Like a lot of people my age, after first gawking at the subculture that surrounds the Insane Clown Posse and finding it comically fascinating, I have come around to feeling that I instinctively like juggalos.
I don’t necessarily agree with them about how much time of my day I should spend listening to Psychopathic Records recording artistes, or performing certain other activities associated with juggalism. But that’s true of almost every subculture. And they’re not a total writeoff- I did like the cable TV show ICP Theater where Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope hosted guests and talked over music videos like a live action Beavis and Butthead. I would watch that every day if they made more episodes. And the artist list for their Gathering last year included, if I remember right, Morris Day and the Time, GWAR and KRS-One, which already sounds more appealing to me than that year’s Coachella lineup. But it’s their juggalo fan base we’re talking about, and what I find generally appealing about juggalos, as compared to other groups of music fans, is their joie de vivre and openness to having a good time. What do you say? “Whoop whoop!” And they are agreeably protective and supportive towards one another. What do you call another juggalo you spot in the wild? You call them “fam.” Not even Deadheads used that kind of language toward each other.
I’ve looked through those infamous photo galleries from various Gatherings and read the reports, the first being a guy on Flickr who said little more about it than “I went to Lollapalooza, Warped etc, this festival was the most fun with the nicest people by far.” The more you look for it, the more you see that aspect in those photos. Everyday people cutting loose, what could be more fun than that?
I think it was finding out that they were officially considered a gang by the FBI, that really got my dander up and made me feel these people were being misunderstood in more than just a smug, “my edgy rock and roll is better than your white horror clown rap”, kind of bullshit way, but a real life, consequence-having, life-endangering way. These people are now officially being hassled by the man, for listening to music, and instinctively, I want to stand up for them. I was so bummed that my visit to DC a few years ago brought me to town just days after the Juggalo March On Washington, I would definitely have stood up for another music culture that wasn’t my own, in favor of the common sense idea that music fans are not united by anything other than music. The Grateful Dead weren’t a criminal organization, neither was their fan base, despite the fact that they really did bring that element to your local arena parking lot, to the delight of many teenagers.
It appears from the concert advertising that the quite reasonable $20 daily entrance fee for the beer fest also requires you to buy a “weekend festival pass”. As of today, it looks like you can only buy tickets on Eventbrite on a per day basis, and I assume that entrance to the beer fest requires paying for the $47.50 concert ticket. While I’m not positive I could handle one let alone two ICP concerts – different set list each night, yo! – I am compelled by the idea I could actually sit down and chug brewski in the presence of juggalos for a few hours. There’s a juggalo craft beer of course, called Whoop Dub, which will probably have the people drinking it hollering “Whoop whoop!” at their bartenders, like, more than once.
Juggalo Celebration Weekend takes place this Friday and Saturday, February 21 and 22, at Pershing Square, 532 S Olive St, Los Angeles. Tickets for each night as well as Clown Chuggery Beer Fest available here.