Day one of the 2015 Gathering of the Juggalos is in the books and man was it exhausting. I had to leave for the airport at 6am yesterday which is my normal bedtime so I had this idea that I would take a ton of sleeping pills and go to sleep at 1am. I of course woke up at 2:3o am wide awake. After a flight delay I get to Columbus, OH around noon and after a couple stops to get supplies I get to my hotel around 2. I wanted to be at the Gathering by 5 so I decided to take a two hour nap. I wake up after 20 minutes. I decide to get some work done since I can’t sleep and around 4:45 I start getting ready for the Gathering. Oh shit.
I realized I left my fucking flash at home. Normally for the Gathering or any big event I pack two of everything and somehow while packing on two hours of sleep I forgot both my flashes. Apparently they weren’t that important to my brain. There are almost no lights at the Gathering after the sun goes down so needless to say I would be fucked without a flash. Fortunately there was a camera store only 5 miles from my hotel! Unfortunately they closed in fall of 2014. Fuck.
I found a camera rental place in an old church in a residental neighborhood in Columbus. It’s nearly an hour away and it closes at 6. I managed to make it there by 5:50 and got a semi functional version of my flash for only $60 for the week. I drove back to the Gathering and after standing in the press/vip/artist line for 45 minutes I was finally in the Gathering around 7.
Sorry for the three (now four) paragraphs you didn’t care about. Let’s get into the important shit.
Day one was mostly about Ho99o9. If you are a regular reader of this site you know I have written about them a few times. They are this electronic punk/rap group that makes music that sounds a lot better than that description. In my mind they just feel like a really good punk band even if that doesn’t really do them justice. They put on a great show and they were coming to play the Gathering for the first time.
I am shooting for Noisey this week and they wanted me to embed with a band to tell a visual story of a bands trip to the Gathering and Ho99o9 made perfect sense so I followed them around all day yesterday. It’s always awesome to be around for someone’s first moments at the Gathering and they seemed pretty blown away.
We walked around for a while until we ran into the insane Mike Busey and his gaggle of strippers. If you remember from last year he has some giant house in Orlando, FL that he fills with strippers and a giant fat man and an assortment of freaks and weirdos and brings them all to the Gathering to entertain the masses and collect a lot of $1 bills. We took a bunch of photos with them and of them and then I went to photograph Hopsin while they loaded in.
Ho99o9 was doing their sound check after that so I roamed around a bit until it was time to shoot Tech N9ne. He’s at every Gathering and always one of my favorite acts. Ho99o9 went on shortly after him so it was time to make my way back to them and shoot their set.
They opened the second stage so when they started there wasn’t a big crowd except but by the time they finished a fairly big mosh pit had been created. Ho99o9 are best when they are in the crowd so the festival set up wasn’t ideal for the band but they put on a hell of a show anyway. Everyone I talked to loved the show which was awesome to see from juggalos who aren’t always the most welcoming of new acts. Even the security guard that Eaddy licked seemed to have a good time.
After the show we went back to the strippers and hung out there until Ho99o9 had to head back to the airport. I headed back to the second stage and caught the controversial Instagram famous rapper Stitches who randomly gave $500 to a juggalo and poured flour over everyone that I guess was supposed to be cocaine. Not sure that guy is a very good rapper but compared to a few of the bands at the Gathering he is 2Pac so I actually watched his whole set.
It was three am by this point and I had now been awake more than 24 hours after sleeping 2.5 hours so I was getting delirious. I was planning on leaving but I ended up talking to some people back stage until DJ Paul from Three Six Mafia went on and so I of course had to shoot some of that.
Finally around 4:30am I left the Gathering and made it back to my hotel. I hadn’t eaten since 9am so I ate a gas station peanut butter and jelly sandwich and passed out pretty much instantly. I ended up getting about 6 hours of sleep so now I am ready to fucking go. Tonight should be fun.
Here are some photos. Much more coming soon.