This ninja photographer/journalist from DrivenByBoredom.com recently attended the Juggalo Mach on Washington running on about 90 minutes of sleep. Regardless of the lack of sleep, the article is honestly one of the dopest run downs of the march I’ve seen yet.
I think the journalist is saying they’re not a Juggalo but they’ve been photographing Juggalos since 2010 and have definitely come to know them very well and are even protective of them.
The article gives a great account of the overall vibe of the march. Who was there and what went down. It also gives a great account of how the media originally started making a big deal about this march.
You can check out the photo gallery by CLICKING HERE.
At 3am on Saturday I got on a train headed for DC. My band had just played and I was wired from the horrifying 5 hour energy and rum cocktail I down 20 minutes before I play a show. I didn’t sleep a wink on the train. It was 7am when I arrived. I ended up getting about 90 minutes of sleep before heading down to the Lincoln Memorial for Juggalo March on Washington.
I have been photographing juggalos since 2010 and in that time I have grown very protective of them. Juggalos are the most mocked subculture on the planet but if you spend a day with a bunch of juggalos you will come away with a completely different opinion of them. They are the nicest, most accepting, down to earth people you could possibly meet and every journalist I have met covering juggalos comes away with the exact same feeling.
So in 2011 when the FBI classified juggalos as a gang I was mystified. It made no fucking sense to me. Yeah of course some juggalos commit crimes but so do fans of every genre of music. The Insane Clown Posse is a horror movie in music form. Should we be locking up the millions of people who watched IT last weekend?
At the Gathering of the Juggalos in 2012 ICP held a talk to discuss the FBI designation. They had their lawyer come out and talk as well. They then set up an area of the festival where people could come and tell their stories about how this bullshit designation had fucked up their lives. Here’s how I covered it at the time.
Eventually the ACLU got involved and it seemed like this was such an easy to fix mistake but the mistake was never fixed. ICP had their lawsuit thrown out two times and even though they won an appeal in 2015 the lawsuit doesn’t even start until October! It’s been 6 years since this started and they still haven’t had their day in court.
When the Juggalo March on Washington was announced it was met with mostly mockery and not much else. Just a couple months ago when I was at the Gathering of the Juggalos even juggalos didn’t seem to be taking it that seriously. It was sort of an attitude of “this won’t change anything”. It wasn’t until the blog Metal Sucks wrote about the Juggalo March being held at the same time as a pro-Trump rally called the Mother of All Rallies (MOAR) that people started paying attention.
Once the Metal Sucks blog came out I saw people on Twitter making joke after joke about juggalos fighting nazis and these (truthfully hilarious) memes about some sort of progressive mob of juggalos rising up and murdering nazis with hatchets in league with Antifa. People kept Tweeting me about these things over and over because they know me as the juggalo photographer, but I wanted to take this seriously.
At the Gathering fellow juggalo journalist Camille Dodero and I were talking about how we thought leftist groups should really get behind the juggalos because it’s a civil rights issue. This FBI think is such bullshit and this feels very important even if you don’t care about juggalos. So when people started making juggalo antifa memes I figured I had to explain to my followers why juggalos were actually marching. They weren’t fighting nazis or protesting Trump… they wanted the FBI (and local law enforcement) to leave them the fuck alone.
I started a thread of Tweets that got a few likes and then nothing, but whenever I would see memes I would respond and link them to my Twitter thread. A couple days later as I was going to bed someone retweeted them, and then a few more and when I woke up my phone had exploded and thousands of people were liking and RTing them. People from both sides of the political aisle were retweeting them and it actually became an official Twitter Moment. It was pretty crazy for me, but the really surprising thing was that the responses were overwhelmingly positive.
For the first time in the history of the Insane Clown Posse people were on their side. (Side note: I am not taking credit for this, I just wanted to talk about my small part in it.) Article after article came out about ICP and editors started assigning the march to journalists. Playboy reached out to me about covering it and DCist interviewed me for a story. Former juggalo clients of mine like Vice and Rolling Stone sent teams of people instead. Time and the Guardian and the Washington Post took notice. People started paying attention to this travesty of justice.
So that brings us to the march and me on 90 minutes of sleep getting out of an Uber 100 yards from the Lincoln Memorial. I get out of the car and see hundreds of juggalos gathering around the stage set up in front of the Reflecting Pool on the Mall. The event hadn’t even started yet and there were juggalos everywhere intermingling with tourists.
But it wasn’t just tourists, there were random punk kids and a sprinkling of Antifa (I didn’t shoot them because they had journalists interviewing them at all times). I met middle aged people wearing juggalo march shirts who didn’t know anything about juggalos but wanted to support. A big group of Democratic Socialists were out handing out flyers and Faygo Not Fascism signs. There were all sorts of people who were just there to back up the juggalo cause.
As far as the juggalos, I saw so many people I knew from Gatherings and ICP events. There were juggalos from every type of background, color and age. There were babies and old men in wheelchairs and veterans and priests and even cthulhu. I met people from all over the country and everyone was hugging everyone, meeting strangers and having a blast.
After everyone gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial the speeches started. We heard from juggalos across the country who had their lives turned upside down from this FBI gang designation. There was woman who had lost her job as a parole officer and a woman who had been kicked out of the military. It was just story after story of completely unfair consequences all because of this absurd gang list. ICP’s lawyer spoke and read a letter from the ACLU and a bunch of my fellow juggalo journalists spoke. Camille spoke, as did Mitchell Sunderland, Nathan Rabin, Steve Miller and Scottie D. Mitchell has covered juggalos for Vice and Broadly and Nathan and Steve have both written books about juggalos. Scottie is the founder of Faygo Luvers the biggest juggalo blog on the planet and someone who has always spread the word about my juggalo photos.
Finally ICP got on stage. They gave an impassioned speech about the gang designation and brought their families and friends out. The stage was packed with everyone from Psychopathic records and their families. After getting the crowd going they had everyone assemble and we begun to march.
I took a ton of photos as we walked around the mall but at some point I just got really into it. I have spent years of my life trying to explain juggalos to the world and this seemed like this really magical moment where people were actually listening. Random onlookers seemed really interested in what was going on and everyone I talked to seemed to support what the juggalos were doing. I even started leading chants and getting involved in the protesting as much as the documenting.
At some point during the march I ran into Anna Merlan a journalist I know (her work on conspiracy theorists is incredible) and she had left the MOAR event because it was completely pointless and decided to check out the Juggalo March. She said it was a couple hundred people and a total bust which made me really happy. As the day went on I heard more and more about how pathetic the MOAR event was and that contrast with the really successful Juggalo March made the juggalos look even better. It was perfect.
This article is getting really long and I feel like I have so much to say but let me just pause to mention that I grew up in DC going to protests and the DC Police are so good at crowd control and not letting things get out of hand. I have seen protests in other cities go haywire so quickly, but in DC the cops know exactly what they are doing. And I point this out because there were almost no cops at all at the juggalo march. There were a few spread out mostly blocking traffic. They clearly understood what was going on with the march and just left everyone alone. I didn’t see a single police interaction or any negative event at all to be honest.
As the march wrapped up back at the Lincoln Memorial I was pretty much destroyed. I was running all around the route trying to capture everything on 90 minutes of sleep the day after my band had played a show where I had beat the hell out of myself. I chugged a gatorade and chased it with a bottle of water and walked around the Lincoln Memorial with some punk girls I met when we both happened to notice that Ian MacKaye was watching the juggalos. One of them gave me a bunch of stickers with her boobs on them which I appreciated.
As we walked around some bands played and I took it easy waiting until ICP would finally headline the post march concert. After the girls dipped I talked to some more journalists and juggalos and ate some cold McDonald’s cheeseburgers that Psychopathic TV had laying around backstage. All I could think about was passing out but I couldn’t miss this set. Finally around 9PM, more than 8 hours after I got there ICP started to play. I tell everyone who hasn’t seen them that no matter what you think of their music you need to see one of their shows. They put on this wild set and it’s like a religious experience to their fans. That combination makes for an incredible moment even if you don’t like their music, but after all the shows I have seen, it was still surreal to watch them with the Lincoln Memorial on one side and the Washington Monument on the other.
When I finally got back to my parents apartment I was just done with being alive but I had to send images to my clients that night. I dumped the images and took a bath and washed the Faygo, sweat and sunblock off me while they transferred. One of my old friends came over and he and his girlfriend hung out while I edited. He and I liked ICP back in the 90’s when we were kids so it was cool to hang out with him while I worked. I finally finished editing around 3am and got a couple hours of sleep before I headed back to NYC for a hurricane Irma fundraiser I had to host in the afternoon. That night I slept for 10 hours. It was a hell of a weekend.
The best part of this whole thing was that nearly all the press coverage was super positive. I really think this is a big moment for juggalos. Maybe people will finally respect them a little bit or at least just leave them alone. So before I get to my coverage I wanna share with you a couple videos I thought were particularly good. Both of them feature my friend Chris AKA Mankini who to be honest is the perfect subject for a video about the march. He’s from the area so he let dozens of people stay with him, he is super nice and of course he’s a giant dude who wears a bikini all the time. You can’t beat that. So check out the Reason video about the march and then check out the Guardian video which I am actually in the background of a couple of times.
Now finally we get to my coverage…
First check out my Playboy article. I wrote the (heavily edited) intro, and interviewed juggalos and took all the photos. It’s almost as if I am an actual journalist.
I also did a big gallery for Voice Media Group who I always shoot juggalos for. Here’s just the LA Weekly gallery since they are all the same even though it was published via a bunch of alt weeklies.
And now finally here’s my huge gallery: