I return from the longest break in recent Driven By Boredom history with a bang. I was in the middle of nowhere in a town called Cave In Rock, IL for an event called The Gathering of the Juggalos. If you don’t know by now, The Gathering is a four day music festival created by the Insane Clown Posse and their record label Psychopathic Records. If you don’t know who ICP are, you shouldn’t be on the Internet because you are not good enough at it. To get to the Gathering I had to take two planes, drive over three hours in a 30 foot RV and then take a ferry from Kentucky over into Illinois and then drive down about 5 miles of gravel roads into the woods. There was no cell service much less internet. I got back in the early afternoon yesterday but I spent about 5 hours trying to sell images of Tila Tequila getting attacked, but more on that later… I finally fell asleep around 9PM after being awake for 30 straight hours after sleeping about three hours a night for 4 days. It has been a weird journey.
Now before we get into this, let’s set the record straight. More than 12 years ago I lost my virginity to a Juggalette. Juggalos, as you probably know, are probably the most mocked and hated subculture on the planet, but when I was 17/18 I just thought the Insane Clown Posse were funny. I had a bunch of friends who liked them and my first girl friend was also a Juggalette and by the time I started dating her I was a full blown Juggalo. I was a punk rock kid first and foremost, but I got painted up with clown make up to see a couple shows and I had all the albums and even had the action figures. When I went to college I pretty much left the clown make up behind and as I got older I looked at my love of ICP as the biggest musical regret of my life. I have listened to worse music, but not with such passion. Since ICP has become a viral sensation in the last couple years thanks to their Gathering infomercials and their Miracles video I have found myself defending my earlier love of ICP and made a decision. I had to go to the Gathering.
Eleven years ago ICP held their first Gathering of the Juggalos and I wanted to go. I tried to get all my friends to go with me, but we all pussied out. It was too far or too much money or something. I don’t really remember. For all I know maybe my parents wouldn’t let me go. It would have been a wise decision on their part. More than a decade later I decided I had to make the pilgrimage to the ICP mecca. I had to see the Gathering for myself. Luckily my editor at the Village Voice (Camille Dodero) wanted to go as well and she pitched the idea to her bosses and we got a budget and headed out for what would be the weirdest four days of either of our lives. We were going as outsiders, and while we were going there with an open mind I think both of us were going mostly to point at the freaks and laugh, but we quickly changed our minds almost before we got there.
I made Camille listen to nothing but ICP the entire drive to Cave In Rock. To my surprise she was pretty excited about this and took notes as I told her about the ICP mythology. As we listened to more and more music I found myself singing a long and remember why I loved this band in the first place. They were funny, the music was catchy as hell and if nothing else these guys have a real DIY spirit that the punk rocker in me loves. These guys really have done their own thing and said “Fuck the World” to the rest of the planet.
As we spent time with these kids we really started to like them. Everyone is so nice. They were on all sorts of drugs and doing all manor of fucked up things but I only saw one fight the whole time and it was broken up immediately. Except for the obviously horrible Tila Tequila incident and someone hitting Method Man in the face with a bottle any time anyone would try to mess with someone else’s good time other Juggalos would step in. They chant “Fam-i-ly” over and over again to let the troublemakers know that these are their people and they need to have mad “clown love” for each other. “Don’t throw shit” was another popular chant. I have to say that when they attacked Tila Tequila I sort of had to wonder about these kids, that was one of the most fucked up things I have ever seen, but most people I talked to after agreed that people went too far. Everyone was in support of throwing shit at her… just not shit that could hurt her. Bottles of Faygo are the acceptable choice of decent.
Every single person I talked to accepted me into their family even though I told them I hadn’t been “down with the clown” since the ’90’s and from now on they have a defender. So if you want to talk shit about my family, be prepared for an argument. These kids may be fucked up, psychopathic lowlifes, but they are my fucked up, psychopathic lowlifes. Much clown love.
Okay, maybe that is going a little too far… A lot of these kids are fucking idiots. And besides some of these shots are fucking hilarious so go a head and mock away…
I am posting 100 of my favorite shots from the Gathering. I have 1700 photos to upload and I will be getting them up a bunch at a time all week long so keep checking back. These photos are very Not Safe For Work.
For complete 2010 Gathering Of The Juggalos coverage please check out the Driven By Boredom GOTJ archives.