Sonicnet Music News
More than 7,000 Insane Clown Posse fans converged Friday and Saturday at the Novi Expo Center in Novi, Michigan for the inaugural Gathering Of The Juggalos convention, and about 300 of them ended up onstage at ICP's event-closing concert.
"Are we gonna burn this motherf***er down?" asked ICP frontman Violent J when he took the outdoor stage at 10 p.m. (ET) in the suburban Detroit venue's parking lot, launching into a cover of the Geto Boys' "Assassins."
About 10:15 p.m., Violent J made a call to the Juggalos (ICP fans) to join him, Shaggy 2 Dope, and World Championship Wrestling star Vampiro onstage. Hundreds of eager Juggalos rushed toward the stage, leaving crowd-control fences overturned in their wake.
Once onstage, the Juggalos quickly went after the band's supply of two-liter bottles of Faygo, a cheap local soda that the band always sprays on its audience at shows, and proceeded to douse one another and the
rest of the crowd.
Amid the chaos, the show continued, though the rapping became minimal as Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope quickly became lost in the sea of bodies, who were taking apart the stage's set and tearing away its backdrop.
The show wrapped up abruptly at 10:40 p.m. Two small fires broke out in the parking lot, around which dozens of Juggalos stood, chanting, "Woodstock 2000!" The fires were quickly put out by the Novi police and fire departments, and no arrests were made.
Meanwhile, at the exit of the Novi Expo Center, a group of four young men stood holding a makeshift sign that read, "Denver ninjas need a ride home."
So ended the first Gathering Of The Juggalos, a two-day celebration of fun, Faygo, and Eminem-bashing, with ICP fans sporting homemade "F*** Eminem" and fake-blood-spattered "I Killed Eminem" T-shirts. The band itself performed a new verse of "F*** The World" dedicated to the rapper, who also hails from Detroit and with whom
ICP is engaged in a feud.
Featuring seminars, autograph sessions, merchandise booths, a haunted house, all of ICP's stage sets throughout their touring history, and even a "Sleep With Shaggy" contest, it was everything that a Juggalo could ever dream of, all for the admission price of $60.
A glimpse of things to come was offered earlier in the day Saturday during a JCW (Juggalo Championsh** Wrestling) show. After ICP successfully defended its tag-team belts, Violent J urged the Juggalos to join him in the wrestling ring. Juggalos flooded the ring, which promptly collapsed. Fans looted the ring, leaving only a destroyed frame and a few pieces of plywood standing.
Other events were slightly less chaotic. There was a Miss Juggelette Contest and a Lingerie Contest, though they were kept nudity-free (for the most part) by the police presence.
An auction of rare ICP memorabilia netted more than $8,000, as 20-year-old Breckenridge, Michigan resident and
40-show ICP veteran Bill Syckle paid $1,750 for a pair of all-access passes to the Gathering. He borrowed the money "from friends and stuff," and said of the purchase, "Basically, I'm ICP's biggest fan."
Syckle may have had competition in that department, however, from some of the Juggalos who spent days on the road on their way to the convention. In the expo center's parking lot, Michigan plates were the minority, as license plates from all over the United States (with a concentration from the Midwest) were spotted.
Jesse Satterfield, 25, of Los Angeles, traveled 53 hours with seven of his friends by bus to attend the Gathering. "Yeah, the bus sounds bad, but during the trip, Juggalos kept jumping on," Satterfield said, noting his bus was 16-strong with Juggalos by the time it got to Michigan. "ICP take care of their fans as if they're one of their own," Satterfield said. "I don't know; it's a Juggalo thing. Nobody else would understand."
Mark Thompson, an
18-year-old from Albany, New York, received a trip to the convention as a high school graduation present from his father. The Gathering, at which he spent more than $700 on merchandise, doubled as his graduation party. "It was so fresh. You couldn't ask for much more," Thompson said. "I would drive 24 hours to get to the one next year."
Plans are in the works for next year's Gathering Of The Juggalos, tentatively scheduled to be held in Chicago. Also coming soon is a documentary film about the event, as an eight-camera crew was on hand to tape the weekend's festivities.
"The money we're spending on the Gathering Of The Juggalos, we could be spending on some gigantic video," Violent J said prior to the event from a recording studio. Violent J has been holed up in the studio working on ICP's new album, "Bizzar Bizaar," which is due for a Halloween release. "But naw, we're just saying salute to the motherf***in' Juggalos."