" With the possible exception of the Jews, no other group has eaten as big an amount of shit over the course of its existence as the Juggalos.
I'd been hesitant to dive into the Gathering on my own, but at the last minute a Welsh Juggalo named Daff I'd emailed at called me and offered to be my guide.
I bought my tickets through ICP's website, and two days later I was Juggalo-bound.
DAY ONE "." I wanted to arrive by Friday afternoon, in time to get situated and catch Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony's evening set, but shitty traffic caused me to miss the boat (like, literally—the last ferry across the Ohio River left an hour before I got there).
The Gathering of the Juggalos is like the horror-rap equivalent of the Hajj.
ICP started it in 2000 as a two-day festival in their native Michigan to showcase the bands on their label, Psychopathic Records, but over the next few years it metastasized into a four-day-long acid-tit-and-rap binge, drawing thousands of Juggalos from across the country and featuring performances by outside rappers such as 2 Live Crew, Three 6 Mafia, and Vanilla Ice.
Except for a lucky three-year spate in northern Ohio, the Gathering has been forced to move every year due to crowd issues (the second one in Toledo resulted in a full-scale indoor police riot), and up until the third year, ICP had yet to make it through a complete set on account of audience overenthusiasm.This year's was being held at a biker camp just outside the 350-person townlet of Cave-In-Rock right on the southern border of Illinois, an hour's drive in all directions from anything approaching civilization.The Family spread rapidly across the poorer swaths of the Midwest and established a huge and more or less self-sufficient underground with its own distribution network, porn, churches (seriously), charities, file-sharing services, anti-drunk-driving coalition (JADD), initiatory secret society, GLBT activist, pro- and backyard-wrestling circuits, and two My Space variations (and the possibly defunct myjuggalospace.com).If you want some scope of their national coverage, just plug the word "Juggalo" into google.Wait, actually I just tried that and it really wasn't that impressive, but trust me, they are big and forever getting bigger.I know, because I just spent the weekend with a good 6,000 of them.