It’s that time of year again! The 14th annual Gathering of the Juggalos has come and gone, and we’ve got a LOT of stories and info to tell you about! We’ll go into how well we thought artists did with their performances, speculate on shit, talk about our interactions with other Juggalos and Juggalettes, and sprinkle in random flavor here and there! I SWEAR that every year I write these reviews moreso to document it for my personal use than anything else. Quite a few of you really seem to enjoy it though, so far be it from me not to share it with everybody! Now that this little intro is out of the way, let’s get into the meat and potatoes of the review!
SUNDAY, AUGUST 4TH
As you may or may not know, I am a Juggalo out of the Dallas, TX area. My homie PsykoScott lives about 4 hours north of me in Arkansas. He also houses the RV that we went in on a few years back at his place, so the first part of this journey has me driving north on Sunday night. I got to his place, we watched the latest episode of Dexter, kicked it for a minute, and got some sleep in preparation for our 500 mile drive the next morning.
MONDAY, AUGUST 5TH
Now you’re probably asking why the fuck we are leaving 48 hours in advance of the Gathering when it only takes us about 10 to get there. Well, we had a pit stop on the way there, and last year they actually opened the gates on Tuesday night instead of Wednesday morning. That being said, we were anxious to get our vacation started anyways, so we loaded up, put $100 into the tank of this beast (’94 Chevy RV that gets a Prius smashing 8-10 mpg), and got out on the road! The trip up was thankfully pretty uneventful. We did meet up with a long-time homie named Kevin (aka Lavey for those who remember the Riff Raff crew from back in the day) from Memphis for some bad-ass BBQ from this hole-in-the-wall called The Commissary (Germantown, TN). This place was so small and packed that there was barely room to move! It was well worth it though, and we devoured our brisket sandwiches and baked beans…which probably wasn’t the best choice considering we still had 4 hours of driving to go. Still though, it was good to catch up with our homie and have a great last meal for several days. After getting to the Gathering, our meals would consist of stuff like sandwiches, hot dogs, and junk food.
We got back on the road, drove the rest of the way to Cave-In-Rock, and went to the campground about 10 minutes from Hog Rock to hook up for the night. Even though the Gathering has been at the same location for 7 straight years, we had STILL never gone to explore the “Cave in Rock” that the town is named after. Besides, we had some time to kill. If you plan on going to a Gathering in the future, or have been and never explored the cave and its surroundings, it’s WELL worth the time! You don’t even have to pay for it, and it only takes about a half hour to walk the whole place. Check out our photo gallery from this year’s Gathering to see what I’m talking about.
The groundskeeper at the campground was extremely nice, and actually seemed to look forward to the Gathering every year. He said he had several ninjas who were tent camping up the hill and had started to party too hard a little early. The local cops came out to make sure there were no issues with Juggalos at the campground, and noticed that the ninjas camping had their tents setup extremely close to each other. They were already passed out inside of them, and the cops wanted to wake them up to have them spread their camp out due to fire code regulations. Luckily, the groundskeeper stopped the 5-0 and just suggested that they leave them alone. There may have been some arrests had the cops gotten their way.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 6TH
Monday night, we got the best sleep we would have had all weekend! After waking up, we checked in with our homie Hazin of TrueJuggaloFamily.com to see how the line was doing. Some other Facebook pages had posted pictures of the line, and it looked like it was already getting pretty crowded. We decided to head over there early in the afternoon and keep our fingers crossed for an early entry like last year. If nothing else, we could at least hang out with the ninjas over there and bitch about them not letting us in yet.
We got to the Hog Rock parking lot, set up shop, and turned on a movie for a minute. Juggalos and anyone else reading this, I’m 32 years old, and I’m pretty much done “roughing it”…especially for a week. lol. Seriously though, from 2003 to 2007, we camped out in tents, laying in a pool of our own sweat by 9 AM. There’s nothing like chillin’ in a 60 degree RV when it’s 90 degrees outside. No, I’m not bragging at all…just sayin’ that I’ve paid my swamp-ass GOTJ dues.
There were several times where we thought the gates might be opening on Tuesday again, but they all proved to be rumors. It’s the Gathering, so everybody is a little bit anxious to get inside! Don’t quote me on this, but I’m pretty sure that the only reason we got into the 2012 Gathering of the Juggalos a day early is because the entire parking lot/gravel road outside the front gate had filled up and was spilling onto the road into Hog Rock. With the seemingly low turnout this year, that just didn’t happen.
As the sun started to set, we kicked it outside of the RV for a bit. I sat in smoking circles and passed miscellaneous e-cigs, joints, blunts, etc along without taking a single puff. Sorry, the regular 9-5 doesn’t allow anything like that, and I’ve never been a smoker/drinker anyways. So every time you have/will see me at a Gathering, you can best believe that I’m stone cold sober. lol. At any rate, we met some pretty cool ninjas who just-so-happened to park in the same area that we did. I’m horrible with names, but at some point in our conversations, we discussed Twiztid’s departure, their new album, ICP’s next move, what we thought the “big announcement” was going to be at their seminar, Tech N9ne, religion, politics, and the list goes on and on. Like I said, we had a lot of time to kill.
One person in particular stood out to both me and PsykoScott. Her nickname (that she insists she didn’t give herself) was “Pretty” ______. (Name withheld to protect her privacy.) She was a thin white girl with purple-ish hair, and honestly couldn’t have been more annoying. I am not one to talk shit, but if she talked about the fact that she used to train Siberian tigers, ONLY fucked black guys, and had only had sex with white guys when she was plastered one more time, I would have hanged myself. I assume those are her 2 topics of conversation to anyone that she comes across, because the only time she WASN’T talking about it was when she had a pipe or a blunt in her mouth. The whole circle rejoiced when she would smoke, and when she finally left.
Bitching aside, everyone else in our makeshift group of homies was super chill. Another crew of people we met in the parking lot were the homies from Dragan Media Productions who are filming for the documentary “A Juggalo Story”. We have covered their journey across the nation on Faygoluvers, and I actually met up with Matt and Moo at a few shows that happened close together in Dallas. They have been in Cali for a minute now, and just made their way to Illinois to get some hopefully epic footage at the Gathering! They shot a little 11 minute teaser and even used me as the intro to it. You can see that here:
Shortly after talking with them for a bit, I checked in with Big Ian who was on his way to the Gathering with his girlfriend (a GOTJ virgin) and his golf cart. Now because Big Ian is a lazy fuck and I’m assuming won’t be posting a review of his own, allow me to tell his story for him. lol. He came with a pretty grandiose idea to have a truck with a covered bed, an air mattress, and some sort of water cooling contraption that didn’t require a lot of power to cool the inside of the truck bed while he and his girl were sleeping. Keep in mind that he stayed in the RV with myself and PsykoScott last year, so sleeping in the bed of a truck versus a constantly cooled RV may be a step down, to say the least. I’ll get to all of that later though.
I met up with our gumpy friend who had followed Joe and his wife from MyJuggaloSpace.com partially to the Gathering. We cut it up for a bit, shot the shit about what had been happening for the past year since we actually saw each other face-to-face, and lined out our plans for the coming week. Now, up to this point, we had understood that Big Ian would be camping alongside us with his truck, and using our Balla spot’s electricity to keep everything comfortable for him and his girl. I guess plans changed on the drive up though, because he then informed me that he’d be camping alongside Joe and his wife for the week. He also had a golf cart this year. It was then that I knew that we would rarely see each other at this Gathering. I’m not trying to sound like a dick, but I knew Big Ian had planned to roll all over the grounds in rockstar status. It’s all good though, because next year we have every intention of bringing a golf cart ourselves!
They had a long drive and didn’t get a full night’s rest the night before like we did, so they wanted to go ahead and catch some Zs. I made my way back through the maze of cars, and was spotted by one of our readers on Faygoluvers. He was endlessly thankful for the work that I put into the site, and kept insisting that I was the “Anderson Cooper of the underground”. I laughed, secretly hoping that he didn’t think I was gay. lol. I wish I caught his name, but if you’re reading this, THANK YOU ninja…I appreciate the love!
That would be the first of MANY interactions with Juggalos and Juggalettes at the Gathering who thanked me and the FLH ninjas working from home about how much they appreciated the work that we put in. Even though this was seemingly one of the smallest Gatherings I had seen to this point, the amount of love for FLH was unprecedented! Thanks to everyone who saw us and gave us a dap or a “Whoop Whoop”!
As nightfall approached, the infamous pre-Gathering parking lot parties began in full force! There were fireworks going off everywhere, campfires were burning, and wicked shit echoed through the woods. I saw a pretty big crowd towards the front of the line, and went to see what was up. There were fire spinners doing their thing in the middle of the crowd! It didn’t look like any amateur shit either. That provided our evening entertainment for a while. I thought it was cool as fuck sober, so I can’t even imagine what it looked like to someone tripping balls. lol.
A few sandwiches, some bags of chips, random conversations, and a movie later, we decided to call it a night. It was apparent that nobody was moving until morning, so we might as well get a good night’s sleep in.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 7TH
I came ready to sleep this year whenever I got the chance. Not only is it cold in the RV, but ALL of the windows are blacked out with dark, heavy material. I sleep in the bunk above the cab, and it has a shade that you can draw to drown out any light that’s coming from the microwave, charging cell phones, etc. I came EXTRA prepared by grabbing a 12 pack of foam ear buds to drown out the “Fuck yo sleep” guys. So needless to say, I was in a dead sleep when PsykoScott woke me up to say “Get up, we’re moving!”. I would say that it was about 9 AM…
For those who have never been to Hog Rock, the line to get inside is a CLUSTERFUCK. They were a little more prepared this year with guys directing traffic, but just imagine this. There are AT LEAST 10 rows of cars, 100 vehicles deep all trying to get into a single-file line to get into this tiny, one-lane entrance into the park. We were on the left outermost row on the gravel road, which should be the best spot to get in. However, everyone from the right is funneling over to your row to get in line too. I will give Psychopathic and/or the event’s organizers credit though…the parking lot staff was extremely competent, and nice about everything as well. Once you got closer to the gate, they started letting a certain amount of cars per row in, halting that row, letting the next one go, etc. That wasn’t so bad once you got to that point. It was the 5 hours we waited to get to that point that was the sunnuvabitch. If you’re looking for advice for next year when you get into that parking lot, I really don’t have any. That especially goes if you’re driving an RV. You can get pretty aggressive with a truck, and squeeze yourself into tight spaces in a car. You’re at the mercy of the crowd though in a big ass van, UHaul, or RV.
Once we finally got through the main entrance, we passed a couple of cop cars, and what looked like a Juggalo on the ground. From what I understand, a Juggalo had OD’d, but was still alive. I don’t know the details of that particular incident, but was surprised to see cops INSIDE the campground. They weren’t stopping any cars passing by, frisking walkers, or anything like that. They were cordial and just wanted to make sure that the line kept moving, and the person they were treating was OK. That was reassuring, even though I didn’t have anything to worry about.
Next up were the lines to exchange your passes that you received in the mail for your regular tickets. In our case, Psychopathic Records graciously granted us press passes again this year, so we had to go to the will call line.
OK, listen up. This is where I can give some advice. I have no idea what happened this year with ticket shipments. I know that a TON of Juggalos and Juggalettes were waiting until the last mail delivery of the last day before they left to get their tickets that they may have ordered back in February. I personally didn’t get our Big Ballas pass that was ordered in March or April until the day before I was leaving. That’s cutting it awfully close. I don’t know if will call is an option for regular tickets or Ballas passes, but if you’re ONLY buying a ticket, I’d suggest that you wait until you get there, or purchase right before you leave and print out your Will Call receipt. The Will Call line was MUCH shorter than the regular lines, and most of the press, wrestlers, and artists had zero problem getting what they needed.
While I was in line to pick up the press pass, I saw my homies CLAAS, Kenny D, and the rest of the crew waiting to get their artist passes. There was a weird change for artist credentials this year. From what I understand, the artist passes were ONLY good to pick up on the day that the artist was performing. Being that CLAAS wasn’t scheduled to hit the stage officially until late Friday night, that left a TON of time to have to wait and miss out on the rest of the Gathering festivities. I noticed that the staff were all wearing orange shirts this year, so I flagged down the first one that I spotted. It just so happened to be Jason Webber (aka J-Webb) from InsaneClownPosse.com! He’s also the publicity coordinator for Psychopathic, long-time Juggalo, and one hell of a nice guy! I formally introduced myself, told him about my homies’ situation, and checked to see if anything could be done. Luckily, he pulled some ninja tactics and granted them access as soon as Jumpsteady gave the OK. DOPE! My good deed for the week was done!
While in line, I also struck up a quick convo with iLL-E-Gal who was getting her passes at the will-call booth. We had briefly spoken before, but she was cool as could be, and extremely hype about this year! There was an overall great aura about the extended weekend ahead.
Now…back to the line. I headed back to the RV and got ready for the mandatory cavity searches. Just kidding. However, I have honestly never seen them do such thorough searches on vehicles. We saw several cases of bottles getting confiscated, people coming out of trunks and crevices trying to sneak in, etc. Maybe it was an extra safety precaution, or maybe they just wanted to make sure everyone paid for a ticket due to the low turnout this year. “Rise of the Underground” theme or not, a festival like this is NOT cheap to put together.
When it was all said and one, we were heading to our 2nd stage Ballas spot by 2:30 PM. Yes, it took roughly 5-1/2 hours since the gates opened up to get through everything. That didn’t matter now, because we were HOME! I jumped out of the RV for a minute and told PsykoScott to head to our spot and I’d meet him there in a few. There were a few ninjas I had already recognized that I wanted to say “what up” to. I made it quick, but by the time I turned around, the RV was nowhere in site. Juggalos, this is the 7th year the Gathering has been held here, and I have to relearn the place every…fucking…year! I was lost, and the press pass didn’t come with a map or anything of the place. So I literally jogged around Hog Rock until I started to remember everything. I went up “fuck that hill”, through the Loon district, saw the main stage, and then it all came back to me. Yes, I’m one of those guys who is completely lost without his phone or GPS. Suck it, Mapsco.
By the time I got over to the 2nd stage Ballas spots, PsykoScott had already plugged in, dropped the RV’s awning, and started to try to level it out. I don’t want to get too far into the setup without sending out HUGE props to Oreo, Hazin, and the rest of the TrueJuggaloFamily.com crew for roping off a spot for us next to them. They’ve always got skilled ninjas who work their way into the Gathering and grab prime spots! It was there waiting for us, even if we did take forever to get there!
Unfortunately, most of the rest of the afternoon was spent setting up our home away from home. It wasn’t difficult or anything, but made it impossible to go over and check out what was happening on the underground stage…even if it was just 50 yards away from us. I’m guessing that most of the Underground stage acts didn’t even make it into the park by that time on Wednesday. Props to you if you did though and were able to carry out your show!
We got our FLH and Riff Raff banners put up, the RV leveled out, rope lights adorned, water tanks filled, and shower tent ready to go. No matter how many years we have that thing, it’s always a pain in the ass to put together. It’s nothing that some Gorilla tape can’t fix though!
After getting everything setup, vegging for a few, and catching up with all of our neighbors, PsykoScott started looking around for a tree that he could possibly suspend from. If you don’t know anything about suspension, it’s where shark hooks are placed in various parts of your body (depending on the suspension you are trying to do), and attached to a rig that someone else (that knows what they’re doing) can hoist you off the ground with. I have never done it myself, but apparently after the initial pain of the piercings, the feeling is close to euphoric! That being said, PsykoScott was asked to be a part of the “Oddity Freak Show” on both Thursday and Friday, but was fiending for it, so he wanted to scout out some possible locations. There was really nothing to his liking by our campsite, but we had a full, extended weekend to find one.
We then decided to bust out our GoPro cameras and walk around Hog Rock while filming. I had mine mounted to my head, and PsykoScott had his on a monopod. We began the walk, and didn’t get more than a minute or two away when we crossed “craft corner“. That’s the moniker that’s been dubbed to the area beside “drug bridge” where people sell their crafts, jewelry, artwork, etc. One of the people slangin’ their creations was Rachel Paul of the Dark Carnival Tarot. Over the past couple of years, we have helped each other out with projects that we were working on. One of her primary projects is actually the Dark Carnival Tarot card deck. She drew/painted 78 individual works of art to create a full deck of tarot cards that are in Dark Carnival theme! I mean hell…the suits of the deck are Faygos, Axes, Gats, etc! Anyways, at my regular 9-5, I do IT work for a printing company. I helped Rachel out on getting these decks set up, printed, shrink-wrapped, and shipped to her door. The results are AMAZING if you’ve never seen them. (Preview and order a deck for yourself right here.) Between those and the hand-painted pouches, her regular paintings that she brings (and quickly sells out of) every year, she was set to do some serious business this year! PsykoScott and I introduced ourselves to the rest of the ninjas hanging out there, and then decided to make our way through the rest of the Gathering grounds.
Just a few yards away from “craft corner”, we crossed the infamous drug bridge. We had our cameras out in plain view, and one of the “vendors” told PsykoScott “Just make sure that camera’s not on”. Look, I’m no defender of drug bridge, so that dude can fuck off for all I care. We continued on through the grounds past the food vendors, around Lake Hepatitis, past the Bomb House, and then to the wrestling ring. After shooting a bit of footage, we backtracked towards Psychopathic Radio where Wolfpac was already torturing their first victims of the Gathering. My homie Claas was on stage co-hosting the broadcast with them, and they had concocted a mixture of REDRUM rum, Faygo, and hot sauce. (I think that was the mixture, but I could be wrong.) Anyways, two “lucky” Juggalos were challenged with drinking a shitload of it in a race to the bottom of the glass. The winner received a Wolfpac prize pack, which was undoubtedly stuffed with porn DVDs. Both contestants choked the wicked brew down as best as they could, and at the end, one was victorious, but two vomit buckets were full. After this, Wolfpac took a break and spun the next track for online listeners.
PsykoScott and I headed to the merch area (which was at a different location this year), and snapped a few photos of it. Shirts were a standard $20.00. Every CD at the Gathering, including the newly released Zug Izland album “Toxicology” was only $5.00! They had the life size cardboard standups for $20.00, and everything else seemed to be standard HatchetGear price.
While we were perusing the merch booth, a familiar face came up to me and formally introduced himself. His name is Matt Burton, and if you don’t recognize the name, maybe you’ll remember his story. Matt and 2 coworkers were rehabbing a house when a gunman approached them and started to open fire. One of his coworkers was shot dead, the other, Eric Garza, was shot in the head and actually survived! The alleged shooter came to be known as “The HoneyBee Killer”. You can see more about the incident here.
Anyways, Matt saw me and wanted to just thank us for the coverage. I am so bad with names/faces that I had to do a Facebook search just to try to remember the story. Now that I’ve got it all put together, I wish I could talk to the dude in person again and follow up with him. At any rate, it was super fresh to meet him, and I hope to see you again next year homie!
We had been roaming for about 30 minutes, so we decided to go kick it in the RV until main stage that night. Since we had some time to kill, I decided to bust out the laptop and setup shop for what would be the Faygoluvers GOTJ command center for the rest of the week. The satellite service Shawnee Communications would be the carrier again this year, and we’d never had any issues with their service for the past 2 years. This year, however, was NOT the case. I got connected to their service with the built-in WIFI on my laptop, had trouble paying for it because the payment page wouldn’t load, but after fucking with it for a few minutes, it finally went through. You would think that things were all good, right? Well, I wasn’t able to receive emails or browse ANYWHERE. I thought it may be a WIFI card issue, so luckily I brought a second USB backup. I plugged that one in, paid for the service AGAIN, and hoped that this would work. No dice. So maybe it’s my laptop, right? I plugged the info into my phone, paid for a 3rd time, and thought surely this would be the solution. After that didn’t work, I knew it was a problem with the service. I had 4-5 bars (almost full signal) from the connection, and only a minimal amount of traffic was going through. I was lucky enough to be able to send an email to them to see if they could help, because while the Internet in the middle of nowhere is a nice delicacy for most Juggalos at the Gathering, it’s CRUCIAL for Faygoluvers.
I chalked that up for a temporary loss, made some food, and got ready for the first main stage acts of the Gathering! As I mentioned before, Psychopathic Records hooked us up with some press passes for the Gathering this year. What that allowed us to do was be in FRONT of the barricade where security stood while the main stage acts were performing. We were allotted 2-3 tracks per artist to record and take pictures. We worked it out to where VeryTwiztidRaven and myself were in charge of taking pictures while PsykoScott recorded the performance in HD with our Sony Handycam. Along with main stage access, the press passes also allowed us in front of the barricades at the Freakshow stage, and in the side press area of the seminar/comedy tent.
Dizzy Wright was the first act to hit the main stage. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of his music, but a LOT of you are. That showed at his performance, because a ton of you were following along with him, reciting every lyric! While we didn’t make it to the very beginning of his set, the crowd hadn’t filled in enough to make it difficult to get footage and still shots. Dizzy and his hype man’s energy were on point, and I’m sure that won’t be the last that we’ll see of him at a Gathering.
Kevin Gill, our homie of over a decade now, had the honor of introducing the main stage acts for the night! He shares JCW ringside announcer duties with the one and only Shaggy 2 Dope, so he’s no stranger to the mic. He hyped up the crowd for each and every remaining performer that night, working the crowd like a seasoned wrestler! Much props to KG for keeping things moving between acts to open up the Gathering!
Zug Izland made their triumphant return to the Gathering next on the main stage! This is the first time we flexed our press pass credentials, and that made it EXTREMELY easy to get the photos and footage that we needed! Mike P, Lil Pig, and new bassist Johnny “D-Lay” King hit the stage and started playing a familiar riff. It was the beginning to “Juggalo Chant”. From backstage, you heard what sounded like Violent J singing “We’ll never die alone”! To our surprise, J came out onstage fully painted up, and performed about a minute of the track! Syn joined him onstage and finished it off! Violent J’s presence was definitely a welcome surprise! Zug went on to play a good mixture of “Cracked Tiles” and “3:33”. For me, their return to Psychopathic is a welcome addition, and I’m looking forward to what they bring to the label this year! Maybe we’ll see them on the continuation of the Mighty Death Pop tour??
I know that our event reviewer/photographer VeryTwiztidRaven isn’t a big fan of Lil Wyte, but I’ve been bumpin’ his shit since “Doubt Me Now” dropped. I’ve gotta admit that after seeing the back cover of that album, I thought he would be a joke. Seriously, does this dude look like he could rap?
God DAMN was I blown away when I heard it! I love that he’s become involved in the Juggalo scene, and he held it DOWN at the Gathering! While on stage, his crew threw out tiny bags of weed all throughout his performance! The area in between the stage and the barricade is probably 5-6 feet deep, and those little weed bags acted more like parachutes than anything. Probably half of them landed in front of the barricade, so I did my Juggalo duty and handed any that came my way to the sea of desperate hands behind me. We shot our couple of tracks worth of video and photos, left the area, and watched the rest of his set from the crowd which was steadily filling up!
As with last year, things this year were going REALLY smoothly as far as the schedule is concerned! Artists were there and gone like clockwork, so kudos to Psychopathic, their stage hands, and all of the other artists for being on point!
Boondox was next to hit the stage, so we grabbed all of our gear and got ready for the Skarcrow to rip the crowd in half! It had all but been officially announced that Boondox was back on Psychopathic Records, so we were hoping that he would grace us with that info while we were up there recording. No such luck. Still, he didn’t have the hatchetman on his forearm covered up or anything, so we would have to wait until a seminar of sorts to find out if his return was in fact legit. Psychopathic or not, the crowd fuckin’ LOVED Boondox! Some crowd surfing had finally started to happen, and his fans were screaming out every lyric to every track he came with! The killa from Covington has his stage show on lock, even though he rides solo onstage.
The headliner for the night was next to hit the stage! I’m talkin’ about the Hatchet Warrior, Native Funk himself: Anybody Killa! A man donned with full native american head dress, face paint, robe, and black Jordan tennis shoes appeared onstage. Soon afterwards, ABK came up and did nearly a full hour of that native shit! He commanded the crowd for the entire time! Though his stage setup leaves something to be desired, Juggalos and Jugalettes watching him gave absolutely NO fuck about that and sang, crowd surfed, and moshed to every track ABK spit! It was a killer set, and I saw no better way to end the first day of the Gathering on the main stage!
Now it was around midnight, and this is where the real Gathering partying begins! Looking at the schedule, there are all kinds of things happening from midnight to 5 AM! The first set we came across was the homie King Krimzon out of Michigan. He had all kinds of dancers, costumed monsters, and other craziness on the stage with him! His show had the audience captivated, and that’s not an easy task after a set by ABK!
Next, we ventured over to Hog Daddy’s Hell Fire. For those who have never been, in the main stage field, they stack up dozens of pallets in separate piles, pour gas all over them, and then empty the gas in a line to the lighting point. We were all ready to set the night ablaze! The arsonist in charge dropped a lit match, and the trail of fire reached its endpoint at the stack of dripping pallets! It didn’t take long before that entire area was very hot, and extremely bright!
Juggalos and Juggalettes danced around the monstrous flames, took pictures by it, and just stared endlessly into the hypnotic blaze. Billy Bill was even there to watch the inaugural lighting! I took my chance to go over and thank him for the love that they’ve shown us throughout the year, and of course for the press passes. I know that Billy is depicted as a shrewd businessman, but there has never been any hate or disdain towards Faygoluvers that we know of.
A few minutes later, it was time to make the rounds to the other stages! How many of y’all know about the Dirty Wormz? They are the band that Tech N9ne has named time and time again to be the other half of the K.A.B.O.S.H. project. Frontman Smackola had his own set at the Gathering on the Freakshow stage, so we went over to check it out. Now Smackola is an Austin, TX native, so between my trips there, and his sets in Dallas, I’ve seen him more than a few times. I’m sorry to say it, but his solo show lacks something. Let me explain. He comes on stage, laptop or iPod in hand (this time he actually had a DJ with a Macbook controlling it), and sets it up behind where he performs. Every time I’ve seen him, he shuffles through tracks to start, and basically creates a playlist on the fly. Once the song he chooses starts, he completely exudes energy! Smack is very animated and passionate on stage, but as soon as the last note of the song ends, he chats a little with the audience, goes back to his setup (or DJ in this case), and chooses the next track he’s feeling at the moment. To me, it completely fucks up the flow of the show. If his whole set was just performing tracks from start to finish, as most musicians are, I’d probably dig it a lot more as a whole. This is just one ninja’s opinion though…some of you may dig the chaotic flow of his show…but it’s not for me. I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing the Dirty Wormz perform as a complete band though, so that may be something completely different. To reiterate, I like Smack personally, and dig his music, but I’d like to see him rework some aspects of his live show.
About midway through Smackola’s set, we ventured off to see the opening night of Juggalo Night Court! As a Gathering veteran, I was excited that they brought this back into the mix! It’s basically 3-4 hours of comedy starring Upchuck, Pondo, and YOU! Plaintiffs and Defendants hand in their cases to the court clerk, who then decides which cases are worthy of being heard. Once a case is chosen, the Plaintiff and the Defendant share their sides of the story with Judge Upchuck and the “court room”. After hearing points and counterpoints, the audience then decides their fate. Was the defendant guilty, or not-guilty? Judge Upchuck polls the audience, and those with the loudest response win the case! The loser has to spin the “Wheel of Bone”, which is adorned with all kinds of horrible punishments. The only case we had time to stay and watch was one where the plaintiff accused the defendant of wanting to see him naked. I don’t remember the exact details, but the defendant all but admitted that he was a gay Juggalo, so why wouldn’t he want to see another man nude? Juggalos see Juggalettes baring all the entire week of the Gathering, right? The audience, ahem…”jury”, actually sided with the defendant, so the plaintiff had to spin the WHEEL OF BONE. I think the punishment he received was called “One vs Many”. Either way, the point of it was that 4 or 5 people with pugil sticks got to beat the crap out of the plaintiff who was only armed with a pugil stick of his own. If he survived for a minute without falling to the ground, he won a Juggalo Night Court t-shirt. Juggalos, these ninjas were RELENTLESS on this poor ‘lo! He was tough as nails though, because he stayed on his feet for the entire 60 seconds! Much props to that killa, who is probably suffering from permanent brain damage as a result.
After watching that case, we went over to the Freakshow stage where Legz Diamond and the Purple Gang were making their Gathering debut! Sugar Slam, Legz, and Jumpsteady all donned old school gangster attire to fit the mood, and I’ve gotta say that their performance was impressive! Legz strummed his acoustic guitar to start the set off with “Made Man”. The audience mostly nodded their head to the melodic tunes. If you’ve heard the “9 Pistolas” album, it’s not exactly something you can mosh and crowd surf to, so head-nodding is probably the appropriate response. After 2-3 tracks, Jumpsteady surprised all of us by coming out and performing “The Chaos Theory”! Nobody was expecting that, and the crowd livened up a little bit! Overall, you might have heard the album and loved it; you may have hated it after a listen; OR you could have just hated the idea in general and neglected listening to it at all before spewing venom about it. I thought they put on a solid show, and I’m sure we’ll see more of them on future Psychopathic tours.
Shortly after the Legz Diamond set, it was time for what may have been the highlight of your Wednesday night: WOLFPAC! With Wolfpac, you know exactly what you’re gonna get from their show, and it NEVER disappoints! There were women on stripper poles all over the stage, fire blowers, extremely high energy, a muddy mosh pit with trash cans being flung from side to side, and Daddy Long Legs and Buddha both doing their thing. Their DJ booth looked like a fireman’s worst nightmare, but the show went pretty much perfectly! I saw CLAAS, his girl, and Kenny D from Dallas all chillin’ up on stage watching from the back, so I went up there to get an even closer look. We were standing in the path of the dancers and masked madmen that you’re accustomed to seeing at a Wolfpac show. They scurried back and forth for costume changes, and really had their shit down! By the way, if you haven’t heard yet, Wolfpac just released their first album in 13 years called “Square Peg, Round Hole”. You can pick it up at Wolfpac’s webstore!
After the craziness that had ensued at Wolfpac’s set, it was closing in on 4 AM, and it was time to wind down for the night. Before I did though, I wanted to make SURE that I had a chance to hit up the Dark Carnival Tarot tent next to the main stage. As I said earlier, I played a part, albeit small, in making this happen. So I wanted to see the cards and the tarot readers in full effect! The tarot tent was a small, round, circus-style tent with an opening big enough for 1 person to get through. There was a small line outside waiting to get their cards read, and one of the readers on the inside with a client. After their initial reading, I poked my head inside to see what it looked like. If you didn’t see it for yourself, there was a ridiculous amount of effort put into making this tent look authentic! I don’t know what an “authentic” tarot tent looks like, but…THIS was a motherfucking authentic tarot tent! Only candles lit the inside, giving it a calm, relaxed feel as you entered. The walls were adorned with rugs, more candles, and other various decorations. I can’t forget about Reginald (the stuffed fox) that had his spot on the wall secured for the weekend! In front of you sat a table with a few glass bottles, more candles, a mask donning ICP face paint, and of course the tarot deck. You were greeted by your tarot reader, who dressed the part no matter who you got. We’re not talking any t-shirt and jeans tarot readers here! They introduced themselves, and told you a little bit about what was about to happen. Before stepping inside, I had insisted that Rachel Paul give me my reading, because she’s who I had worked with over the past several months on these decks, some designs for FLH, and more. After talking and catching up for a bit about the day’s festivities, Rachel asked me if I wanted a reading. I of course agreed. The deck was cut, and my cards started to be drawn. I won’t get into specifics, but she gave me about a 10-15 minute reading, asked questions about the cards that were drawn, and really engulfed herself into whatever life situations that were being discussed. It was a pretty fresh experience, and if it’s back next year (my sources say YES!), then you should head over before sunrise and get your FREE reading! The long reading that I had received was nothing out of the ordinary. I spent a little bit of time outside of the tent hanging with the people out there, and EVERYBODY got the same treatment. So yes, you’ll have to wait a little bit if you want to partake, but it’s worth the wait!
After my reading, which I believe was the last of the night, it was way past 5 AM. The first thing I had to make sure I was at the next day was the Psychopathic seminar (2 PM), so I figured I’d get some rest. I headed back to the RV, typed up some notes on the laptop (whose internet STILL wasn’t working), and was off to bed.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 8TH
God DAMN Wednesday was a long ass day! Sorry if your eyes are tired already! I don’t have near as many notes for Thursday though, so take that for what it’s worth!
I think PsykoScott and I both got up (from our separate beds, of course) at around noon that day. That still gave me a little bit of time to eat some breakfast burritos, and fuck with my laptop a bit. Overnight, I had received a response from Shawnee Communications saying that there was an outage that was causing horrible lapses in Internet coverage, and that they were working to get it resolved. That was at least comforting to know that I wasn’t the only person having issues with it.
It was nearing 2 PM, and luckily anyone with press passes didn’t have to worry about getting a good seat at the seminar tent. I gathered my tripod, video camera, and point-and-shoot camera, and started to make the trek over there. PsykoScott stayed behind because he was going to try to find the Freak Kings, who he was supposed to help out during their show at 5 PM later that day. I made it there with a few minutes to spare, and to my surprise, everything started on time again! Upchuck came out and welcomed everybody to the seminar, talked about what the Psychopathic seminar would be about, and then introduced Jumpsteady to the stage! Jump brought up Billy Bill (CEO of Psychopathic), Jason Webber aka J-Webb (Publicity coordinator for Psychopathic), and Brian Kuma (producer/videographer for Psychopathic). These 4 are the meat and potatoes of the everyday workings at Psychopathic, so they were perfect for this seminar. Jumpsteady took the reins for most of the time, and Billy was a man of little words. Kuma was given an opportunity to talk about his jobs, picking out places for video shoots, throwing in ideas, etc. The most inspiring part was when J-Webb took the mic, briefly talked about going from being a fan at the first Gathering of the Juggalos to now helping setup the 14th annual, and how far he had come professionally and personally. His impassioned speech really wowed the crowd, and even Jumpsteady commented about how Jason’s speech was going to be hard to follow. Check the seminar here:
I don’t want to recap too much of this, because we’ve already done it on the main site. But if you missed that or any of the seminar/performance videos, you can see them by clicking here!
I hope that they bring that seminar back every year! This year, I found it even more informative than the ICP seminar! That’s saying a lot! I’m not taking away from the info that J and Shaggy divulged…just trying to tell you the magnitude of the Psychopathic one. Props to Jumpsteady for being such an awesome public speaker!
There wasn’t a lot else going on after that seminar, so I decided to head back to the RV for a bit. I planned on coming to the Zug Izland seminar in about an hour, so I had some time to kill. On the way back, I passed a camping area which is directly across from the seminar tent that had some caution tape around it, and not much else. I didn’t think much of it, because just about everybody at the Gathering had caution tape this year.
When I got back to the RV, PsykoScott was outside with a big dude named Bradde already putting hooks into his back. Bradde had some fuckin’ EXTREME body mods. He had gauges in his nipples, tats on his face and everywhere else, and pretty substantial gauges in his ears. He also has something else rigged up pretty hardcore, but I’ll get to that later. I met Baron, who was also a part of the show, and Lacey was inside getting dressed as a sexy nurse. I was anxious to see how all of this was gonna go down! Penguin (the short guy with no arms, but fully functioning hands) was also going to be part of the show!
After chilling in the RV for a bit, I decided to go grab my spot at the Zug seminar. I walked across the smaller “hug bridge” to get there, but passed the infamous drug bridge on the way. Instead of dozens of people being on it selling whatever the fuck, there were two big semi trucks parked on top of it, and guards on either side. The drug bridge had officially been shut down…at least for the moment.
As I approached the seminar tent, the police tape around the camping spot looked quite a bit more official. There were cop cars there, and rumors were running wild. In short, a 24 year old man named Cory Collins had overdosed and died in a tent. The only details that I know are that he wasn’t a Juggalo, he had an opiate addiction, and the people he was with were just helping him out because he said he wasn’t feeling all that well after coming from the direction of the drug bridge. Hours after he went into the tent just to lay down, his camp mates couldn’t wake him up. Security was called, and the police/coroner had to come and get him out of the tent, and get statements from everyone involved. Nobody should die like this, and we hope that his family and friends can find it within themselves to get past this tragic loss. RIP homie.
On a good note, I met up with Keener and Dani2Dope of the Juggalo Nation facebook page, and more notably the creators of the American Hatchetman flag! After several Gatherings, and talking to them time and time again in person and online, I FINALLY got my picture with their flag:
And, I must be doing something right, because somebody made a meme of the picture after it was featured on the Faygoluvers Heaven Facebook:
Good shit MmmmBrainz! I thought that was funny as fuck! Anyways, Keener, Dani and I talked for a bit about last year, our Polish homies who made it out and camped with them for the 13th annual (What up Jacek and Darek!), and a few other things. Those two are genuinely good people, and I’m proud that they are in our family!
Zug Izland‘s seminar was next up, so Syn came out onstage holding an acoustic guitar. He brought new bassist Johnny K up, and then Mike P entered through the crowd. Syn started with an acoustic track that he wrote, and then they asked questions for the next 45 minutes or so. I won’t break down the details of this, because you can watch it for yourself here:
Much love to Syn, Mike P, Johnny K, and Lil Pig! Those are some cool ass ninjas, and they seem like they couldn’t be more hype about being back on the Hatchet!
The Freak Kings were scheduled to be on next at the Freakshow stage. I worked my way over to the stage, camera in tow, and got ready for what was sure to be an interesting show. The whole crew was setup on stage, PsykoScott had a belt on that looked like a back brace so he could hook the suspension ropes to it, and the show was about to begin. Bradde got hooked up to the suspension rig and was lifted off of the ground by nothing but the hooks in his back! Meanwhile, Baron and Penguin kept the audience entertained with thumb cuff tricks, hung bowling balls from his ear flaps, buckets full of random audience garbage from their lip, and other crazy shit.
After Bradde swung from the hooks for a few minutes, Nurse Lacey brought over some 2 liter bottles of Faygo on string and started hanging them from some piercings on his ballsack. Yes, you read that right! Eventually, Bradde had Faygos hooked into his elbows, back, and his nuts. Yes, 7 full 2 liter bottles hanging from his body via hooks and piercings, and most importantly 2 full ones from his nuts! Needless to say, the crowd was left mesmerized! The Freak Kings had to do this show all over again on Friday, so I let everyone I came across know about what they were in for if they went to check it out! Much love to those guys for entertaining all of us for an hour!
Surprisingly enough, it was already time for the main stage acts! I guess 6:30 comes early when you don’t wake up until noon! I met up with PsykoScott who was still helping clean things up from the Freak Kings show, and we headed to the main stage! First on the list was Rahzel. If you don’t know about Rahzel, he’s been around for over 20 years, and is formerly of the group The Roots. He’s known primarily for his beatboxing skills, and is one of the best in the world! He took modern popular tracks like “Drop it like it’s hot”, and performed them solely with his mouth. I’m talking beat, vocals, EVERYTHING! We have highlights from his set, among all of the other sets and events from Thursday that you can see in this video:
Though the crowd seemed like they were mostly in a daze during Rahzel’s set, you have to respect what he’s doing up there. I don’t know that he’s necessarily main stage material for the Gathering, but still dope nonetheless!
Next up was the band with the hardest name to type in the industry: ¡Mayday! (Fuck you upside down exclamation point!) These guys came onto the stage and fucking DESTROYED! While I’m familiar with their music, I’ve never really sat down and listened to a full ¡Mayday! album all the way through. That is, until our trip up to the Gathering. PsykoScott is a big fan of theirs, so it was in heavy rotation during our half day trek. Bernz and Wrekonize are insanely skilled lyricists, and their main stage Gathering performance shows that they can hang with the big boys! Tech N9ne has an eye for talent, and it’s apparent why they are Strange Music artists! Juggalos and Juggalettes were diggin’ their stuff too, screaming along every lyric and getting down in the pit area!
After their first few tracks, we split from in front of the barricade and watched the remainder of their set with the rest of the crowd. Next up on the main stage was a change that I didn’t see coming (until we got the GOTJ timeline): the Psychopathic Rydas! I always liked them on the underground stage, because it’s a little more “hood” than the main stage, and seemed to be more fitting for the Rydas. Plus, let’s face it: Lotus is a main stage act. Let me tell you this though…the Rydas KILLED IT! Their presence was definitely big enough to handle the big ass main stage! There was a lot of talk about how Twiztid and Blaze removed the bandannas that were covering their faces during their performance, like it was supposed to symbolize something. I personally think that it was just fuckin’ hot on the stage, but I’m not a conspiracy theorist either. The only other thing of note was that Violent J (*ahem* allegedly Violent J) was barely moving on stage. He would sit nearly stationary up there, swinging his arms up and down between raps. You have to remember though, he recently had surgery to repair his meniscus (part of your knee), and still had one more surgery to go. For him to even be on stage at the Gathering in any capacity is pretty remarkable!
After the Rydas blew wigs back, we were all ready for some fast-pasted, hard rockin’ action from Sevendust! I’ve always dug Sevendust, especially being a teen in the 90s. Other than Psychopathic, Strange, Sub Noize, and other fresh independent artists, I mostly listen to alternative rock from the 90s. So this fit my musical tastes to a T! But to EVERYBODY’s surprise, Sugar Slam, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, and Vampiro came out and introduced an unscheduled performance by Big Hoodoo instead! This would be the first taste that ANYBODY had ever taken of Big Hoodoo! It’s a part of Hatchet History, and we were front and center to witness it!
Big Hoodoo’s set had a table with skulls and candles all over it, and a giant voodoo doll on the stage. It was an appropriate fit for his voodoo witch doctor persona! He came out to the full intro of “Hexed”, and started to perform the entire track to the skeptical audience. I thought his performance was good, as he utilized the entire stage and didn’t leave any part of the audience out. Most of the crowd was sitting there as Jumpsteady described in the Psychopathic seminar: folded arms, staring, trying to get a feel from the newest artist on the Psychopathic roster. Will Juggalos and Juggalettes ultimately accept him into the fam as we did Twiztid all of those years ago? Or will he be a “one and done” like Cold 187um? I guess we’ll have to wait and see after he gets some tours under his belt. Just keep an open mind y’all! I’m tired of seeing everyone hate on something before it even came out. Give Ben Afleck a chance at Batman too while you’re at it, ya fucks! lol.
Hoodoo must have performed a majority of his album on stage, because he was up there for a good 30 minutes or so. Still, things were running pretty much on time, and it’s not like we had to be at work the next day or some shit.
I was a little worried that they placed Hoodoo in this spot because Sevendust didn’t show up. That thankfully wasn’t the case! The guys from Sevendust are seasoned fucking veterans, and completely exceeded my expectations! While I am pretty sure that any band or artist playing the gathering for the first time has GOT to be a little bit nervous, Lajon (their lead vocalist) was a true professional. He kept thanking all of us for allowing them to be a part of the family, and doing a high-pitched “WHOOP WHOOP!” I went back and watched some of the footage again, and god damn do I want to see them again! They are high energy, and everybody really fuckin’ dug them! After we “worked” their first couple of tracks, we went back into the crowd and rocked the fuck out to the rest of their set. I know that Psychopathic invited SoulFly back this year, and I highly suggest extending that invite to Sevendust for the 15th annual next year!
Next up, the King of Darkness: TECH N9NE! Tech has become a staple at the Gathering of the Juggalos, and I would venture to say that he’s just as big of a draw as any Psychopathic artist. (Yeah I know, I’m really going out on a limb there.) Tech greeted the thousands of eager Juggalos with the opening track from his new album: “Something Else”. The track “Straight Out The Gate” was the perfect intro for his set, which was then followed by Krizz Kaliko’s introduction with the song “SPAZ!”. Taking pictures with a shitty point-and-click camera is no easy task when you’re trying to do it with Tech, because he and Krizz are all over the place! My wife and the good camera equipment stayed at home this year, so I made the best of what I had. Still, the pics and footage came out decent, and I hope that we get to upgrade over the next year so it will be even more fresh next year! Tech’s set was about as flawless as you could expect. He even got pelted with a water balloon towards the beginning of the set, and it didn’t phase him at all. It was the perfect way to end the night on the main stage, and to my knowledge one of the only times a non Psychopathic artist headlined a night at the Gathering!
On a side note, that girl Lacey that I spoke about earlier who was part of the Freak Kings show said earlier in the day that she doubted she would go watch any of the performances at the main stage that night. She didn’t know any of the music, and she was more into house and dance music. I told her that Tech N9ne transcended ALL genres, and that she HAD to see him. Who did I see in the crowd rocking the fuck out to Tech N9ne? You guessed it! She didn’t stop dancing the entire set! That could have been attributed to the drugs that she undoubtedly was on, but that’s just speculation.
So I don’t have any idea how I missed it, but I completely spaced the Drive-By set on the Freakshow stage. I’m kicking myself as I write this review, but I can’t remember if I ended up just spending too much time back at the RV or what. I DO know that at some point that night, PsykoScott and I saw Big Ian whiz by on his golf cart carrying 4 or 5 people. He didn’t so much as stop to say hi to us. Like I said at the beginning of this review, I knew we wouldn’t see him for the majority of the weekend. Rockstar status, son!
Next on my agenda was the homie Bukshot‘s set at the underground stage. If you don’t know about Bukshot, then you must ALSO not know about the Underground Avengers featuring him, CLAAS, and Boondox. If you don’t, then where the fuck have you been, bro? Anyways, Bukshot pulled out ALL stops to make sure he was heard at the Gathering this year. For months prior to the Gathering, he said that if you were there, you could get your hands on one of 5,000 copies of his new Helter Skelter album that he had pressed up. This isn’t some low-rent bullshit album either. It’s all professionally mixed and mastered, features collabs from Krizz Kaliko, Twisted Insane, Aqualeo, KidCrusher, and more! Did I mention it was FREE?? Buk captivated the crowd at the Underground stage for his 30 minute set, and even had JellyRoll, Boondox, and Claas join him onstage for a preview of the Underground Avengers set happening the next night! I’m thinking Psychopathic needs to jump on this group and have them put out a full LP with the quickness!
After Bukshot’s set, he directed everybody over to where they could pick up a copy of the new album, and the entire crowd swarmed over there. I know he had 5,000 pressed up, and I’m not even sure that there were 5,000 people total at the Gathering this year. But if you missed out on picking it up, you’re not assed out yet. You can download it for FREE right here!
So next on the schedule was NYC rapper T.O.N.E-z, but it was already known that he wouldn’t be making it to the Gathering this year. So I went back over towards the main stage to check out Hog Daddy’s Hellfire again. While over there, I noticed that our homie Kung Fu Vampire‘s wrapped Suburban and trailer had made it into the Gathering! Those killas are from San Jose, California, and said it took them 52 hours to get there. Now that is some fuckin’ dedication right there! Mars, KFV, Mr. Grey, and their whole crew were chattin’ it up, so I just said what’s up, talked for a minute, then split.
Big B was next up on the schedule, but so was Krizz Kaliko. How did I make my decision on who I was gonna go check out? Well, the main stage was closer to the Freakshow stage than the Underground stage was, so Big B it was! Big B has undergone a transformation of sorts over the past few years. He has gone from the “White Trash Renegade” and “Outlaw” type songs, to more of a feel-good, positive, summertime track vibe. I wish I could say that I was feeling the whole “Fool’s Gold” album, but I really didn’t. That’s not to say that it’s not any good, but it’s just not for me, and not what you’d expect from a Big B record. He seems as happy as he’s ever been though, has dropped a ton of weight, and I’m hoping he feels fulfilled in writing the music that he does now. Don’t get it twisted, just because you won’t get that classic sound on his new album doesn’t mean he doesn’t still rock the fuck out of ’em on stage! He performed ALL of the Juggalo favorites, and sprinkled in some new flavor to round it all out. It was yet another solid performance by him.
I went over towards the Dark Carnival Tarot tent again, and it had a line steady waiting to get their tarot cards read. My homie Rachel was on a break, so she was just chillin’ outside of the tent talking to everyone. Jumpsteady rolled by on his golf cart and stopped to see how things were going. Rachel took some time to tell him about the dream jar that they were compiling. The idea behind it is that anyone who was willing could write down a dream on a strip of paper, and put it in there anonymously. For weeks/months over the next year, someone from the Dark Carnival tarot staff would draw one at random and send positive vibes and energy that person’s way. Yeah, real hippy shit. lol. But still, it was a dope idea, and Jumpsteady even partook!
While Jumpsteady was there, I wanted to take the time to thank him for a few things. You see, several months back when Twiztid left the label, Psychopathic Records and Twiztid both were pretty hush-hush about the reasons why. One day, I randomly received some phone calls on my cell and work phone, and it was Psychopathic trying to get a hold of me about some news they wanted us to get out there. It was a full “State of Psychopathic” statement written by Jumpsteady himself! I don’t know why they reached out to us, instead of just putting it up on their website and letting it spread like wildfire that way, but I was truly honored by it. (If you didn’t get to read it, you can do so at this link.) I thanked him for that, and told him about the first time I met him doing the street team for Bizarr/Bizaar and Freekshow. Look, it’s not everyday you get to talk to him, as he’s a behind-the-scenes ninja for the most part. So I wanted to just get it all off my chest. He talked to me about Faygoluvers, gave me some constructive criticism, and said that he truly appreciated the dedication over the past several years. It was a good talk, and probably went on for 15-20 minutes. Much props to you Rob, though I really can’t see you reading this far into this. lol.
Jumpsteady rolled off to get ready to catch Lotus, so Rachel, her homie, and myself went to grab a bit of food from the vendors. I had no cash on me, but wasn’t all that hungry anyways. She grabbed a $4.00 slice of pizza (which if it was anything like last year, was probably pretty horrible), and we found a picnic table by the vendor area. It was closing in on 4 AM, and most of the vendors were closing up shop until the next day. That’s where we lucked the fuck out! We got some of the greasiest fries I have ever had for FREE, so we loaded up the ketchup and split it between me and anyone else who was at the table. They were NOT that good, but what fat kid at heart could resist some free food? Not this one!
It was getting really close to being time to see Dark Lotus! I know we had just seen Rydas earlier that night, but I still thought it would be interesting to see if there was any tension between all the 5 members of Dark Lotus. It was EXACTLY the opposite of that! Lotus came out wearing black paint with red crosses on their faces, red t-shirts with black work shirts over them, black/red gloves, and black pants. See a little bit of a theme here? Everybody just KILLED that shit! Rachel and I were watching from the side of the gigantic crowd, and then she was swooped away by another ninja into the middle of the crowd, and then hoisted onto his shoulders. She had a giant staff with a skull on the top that she was swinging around the whole time, so I knew she was OK. I didn’t see any tension or uneasiness in the group at all during their performance. Then, after all was said and done, there was a group huddle in the middle of the stage where they all just put their arms on each other’s shoulders, and chatted/joked with each other in the middle of the stage! I have never seen anything like this, but after all of the questions that Juggalos and Juggalettes had about the state of Psychopathic, the relationship between ICP, Twiztid, and Blaze, and ALL of the rumors surrounding it all, this was truly EPIC to see. I think this was probably pretty therapeutic for all of them as well, but what the fuck do I know?
It was WELL after 5 o’clock, so I said my goodbyes and goodnights, and headed back to the RV for some sleep. PsykoScott had already passed out, and I was WAY past exhausted. So at around 6 AM, as the sun rose over Hog Rock, I called it a night.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 9TH
Like Thursday, I didn’t HAVE to be anywhere until around 2 PM for the ABK seminar. I only slept until about 11:30 or so, but I like that it gave me enough time to shower, eat a little bit of breakfast, and just wake the fuck up from the morning daze.
My homie T.O.S. (The Original Sandman) was about to start his performance on the Underground stage, so I went over there and checked it out for a few minutes before I had to make my way to the seminar tent. 1:30 PM is still hella early when you’re on Gathering time, so most hadn’t made their way out of the tent yet. T.O.S. still left it all on the stage though! Much props to him and all of the Underground stage artists for getting up so early and getting the day started for everybody!
So, camera(s) in hand, I started to make my way towards the ABK seminar. I knew I was running a little behind, so I jogged in that direction, waving at the “craft corner” as I passed. Another thing I noticed was that drug bridge was open, but not for business. They had used the metal guard rails that they form the lines with at the autograph tent to make it to where there was just enough room for someone to pass over the bridge. There was no room for loitering, slangin’ of any drugs, or anything of that nature. Security was also present just to make sure none of the bullshit went down. I really am glad that they got that under control, but hate that somebody had to die before it happened.
I got to the ABK seminar, set my camera/tripod up, and got ready to watch a bunch of ninjas get drunk and high for an hour. lol. For anybody who has never seen an ABK seminar, usually it consists of Q&A for the first 15-20 minutes, and then brews, joints, bongs, etc are passed around the entire tent for the remainder of his time. This year though, Killa made things a little more interesting. Instead of just standing on the stage and bullshitting for an hour, he brought out a table, some red dixie cups, and bouncy balls (as far as I know, they never found a ping pong ball.). Some Juggalo beer pong was about to go down! There were several people on stage as this seminar happened. AMB kicked it for a majority of the time, our homie Moonshine was up there with a couple of cases of Natty Light’s handing them out to onlookers. To make it more fair though, he actually just poured it into the open mouths of those who requested it. It was like a momma bird feeding her babies…real nature-like.
I’m sure I’ve said this already in this monstrosity of a review, but I don’t drink or smoke, so sitting around getting high for an hour wasn’t my idea of a good time. This time though, they invited me onstage to do some filming, take some pictures, etc. It was the shit to just capture the whole party atmosphere, and I had hoped to bring that to you with the footage. Here’s where the bone starts though. Later on when I went to dump my footage to the laptop, the SD Card wasn’t readable, and EVERYTHING from that day was lost. That includes the ABK seminar, the JCW seminar, and footage from Boondox and ABK the night before. Sorry about all of that. I guess there’s something to be said for tapes and hard drive cameras.
Luckily, our homie Hazin of TrueJuggaloFamily was able to catch the entire ABK seminar. You can see that here:
Anyways, we finished up with the seminar, I talked to Killa and Upchuck for a minute, then it was time to split for a while. I walked back to the RV and passed the Twiztid and Blaze autograph signing. That bitch was PACKED, and in the hottest part of the day too. Kudos to you ninjas for braving the heat and sweating balls to spend a few minutes with Twiztid, Blaze, and any of the other artists signing throughout the weekend!
I’m pretty sure that Friday was the least busy day of the Gathering this year, because I’m having troubles remembering a lot about what happened between things on the schedule. Not that I need any help making this review longer, but still! I want to make sure that it’s accurate!
Alright, back to the review. After a little bit of downtime, which I’m sure was spent fuckin’ with my computer and hoping for a little bit of internet service, it was time to go catch the JCW seminar.
For this seminar, our homie KG was the host, and fielded questions from the audience to all of the JCW superstars in attendance. Among them were the Rude Boy, Richie Boy Bryer Wellington, The Necro Butcher, Vampiro, the Ring Rydas, Mad Man Pondo, Too Tuff Tony, and Legz Diamond! Yes, Legz was there because he takes ring announcer duties at most JCW events! Most questions that were asked had to do with their favorite wrestlers, their favorite matches, and just their overall experience in the industry. I REALLY wish I could have brought this to you in video form. I’m pretty sure that I was the only one there filming, but that’s the luck of a Juggalo, am I right?
Next up on my list was to go over and check out the Freak Kings on the Freakshow stage again. Much of their act was the same as the day before, but the crowd looked quite a bit bigger, and there were a lot of familiar faces that I had seen the day before. Word of mouth about them must have spread pretty quickly at the Gathering! Again, I hope Psychopathic brings them back next year, because this year they seemed to win their audience over with no issue!
I couldn’t believe it, but it was already time for the main stage! The day goes by extremely quickly when you don’t start it off until noon. lol. Brotha Lynch Hung was kicking off the main stage festivities for Friday night, and I unfortunately missed a majority of his set! I STILL have yet to see a full set from the CoatHanga Strangla, but he’s bound to be back…hopefully.
One thing I haven’t mentioned in this review yet is the fact that it rained just about every day at the Gathering this year. Some were short showers, and others were pretty substantial. Needless to say after hearing that info, the entire main stage area was a fuckin’ MUD PIT. Everybody was walking around with muddy shoes and ankles. The mud was slick as fuck too, but I luckily had enough grace not to fall on my ass this year.
By the time Soulfly was scheduled to be onstage, PsykoScott had made it back from cleaning up after the Freak Kings show, and was ready to start filming. Soulfly made their first appearance at the Gathering last year, and the pits that erupted were INSANE! This year, the songs were just as hard and aggressive, but while there were pits, they just didn’t have the same energy as last year. The ninjas that WERE into it though were throwing DOWN! I’d say that 10 or so ninjas gave zero fucks about the mud, and decided to get their mosh on regardless of the surroundings. Giant trash bins were being tossed around, ninjas were slipping and sliding everywhere, but more importantly, they were having a killer fuckin’ time! As with any other Juggalo show, if someone fell, they were picked right back up. We got some excellent footage for Soulfly…or so we thought. they were victims of the faulty SD card as well. Motherfuck. Either way, Soulfly killed it, and I wouldn’t mind seeing them be a staple artist for the Gathering!
The night grew darker, which was a perfect setting for our next main stage act: Blaze ya Dead Homie! Same bone as far as footage goes, but that doesn’t matter. The dead man did what he does best: schooled the fuck out of Juggalos and Juggalettes! One interesting thing to point out is that he was wearing a Zodiac Mprint shirt that I had never seen before.
TAKE MY MONEY PLEASE! Where do I get one of them bad boys? Later in the set after we had to leave the barricade/press area, The R.O.C. made his return to the Gathering to do some Zodiac Mprint tracks! I know they performed “Shake” (from Psychopathics from Outer Space Volume 3), but couldn’t swear on any of the others. Still, it was great to see the R.O.C. up there schoolin’ it after all these years, and it gave us a glimmer of hope that the Zodiac Mprint album would still be happening! (The Zodiac Mprint Twitter @zodiacmprint has since surfaced, so it’s looking like it’s definitely going to happen soon!)
After Blaze left the stage (and a short intermission), the Rude Boy came out to introduce long time Psychopathic Records homie (and supposedly artist, but I’ll believe that when an album drops!): VANILLA ICE! I know that the Iceman has played at LEAST half of the 14 Gatherings, so he knows exactly what Juggalos and Juggalettes love! He started the set by bringing out Mike E. Clark, and performed “Born on Halloween”! He also did his smoking songs, the full, OG version of “Ice Ice Baby”, and towards the end of his set, invited a bunch of sexy ‘lettes on stage to dance with him! Some of them looked like seasoned strippers, and others looked like it was their first time to set foot on the dance floor. Still though, they were having fun, and it definitely added to the set! Now come on V-Ice, let’s get that Psychopathic album out! Feel free to leave the house/party music from the WTF album off of this one.
As Twiztid’s crew was getting their stage setup ready, there was really no way to hide it from the curious onlookers. They brought out a giant pot leaf with lights all over it, and a yellow Twiztid logo in the middle. Both Madrox and Monoxide had their own separate bongs next to the pot leaf (roughly 8-9 feet tall!).
Soon, the Rude Boy came out, introduced Twiztid as his homies, and it was now time for Friday night’s headlining act! The gigantic green pot leaf began to glow, as did the personalized bongs on either side of it. The intro track to AbominationZ started to play, and Madrox made his way out to the stage, hopping enthusiastically from one side to the other. Monoxide started in on “Bad Side”, and it was fuckin’ ON! Both of them were rockin’ a new white t-shirt that said “#IN TWIZTID WE TRUST”, which of course led to more theories and speculation. Nonexistent drama aside, Twiztid did what they came to do! They put on an incredible show with a mix of tracks old and new!
Here’s a little bit of back story for you. Last year, we didn’t want to miss Cheech & Chong, and knew it was gonna be packed as fuck at the comedy tent. So we watched a lot of Twiztid from the side of the crowd. In fact, we left there before the end of their set, and were pretty lucky that we did. Even leaving early for Twiztid, that tent was STILL ridiculously overstuffed! This year, things were different though. We stayed and watched a majority of Twiztid’s set (including them kicking out giant beach balls with money taped to them!), and as SOON as it was over, we jetted over to the seminar tent. Juggalos, we had NO issue this year. It was dead at the moment, even for Jim Norton who was one of the acts I was most looking forward to seeing there this year! The dude is funny and raunchy as fuck if you’ve never heard him! So we chilled there and waited for more people to come over from the main stage, or wherever they were coming from.
While there, we sat next to some Juggalos from the Philly area who were cool as fuck! I’m horrible with names, but they were huge fans of Faygoluvers, and super hype to see Jim Norton too! I met this cat who calls himself Jason Voorheis, who just scored a BIG interview with Jim Norton for his youtube channel! He introduced himself, told me about what he was all about, and wanted to work with us in the near future. I have since watched some of his Youtube vids, and dude’s got talent! (Watch them yourself right here!)
Now, it was time for one of the biggest highlights of my Gathering experience! Upchuck came out and introduced the man: JIM NORTON to the stage! By then, there were probably a thousand Juggalos and Juggalettes packed into the tent, and I don’t think a single person wasn’t laughing the entire time! Norton told jokes about every subject that’s usually off the table. Yes, even incest. lol. The funny part was that he seemed really nervous to begin, but after some light-hearted heckling, he seemed to get into it a lot. He even commented that Juggalos were the only audience that seemed to heckle themselves more than the comedian on stage! I loved his set, and WILL be hitting his show up next time he comes to Dallas! Good booking Psychopathic!
It was nearing 1 AM, and there was still a LOT of night left! I’m not gonna lie though…all the running around that I had been doing since Tuesday was starting to catch up to me. In other words, this old ass Juggalo was tired! Still, don’t think that was gonna stop me from catching a few more underground acts!
It was time for my DFW homie CLAAS to perform on the Underground stage! I didn’t want to lug around the video camera, so I just had my point-and-shoot with me. I recorded a little bit of his set, and the sound on it is godawful! Anything with a ton of bass in it, as most of CLAAS’s music has, does NOT do well with these little cheap cameras. Even so, I wasn’t there to record the whole thing. The high energy between him and Ronnie Blaze (as well as the 5 hour energy that I just downed) woke me the fuck back up! CLAAS and Ronnie Blaze performed “Wild Boyz”, “IDGAF”, and a ton of others from his decade-long arsenal! His crew came out and threw several shirts into the crowd! You know ninjas love their free shit!
That set was over, and I was hungry, so I went back to the RV and got my grub on. Just like Drive-By, I am kicking myself for missing Myzery‘s set too. It sucks, but there’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll be back at the Gathering! So hopefully next year, if I don’t see him on a tour or something sooner!
One of the most anticipated sets of the underground stage this year was about to happen. I’m talkin’ about the Underground Avengers, who were performing a FULL SET for the first time EVER! Yup, Boondox, CLAAS, and Bukshot were all FINALLY in the same “room”, if you will, and they were ready to flip fuckin’ wigs back by performing their ENTIRE EP live! PsykoScott even hit up the set and recorded the entire thing! If you missed this historical first performance, we have actually uploaded it already! See it here:
As expected, Boondox, Bukshot, and CLAAS wrecked it on stage! Psychopathic, don’t let this group put out another album without the Hatchetman on it!
4 AM came and went, and after roaming the grounds for a little bit, I decided to call it an “early” night. The next day was our last official day of the Gathering, and the events schedule was jam-packed!
SATURDAY, AUGUST 10TH
Even though I went to bed early, I still didn’t wake up any earlier. I told you, I was spent! That’s OK though, because now I was fully recharged, and ready for everything that Saturday was gonna bring. I mean we had the ICP seminar, the Mystery seminar, Miss Juggalette, REHAB, Rittz, I C Fuckin’ P, and all kinds of other madness! After a healthy breakfast of sausage and cheese biscuits, a nice, hot shower, and getting the cameras ready, it was time to go see what Big Silva was destroying!
Yes, they brought Big Silva back! For those of you who aren’t in the know, Big Silva is a massive ball of duct tape that they keep at the offices of Psychopathic Records. To my knowledge, they continue to add tape to it on the regular, so he never stops growing! (Does anybody remember the Big Silva t-shirts they sold at the 2001 Gathering of the Juggalos? I think that was the only shirt I DIDN’T buy that year. lol) Anyways, here was the setup. Billy Bill was driving a forklift around, while Too Tuff Tony arranged the helpless items to be smashed in a field next to the Freakshow stage. The Rude Boy was hosting the Big Silva show, and hundreds of Juggalos and Juggalettes watched from behind yellow caution tape! Billy hoisted Too Tuff Tony and Big Silva probably 30+ feet into the air, and then it was Tony’s job to roll it out through the forks and below to the unsuspecting victims.
SMAAAASH! Silva completely destroyed old computers, computer monitors, and CASES of Rock N’ Rye (RIP). I caught the tail-end of the show, so there’s no telling what else was obliterated! Silva didn’t look like he had a scratch on him though, so if you ever cross his path, you should probably run like hell!
Next, it was off to what is usually the most important event of the weekend: The Insane Clown Posse seminar! When I got there, Upchuck was directing those in attendance to 2 different golf carts. Jason Webber was on one of them, and I’m not sure who was on the other one. They were both handing out little raffle tickets. They had claimed that it was something that everybody needed for security reasons. I was privy to a little bit of information that I got earlier in the weekend, and knew that there was something much bigger than that planned! I got my ticket, told everybody that I saw there that they REALLY should go get a ticket for themselves, and made my way up front to set up to record. I saw our homie Julie (aka VeryTwiztidRaven) there, and asked her to come up front with me to take notes while I recorded everything. The notes would prove to be greatly helpful so I didn’t have to go back to the RV later, rewatch everything, and type it all out. So much props to Julie for being there for me!
I’m sure you already know all of the news by now, but some of the bigger bombshells that dropped were the fact that Boondox and the Axe Murder Boyz were back on Psychopathic Records! They also announced Canadian and Australian tour dates, the fact that they’ll already be starting on the 3rd joker’s card of the new deck right after Hallowicked, and more! If you missed the news, check it out right here.
Towards the end of the seminar, Violent J started talking about the long defunct Chronicles of the Dark Carnival series that they had started to shoot for the SyFy channel. He talked about their long relationship with Roy Sota, how he wrote one of the 3 stories, and Jumpsteady wrote the other two, and how excited they were about the project. Then, after getting the finished product back from L.A., they said it was tainted with a “tinge of SUCK”. So the project was scrapped…until now! The tickets that were given out earlier could be used to get your very own DVD copy of the pilot episodes for Chronicles of the Dark Carnival! I think that’s a super dope giveaway, so props to them for doing it up, and to Insane Eric for being able to put a DVD case together within hours of knowing about it!
Now, the race was on! Julie and I headed back to the RV to get all of the flavor that was just bestowed upon us out to the masses! I went, opened a web page (that surprisingly came up), logged into FLH, and started typing away! We flew threw her notes, and I got everything ready to put online. I took a pic that was snapped during the seminar (that was only about 80 K), and tried uploading that bitch. NO DICE. I tried probably 20 times to do it, and it still kept fuckin’ up every single time! I finally just uploaded the text, because that’s what’s most important anyways, right? Now, the news was out there for all to see, and my job was DONE!
Since ICP got to the seminar a bit late, and the secretive Mystery Seminar was about to take place, I hauled ass over to there as quickly as possible! Unfortunately, it had already started by the time I got there and setup, but I only missed about 5 minutes of it. The mystery seminar ended up being Boondox and the Axe Murder Boyz! Obviously, they couldn’t put that on the timeline since the fact that they were back wasn’t officially announced yet! The biggest thing that Boondox spoke about is the reason he left Psychopathic, which was due to a really bad addiction to pills. He urged anyone addicted to opiates not to use Saboxin to try to get off of them, because that shit was even MORE addictive than the pills themselves! Besides that, BOONDOX saw me filming and actually called me out for not having a section on Faygoluvers. Now, all that says to me is that he hasn’t been to our site in like 2 years. lol. We cover him when there’s news about him, and he’s even had interviews with us since the site switched over to WordPress. It’s all good though…we’ve got love for Boondox, and will continue to show him so on the news page! You can see a majority of that seminar here:
Now, it was time for the MISS JUGGALETTE pageant! I will admit that for the past several Gatherings, I haven’t even bothered going over to watch Miss Juggalette. I have no problem with porn, and I’m sure most Juggalos and Juggalettes don’t either. The past several Miss Juggalette pageants have gotten out of control though! If you weren’t fucking a sausage, hot dog, microphone, or had something else shoved into one of your orifices, then you weren’t winning the competition. Hey, if you wanna let your freak flag fly, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. The PROBLEM with past competitions is that some of the judges (namely Ron Jeremy and Dan Diamond) “strongly suggested” conducting lewd acts to win the audience over. Well, that has come to a stop as of this year! Our homie Rachel Paul started an initiative called “Lette’s Respect” that gave regular Juggalettes a chance to show off their ACTUAL talents, versus…ummm…other things. lol. Prior to the Miss Juggalette pageant, Rachel and the others who were part of the “Lette’s Respect” movement had a BBQ beside the Freakshow stage! This included hot dogs, hamburgers, and…nearly naked men? Yes, the Lette’s Respect movement had recruited 3 or 4 Juggalos wearing only Speedos to pass out flyers talking about taking the pageant back. They were all over the place, passing out free food to those who would listen as well! I don’t know if they scared away more people than they brought in, but it was still pretty comical to watch!
Another thing to mention is that Rachel Paul had painted a big ass 18″ x 24″ painting of a Juggalette holding an axe in one hand, and Ron Jeremy’s head in the other! It’s a dope fuckin’ pic, and she was raffling it off! Earlier that afternoon, I dropped off some hot dogs and buns for the BBQ, and they asked if I wanted to have my name put into the raffle. Of COURSE I wanted that to sport in my office! So I put my name in, and thought that’d be the last I would hear of it. Surprisingly, I WON the painting! So as I sit here and type this, I can look behind me on my wall and see this flavor:
Also, journalist-turned-Juggalette Camille Dodero was hanging out with the rest of the Lette’s Respect crew! You’ve undoubtedly read some of Camille’s work about the Gathering, and Juggalos/Juggalettes in general in The Village Voice. She was there covering the Gathering again, but has very much embraced the scene! She and I talked about the Miss Juggalette overhaul, how each other’s experiences were over the past few days, and just BS’d for a few before the pageant started. It was awesome finally getting to meet her! I don’t know if we’ve posted any stories that she may have written since the Gathering ended, but I’m hoping to see some before too long!
Anyways, this year in the Miss Juggalette we had fire spinners, fire spitters, hula hoopers, singers, dancers, and more! Some chose to flash the crowd, but overall, the winner, Serenity, kept everything fully covered and was STILL voted Miss Juggalette! Some highlights of the show were one of them coming out in full scuba gear for the swimsuit competition, one of the girls dressed in full CLUE blue striped spandex, and performed most of a song, perfectly mimicking the movements of Jahred (of (hed)p.e.’s) band from the 80s! The pageant ran WAY over, because there were 20 contestants, and 3 segments to the competition, so I had to leave before it was over. The main stage was starting, and my homies from REHAB were about to take the stage!
I left after the 2nd segment, the talent portion, had finished. On my way towards the main stage, I ran across Myzery who was chillin’ against his car watching the Miss Juggalette pageant from afar. I introduced myself to him, and he was glad to finally meet up with me! I told him the same, and said that we’d definitely have to catch up later on. He could tell I was in a hurry, so he let me run.
I had to go back to the RV for some of our photo/video gear, and was already running WAY behind. On the way past “hug bridge”, I passed PsykoScott who was taking his suspension gear off of that big ass tree! He had been suspending for the past hour or so, and he said that he wow’d all spectators, and even the pros who had been doing this for years! PsykScott is way into the scene, but he hasn’t been into it for all that long. He told me that he was swinging so high that he was able to kick the sides of the tree to push off! Keep in mind that his is a 250+ lb dude, and he’s hanging there from 2 shark hooks in his back! I wish I would have been there to see it all, but unfortunately they haven’t perfected the cloning technique.
He had already cleaned up for the most part, so he was able to head back to the RV, grab our stuff, and then go to the main stage for the last time this year! By the time we got there, REHAB‘s set was over halfway finished. I filmed and took pictures from the crowd, which wasn’t very big at this point. It was just past 6 PM, so some ninjas were probably just finishing breakfast.
The tracks that I saw from REHAB included their new single “WHORE”, and “The Bartender song”. Those that were there were definitely feelin’ it! I think REHAB have played just about as many Gatherings as Vanilla Ice, and they’re always welcome as far as I’m concerned! After the set, Demun Jones (vocals) and Chris Hood (drummer) setup a makeshift shop by the mainstage where they could sling their REHAB merch. I went over to kick it with Demun for what little time they were there, and they said after Rittz’s set, they had to bounce to the next city. I said my goodbyes, and got ready to catch Rittz on the main stage for the first time!
When it was time for Rittz to start, I was surprised to see DJ Chris Crisis of REHAB up there still! REHAB and Rittz are both from Georgia, and all involved have known each other for years! So I guess Rittz worked something out with DJ Chris Crisis to work his set while he performed. Dope shit!
Rittz was introduced by the Axe Murder Boyz and came out to his single “White Jesus”! The crowd ERUPTED and it was ON! He went into the song “Crazy”, performed his part of “Bloody Murdah”, and continued murdering the mic while the sun set on the 14th Annual Gathering of the Juggalos!
Swollen Members was due up next, but the giant 3100 mAH battery on the Sony camcorder that we had was about to die, and I had to run back to the RV to get the other battery off the charger. I sprinted over there after Rittz’s set so I didn’t miss any of Swollen Members. I mean hell, this was their first time at the Gathering as a duo, and one of the first times MadChild had performed in America in years! Anyways, I hauled ass back to the RV, got what I needed, and started to briskly walk back to the main stage. I passed the Rude Boy on the way back, and he flagged me down and asked if I needed a ride. I told him it was no biggy and I could walk, but he insisted. So I jumped on the back of the cart, and we flew off towards the main stage!
Big Ian probably won’t think this is funny, but it’s pretty hilarious to me. lol. So since the time I saw him whizzing by on his cart a few days back, I hadn’t seen him again for the entire time I was there. It was now our last night at the Gathering, and as Rudy was escorting me to the main stage on his cart, we passed the site where Big Ian and his girl were staying. I didn’t have time to stop, but I gave him an enthusiastic wave, and I swear, his shoulders slumped, and he let out an audible sigh. That told me everything I needed to know about his time for the rest of the weekend. After meeting up with him on the way back to reality, I found out that his golf cart had a battery die on him, and his ingenious cooling system didn’t work as well as he thought it would. Their mattress got soaked by the rain we had through the weekend, and shit just never went right from that point on. Yes, it sucks that he had that bit of staleness, but maybe he’ll listen to me when preparing for future Gatherings. lol. I already know he’s got big plans for an RV next year, so hopefully that works out for him.
Rudy dropped me off by the main stage, and it was just in time to catch the Swollen Members who were starting their set! PsykoScott was already up front. I gave him the new battery, and started snapping pictures. Anyone at the Gathering who knew ANYTHING about the Swollen Members were hype as fuck to see them rockin’ the stage together! MadChild said more than once how much he loved being there, and how he appreciated us for letting them be on stage that night! I don’t think there was one single bad act on the main stage this year throughout all 4 days! The Swollen Members were a highlight to me though, because while I don’t know a lot of their music, after seeing them live, I went and picked up everything they have put out up to this point. This shit is serious! Don’t sleep on Prevail and MadChild!
After a good 45+ minutes of Swollen Members, it was time for a set change, as everyone’s favorite stoner rappers, the Kottonmouth Kings, prepared to take the main stage! We knew that we had some time to kill before they were ready, and we both hadn’t eaten much that day, so we both went over to the vendor’s area. I swear, this is the ONLY thing I bought from the food vendors over the entire weekend! There was a BBQ place that had some BOMB ass looking brisket, sandwiches, chicken, and more! A single sandwich with no sides was $8.00, but I didn’t want to, nor did I have time to go back to the RV to grab anything. So I bit the bullet and bought an 8 dollar pork brisket sandwich. That shit was the fuckin’ BOMB! I loaded up with BBQ sauce and started to devour it!
We were walking along the vendor’s area towards the main stage again, when I passed a makeup-less Upchuck in his cart. He was grabbing some grub too, and honestly just looked out of it. I asked him what was up, and without going into too much drama, some asshole had been more or less stalking him all weekend, trying his best to fuck up Upchuck’s week. I guess it eventually escalated, and he just felt like he constantly had to keep looking over his shoulder. Upchuck is a Gathering vet, has an all-access pass, and has the ear of ANYONE at Psychopathic. He could have easily had this douche thrown out of the Gathering, but didn’t. I hope that if shit goes down like this again next year, he ruins that kid’s weekend and has him escorted from Hog Rock. Much love to ya Upchuck!
As I finished stuffing my face with the BBQ sandwich, PsykoScott and I heard the thumps of a DJ Bobby B beat, and we knew the Kottonmouth Kings had just hit the stage! We ran back over to our spot in front of the barricade, and caught the tail end of their opening track: “Welcome to Stonetown”! At this point, we had already switched over to the GoPro in anticipation of ICP’s set. The GoPro had a waterproof housing that we could add onto it, which was PERFECT for Faygo showers! The audio it captures isn’t the best, but it sounds good enough.
One of the first things that everybody noticed was the absense of Daddy X from the set! What the fuck?! I figured that maybe he would be introduced later in the “Long Live the Kings” track, but he never was. Even after we left the press pit, I was constantly asked if I knew why Daddy X wasn’t up there with them. To this day, I STILL don’t know, and it doesn’t look like they ever addressed it via any of their social media. He obviously had something come up, I just don’t know what. D-Loc, Richter, Dirtball, Bobby B, and Lou Dog all held it down on stage though! While a lot of ninjas noticed X’s absence, they still rocked out with the Kings. Yet another great show from the King Klick!
Alright, it was now time to get ready for the pinnacle of the Gathering: the Insane Clown Posse! I know I didn’t cover this earlier in the review, but a few days prior, I ran into J-Webb again, and asked him if anyone with press credentials were going to be allowed up on the main stage for Faygo Armageddon. He said he wasn’t sure, and would have to get with Jumpsteady to find out. The day after that conversation when I was talking to Jumpsteady before the Lotus set, I asked him about it, and he said it shouldn’t be a problem, but that he’d have to ask J-Webb since he was handling the press this year. I told him that he had said the same thing about him, so he said he’d do some checking. I wasn’t holding my breath, but I’d been up there for the past two years, so I didn’t see why it’d be a problem this year. Shortly before the ICP set, I was asked by a homie of mine who rolled by on his cart and asked if I was going to be up there for Faygo Armageddon this year. I said I didn’t know, and asked if he could get the OK. He said it wouldn’t be a problem, so that was a HUGE relief! I know that ICP has been allowing VIP members of their past few tours to be a part of Faygo Armageddon, but there’s nothing like doing it on the main stage of their biggest show of the year! Anyways, we were told that we needed to be ready about 40 minutes into the set, and then we’d be called for. Fuckin’ NICE.
We got all of our waterproof gear ready to go in front of the barricade, and prepared for the madness that was about to happen on the stage. Let me just tell you how fuckin awesome the stage security was this year! All but one or two of them absolutely LOVED the Gathering, and said that they hoped it would continue to come to Hog Rock indefinitely! They were also extremely accommodating in the pit area, and protected us from crowd surfers (especially during ICP’s set). Kudos to all of them…even the one with the sneer on his face the whole time.
VeryTwiztidRaven, PsykoScott, and me all anxiously awaited the madness that was about to ensue! The lights all dipped to pitch black, and the title track to “The Mighty Death Pop” started playing. Shaggy and J did their first verses completely without Faygo, and then the chorus kicked in! It was instant pandemonium as all of the stage clowns came out and soaked the Gathering with Faygo! It didn’t seem like it ever stopped! “Chicken Huntin'” was next, and at some point, one of the security guards barrelled over me to catch a crowd surfer. I almost got knocked off my feet, but caught myself. After the crowd surfer was sent on his way, the guard actually sought me out and apologized to me. He probably had 100 pounds on me, and had no reason to be nice to me, but like I said, these guys were the shit! Feathers and Faygo fell for what seemed like an eternity, and I know I was picking feathers out of my ears and beard for a minute!
We were told that we only got two songs for ICP, and then had to leave. We left after 2-1/2 songs, but quite a bit of the press stayed in there for several tracks. I guess as long as the guards didn’t mind, it was all good! Now comes the waiting game. If I knew 100% that I had no chance of getting onstage for Faygo Armageddon, I would have just gone into the crowd to act a fool and enjoy the rest of the set. But since I had already gotten the OK, PsykoScott and I stood off to the side patiently waiting and singing along to the wicked clowns. After probably 10-12 tracks, we saw the wrestlers start to line up at the gate next to main stage! It was almost time! We slowly made our way over there, and hoped that there would be no issue. One by one, the wrestlers were OK’d to go up. Then, it got to me. I showed them my badge, and the guards immediately said NO. The ninja letting people in had an all access pass told them that I was with him, but still, they said no. I GOT THE BONE! Now look, I know I’m no more important than anyone else at the Gathering, but it just sucks getting deflated like that after standing on the sidelines waiting to get up there. Even so, I went closer to the middle of the crowd and enjoyed the rest of the show! Faygo Armageddon was INSANE! TONS of Faygo was launched, sprayed, kicked, etc into an unending sea of Juggalos and Juggalettes! Fireworks were going off, and within minutes, the audience began spilling over the barricade and onto the stage!
Meanwhile, PsykoScott was determined to get up there this year. He ninja’d his way backstage anyways, and around where we got up last year. He got all the way up to the point where you could enter the main stage and was met by a security guard. The guard wasn’t a dick or anything, but just said that he couldn’t let anyone without the proper credentials up. He didn’t know that random ninjas from everywhere were already up there, so he didn’t let PsykoScott through. Disappointing, but it’s still ALL GOOD!
ICP’s set ended with probably 10-15 minutes of a full-fledged fireworks spectacular! PsykoScott found me, and we watched the remainder of them before it was off to the RV to get our shower on….individually of course.
The last thing that I REALLY regret missing is Charlie Murphy‘s set. I hate that the BIG comedians were directly after the main stage acts. It made it especially difficult for anyone who got soaked during ICP to make it to the comedy tent just minutes after their set was over. I didn’t even bother trying to make it, and opted for that hot shower to get the stickiness off.
It was probably close to 1 AM before we got cleaned up, dried off, etc. We checked the footage from our GoPro cameras and were pretty fuckin’ satisfied with the results! We’ll try to get some kind of mic before next year so the sound doesn’t completely blow, but you can catch a couple of tracks from ICP’s set in our Saturday highlight reel here:
At some point after Main stage, VeryTwiztidRaven found me and told me that someone at her campsite was selling cases of 24 Candy Apple Faygos for $20.00. I already told you that I hadn’t spent shit at the vendors this weekend, so I was ALL ABOUT taking some of that flavor back home to Texas! She told the ninja about it, and he met us over at the RV while she dumped her pics out to my laptop. We all stayed there and kicked it for a while, PsykoScott smoked the Faygo guy out, and everything was gravy! We said our goodbyes just in case we didn’t see each other before we left in the morning.
I knew that we were leaving as early as possible the next day, so I started making my rounds to wish everybody well, and tell them that I’d catch them here next year! I made it back over to the Dark Carnival Tarot tent to say goodbye to everyone there, and even got one of the only pictures taken of the inside of the tent! I don’t know how they put that much work into it and didn’t take any pictures, but that just adds to the mystery of the Tarot! Check it out next year if you make it to the 15th annual!
After hanging over there for a few, I knew that I wanted to see Kung Fu Vampire‘s set on the Freakshow stage! KFV always puts it down, and he had been chillin’ at the Gathering for the entire weekend, just kickin’ it with Juggalos and Juggalettes, and slangin’ his own merch. Straight HUSTLIN’! They didn’t drive 50+ hours to get here for nothing, right?
Kung Fu Vampire cartwheel-kicked the audience right in the fuckin’ dome! His rapid-fire delivery never ceases to amaze me, much in the light of Tech N9ne! His live band adds another very fresh element to his show! KFV’s been on Psychopathic tours for years, so chances are that you’ve seen a performance or two of his. If not though, make sure you check it out the next time he comes to your town!
After KFV’s set, I had to make a choice between Slaine and the Axe Murder Boyz. I told Otis earlier in the day that I’d be at the AMB show so we could film them walking onstage to start the set. I went over to the underground stage and chilled over there until it was time for the set to start. I actually went up behind the stage where the artists who were waiting to perform hung out. While waiting, ABK came HAULING ASS on his cart with 5 or 6 people on it. He hit this big ass hill and nearly stood the golf cart up on its back bumper! I can’t believe nobody fell of of that bitch, but it was a sight to see! I just wish I was recording it!
There were some problems with the CD that AMB provided to the sound guy at the Underground stage, so their performance got delayed a bit. While waiting, I started talking to Killa, and found out that one of the girls he was hanging out with actually came all the way from New Zealand! She had a really thick accent, but was cool as fuck to talk to! She said she just hoped that SOMEBODY from Psychopathic made it over there soon! Moonshine, AMB, that Jason Voorheis cat, Doe Dubbla, and some other killas were all kickin’ it over there, so it seemed like the place to be!
The underground stage got their CD ready to go, and soon enough, AMB hit the stage! I recorded the first track or two, and then they started having some issues again. It was closing in on 4 AM though, and we had to be up early the next day. I went back to the RV, and got ready to call it a night. Even through my ear buds, I heard the “Fuck Yo Sleep” guys, fireworks, and the thumps of bass from the underground stage. Still, it didn’t keep me from passing the fuck out with the quickness!
SUNDAY, AUGUST 11TH
The next morning, we packed up the banners, rope lights, and tables/chairs, unplugged the RV, and got ready to head out. It was about 9 AM when we were ready to roll, and a TON of people had already left….probably late Saturday night. A lot of ninjas had to be at work on Monday morning, so that made sense. We just had a 10-12 hour drive, plus I had another 4 on top of that once we cleaned the RV out in Fort Smith. We both said our goodbyes to Insane Eric and his crew who were camped behind us, and the TrueJuggaloFamily.com crew, who are by far the best neighbors at the Gathering!
I know, we left before all of the wrestling festivities that Sunday had to offer, but I just can’t get into wrestling, so it was no huge loss on my end. I hate that we missed the Deadly Medly, but I couldn’t see waiting a full day just to catch a 30 minute set. Maybe I’m downplaying it to justify it in my head, but just let me be, will ya?
It was pretty easy to maneuver our way out of the Gathering grounds, and get on the road. We had 5 full days of septic to dump, so we went back to the Cave-In-Rock campground that we started our week off at and dumped there. On the way back, we passed a sleazy looking roach motel, and actually noticed Big Ian‘s truck and trailer there! We stopped there to bust his balls, and found out that Cognito was actually shacking up there too! We talked and exchanged info for about 15-20 minutes before we had to get back on the road. It was good seeing Ian for that short amount of time…since it was 10X as much as we’d seen him the other part of the week!
On the road we went, making our stop a few hours down the road to get our traditional Dairy Queen chicken finger baskets and Blizzard! The drive home was pretty uneventful. I worked on videos and organized photos while PsykoScott did ALL of the driving. Props to him for that!
I don’t know how I did it last year, but somehow I managed to knock out my entire Gathering review on the drive back. I fully intend to do that next year, because trying to get over some sickness, sneak in some writing at work, and spend time away from my family to get this done just straight up sucks!
That’s it Juggalos and Juggalettes! The 2013 Gathering of the Juggalos review is complete! Before I finally end it though, I have to say one thing: I MUST FIND BURRITO MAN NEXT YEAR! I hear about these fantastic burritos every single day I’m there, but I never have time to search him out! That’s what we’re doing Wednesday of next year before anything else happens: Find Burrito man! It’s ridiculous that I’ve been to every Gathering and never had one, dammit!
Also, I want to send props out to a few people. First off, thanks to Psychopathic Records once again for providing us with press credentials! It makes it extremely easy to get from place to place without fighting the crowds, and easier to get the best pics and video footage possible! Thanks and much love to my wife Amanda who had to stay back at home this year to watch our son. It’s not the same out there without you! Much love to PsykoScott for being my roommate again this year! It’s always a challenge getting shit ready to go for the Gathering, but we always make it work somehow! Thanks for doing ALL of the driving this year too! Hazin, Oreo, and the rest of the TJF staff: thanks for roping our regular spot off next to the underground stage! I love our little home away from home, and the kick ass neighbors we have had for the past few years! Insane Eric and company: it was the shit having you guys as neighbors too! I’m glad I got to finally sit and chat with you for a few in person rather than infrequent email convos. Much love to Rachel Paul and the whole “Lette’s Respect” movement! You officially took the Miss Juggalette pageant back, and I know you’re proud! Rude Boy, it’s great to have you back around at the Gathering for the past couple of years! I hope you continue to make your way out there! Claas, Ronnie Blaze, Cody, Kenny D, Upchuck, Wolfpac, Myzery, Hodge, ABK, Otis, Bonez, Nik, Igor, VeryTwiztidRaven, Jason Voorheis, Big Ian, Sandman, and all of the countless other ninjas that I ran into over the very extended weekend, it was the shit to see and kick it with you! I know I’m leaving a ton out, but god damn, do you really want this review to be any longer?!
With that said, I’ll see you ninjas at the 15th annual! Peace y’all!