Gathering of the Juggalos: Misconceptions and First Impressions

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Nate "Igor" Smith
A juggalo photographed on Wednesday, the first day of the Gathering, 2013.
By its organizers' own assessment, the Gathering of the Juggalos is an event filled with the most misunderstood people of all time. Juggalos are generally looked down upon by "normal" members of society, thought of as losers, degenerates or outright criminals -- even, most recently, as a full-fledged gang by the FBI. In keeping with these prejudices, the Gathering itself is subject to wild speculation by people who have never attended, in regards to its debauchery and unhinged behavior.

Some of these preconceived notions are warranted, and some are not. Here are a few of our first impressions of the Gathering, now that we have spent a full day on the grounds. 

We probably are not going to be murdered by Juggalos here.

See also: 10 Must-Have Items When Camping with Thousands of Juggalos

When I initially volunteered for this assignment, many of my friends and family members assumed that this would be the last they would ever see or hear from me. I would be quickly outed as an interloper, it was assumed, and would shortly thereafter be subjected to the glee-filled pool-ball-in-a-sock wrath of the Juggalo Family. The band's "psychopathic clown" motif and violent imagery seem to lend credence to this notion, but in reality nearly every person that we have come in contact with has been very nice. 

One thing to consider is that this is the one event of the year at which these misunderstood societal misfits can gather in large groups without fear of ridicule or judgment from outsiders. Truly, the inmates are running the asylum. In keeping, attendees wander around with joy in their crazy clown hearts and smiles on their painted faces. The calls of "Family!" and "Woop woop!" are each shouted in order to express solidarity between kindred spirits, about every ten steps or so.

See also: The 2013 Gathering of the Juggalos Opens Up (NSFW)

One caveat: Information for the press included a list of tips -- things like "bring mosquito netting" and "wear sunscreen." Also on this list was an explanation concerning the "woop woop" and "family" call-outs. It was strongly recommended that when someone says these things to you, you should most definitely respond in kind. The repercussions of not doing so were not made clear, but suffice to say, I have loudly been parroting back clown-love to all who have expressed it in my direction. I suppose that could possibly help explain my continued survival.

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Nate "Igor" Smith
Juggalos are savvy entrepreneurs.

Everyone everywhere is selling something. Most of it is drugs, of course -- this is a music festival, after all. But more on that aspect in a minute. More interesting are the out-of-the-box oddball ways people have been making money. Take, for example, the man with the "Bet you can't hit me with a quarter" sign. His pants were barely able to stay up, due to the weight of the jangling coins in his pockets. He even paid his way into the festival with change. 

Elsewhere, a man with an unreal amount of facial tattoos had dollar bills stapled all over his body pitched his talent like a carnival barker. "Step right up, one dollar! This is a real staple gun; this ain't that fucking kiddie shit like you used to do when you were a kid. This shit really hurts." I probably saw twenty blood-smeared dollars hanging off his skin.

Then there was the topless girl offering "boob squeezes" for only $3. Yes, there were takers.

Continue on for more on the 1) drugs 2) boobs and 3) potential for violence at the Gathering of the Juggalos.


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19 comments
squidsdogaming
squidsdogaming

To all the haters out there:

        Juggalo's are not who the media gives us to be. We are a peaceful family, even if our music represents drugs and guns. Most of modern music contains the same thing. Juggalos are no different than people who listen to Tupac or Rap in General. You can hate all you want. 1- it's not stopping the Juggalos 

2- We don't hold grudges against haters

3- We are just expressing ourselves through the music of Psychopathic Records.

tindragon2013
tindragon2013

What's the difference between the gathering of the juggalos and woodstock? The only reason people hate on anything that the juggalos have is because it was given to them by a bunch of cut ups that some how own a multimillion dollar company bit never

tindragon2013
tindragon2013

Wow juggalos are hated everywhere when in fact all the juggalos i have come across are nice people who are willing to help their friends even if that means doing things that people normally would be scared to do

Chico Andy Mann
Chico Andy Mann

I know the 'N' word carries a lot of heat but I still say it's not a completely racial term. These people are proof that white people can be N'rs too.

Michel Schiralli
Michel Schiralli

This article is horrible. The last line is "How long can this possibly continue to go right?" The answer to that is "not much longer" if you bring the heat like you seem to be doing. Great work. Spoil these people's fun why don't you.

Greil
Greil

Wow, Daniel. "Drugs" and "titties" where "social misfits can gather"? Goof on being murdered by these "savvy entrepreneurs" (when there actually has been some fucked-up deaths at Gatherings)? So far, so rinky-dink. But how exactly is this magical land of clowns still "subject to wild speculation" if it's been heavily covered in much greater depth and detail elsewhere and everywhere for at least the last 3 years running? This is shaping up to be some really excellent third-rate hackwork. 

Casey Kohler
Casey Kohler

I'm not a fan, but regardless, leave their fucking festival in peace, it's not gonna help if they have the DEA up their ass like Jimmy got. They're trying to enjoy their festival. Something we can't experience at schwagstock anymore, we should give them the same respect as we would want even if they are "misunderstood".

Will Balch
Will Balch

Juggalos misunderstood? The only misunderstanding is how these people are still around. Someone has clearly dropped a steamer in the gene-pool there.

Chris DiMercurio
Chris DiMercurio

Those people need to be sterilized.... Before they have more illegitimate children

Daniel Stout
Daniel Stout

"Misunderstood?" Your article and slideshow pretty confirm every thought that I have ever had about this absurd fan base.

June Bugg
June Bugg

-ACTUALLY THE FBI IZ THR REAL FULL FLEDGED GANG HUH?

Amanda Lynne
Amanda Lynne

Psst. Your cutline for the photos are the same for both.

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