the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest non-profit kegger ever held!
Sounds a bit unbelievable, right? You have to see the photos. It looks like they brought it back briefly in 2017 at Flathead Lake, but it just wasn't the same. There were even talks about a documentary on the event, but I have yet to hunt it down if it's been made.
So the question needs to be asked, "Can we bring back the Aber Day Kegger", and if so "How"?
In all of the stories I heard about the original Keggers is that there were tens of thousands of people in attendance, all drinking their faces off, but there was no violence. No fights. Everyone felt safe and it was all love. This sounds like the old-school Missoula that once existed. That chill, hippie vibe. Could we even pull this off with all the violent crime, poverty, drug use, and other negative things impacting Missoula? I personally would like to think so. If the Missoula Maggotfest can pull off basically a mini Aber Day Kegger every year, what's stopping us from bringing it back? Missoula still really loves beer, and students still need to pay for books and tuition. I think this is a conversation old-school and new-school Missoulians should have. Let's bring some beer and positivity back to our community!