November 12, 2019
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Julie’s Gathering 2013 review, featuring the Gathering Mailbox!

Once a year, I go to the woods for a week to be weird. I’ve tried to explain this phenomenon to others, and not surprisingly, all I ever get are confused looks and replies like “Wouldn’t you rather go party in Miami instead?” But I’ve been there and done that, and I still choose to go to the woods every year. Luckily, once I arrive there, I always find thousands of my like-minded family members, all ready to be weird with me!

This year marked my third trip to the annual Gathering of the Juggalos. I know, a small number in comparison to some people I know (who have been to 6, or 10, or all 14), but even in just three short years, my annual trip to the Gathering has become an undeniably necessary part of every year’s schedule. Last year, as soon I arrived home from the 13th annual Gathering, I was already in planning mode for the 14th annual one. Trial and error from years 1 and 2 told me exactly what changes I needed to make, and what I needed to leave exactly the same. So once August came around, I was totally prepared, and just needed to pack my clothes and then I could be off to Shangri-La!

By Monday, August 5th, all of my Gathering supplies were neatly stacked in my dining room, ready to spring into action as soon as I got home. As I packed my stuff into the car, I was suddenly very aware of just how random my assortment of Gathering essentials is. Yes, I had the normal stuff like my tent, clothes, towels, air bed, folding chair and cooler…but this year I also had things like an elderly person’s bedside toilet chair in the mix (which was to be set up inside a privacy tent to be used as our own personal “Poop Deck.”) I also had two flower boxes full of silk flowers, two pink flamingos (wearing ICP face paint), and of course my lovely Juggalo mailbox.

At 10:00pm, I ran to my friend Krissi’s house, loaded up her stuff, then came back to my place in hopes of getting a few hours of sleep. Before hand, I rearranged all of our stuff in the car. It was pretty much like assembling a puzzle, but I made it all fit PLUS I had room to see out the back window! haha Satisfied that I was completely packed, we both hit the sack around midnight, with the alarm set for 4:00am on Tuesday the 6th.

 

 

Day 0

At 4:00am, after only a few hours of restless sleep, my alarm went off. After quickly throwing on some clothes, packing the cell phone charger and filling up the kitty food and water dishes, Krissi and I were out the door and on our way to Cave-in-Rock. Well actually, our first stop was going to be a Kroger not far from me so I could get some dry ice and pack my cooler for the week. Once at Kroger, a huge chunk of dry ice, a large bag of regular ice and a bottle of Coke set me back about $16. As I was repacking all my frozen water bottles into my cooler, our friend Izzy arrived. After finishing up with the cooler, we headed out, with Izzy following, and made our way effortlessly to Metropolis, IL.

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As we were driving in, we’d been texting with our good friend Moonshine, with the intent of trying to meet up in Metropolis before driving all the way in to Hogrock. It had been a while since we heard from him, so after I filled up the car and the gas can for the generator, we hung around for a few minutes and tried to contact him.

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Izzy was tired, so she ended up buying what had to be the most generic energy drink we’d ever seen (Neuro Fuel!) while we waited for Moonshine. Eventually I ended up getting a text from him that said that he was already in Hogrock…d’oh! So we went ahead and headed out, saying goodbye to civilization and toilets for a week.

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But not before taking some silly pics with the Superwoman cutout first!

Our directions took us flawlessly through Golconda and Elizabethtown, and up the long road to Hogrock that appears to go into the middle of nowhere. When we finally reached the checkpoint where everyone was checking to make sure that all the people in the cars had tickets, I mentioned that I needed to pick up my ticket at Will Call since I was entering with a press pass. The lady said that Will Call wouldn’t open until 10am the following day, and that I couldn’t get in unless I had my pass in hand. Conundrum. So I pulled to the side, and Krissi and Izzy went to the ticket booth to purchase their tickets. I tried to call Scottie D (since he was the one who had gotten me the press pass) but he didn’t answer immediately. Once they were back, I decided to just make a run for it and try to get past the security peeps, and worry about my pass once I was inside. Luckily, there was some commotion and confusion, and in the process, I was able to drive straight past the security peeps and made my way up to the holding pen field.

Once I was in the field, I was able to drive most of the way up, and was parked one car away from the road on the left hand side, with Izzy directly to my right. I probably had 15 rows of cars in front of me, and Moonshine ended up being two cars directly in front of me as well. We parked right around 9:00am, and the weather was overcast and cool. Suddenly realizing that we had a lot of time to kill, we turned off the cars and started wandering. Moonshine was hanging out with the people parked next to him, so that was where I spent a good deal of my time initially.

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Hanging out with new homies in the parking lot

The events of the day pretty much blurred together since we were all just sort of standing around in a field full of cars. I know at some point, Moonshine, Krissi and I all walked forward to the security gate into the campground and talked to the security guard for a while. He confirmed that the plan was to open the gates at 10am the following day, but then reiterated that he wasn’t sure what was *actually* going to happen. While we were there, we all ended up using the port-a-potty while it was still kind of early and it wasn’t as “used” as it would be later in the day.

A little later, Izzy discovered that her car battery had died, so we all pitched in and pushed her car back, then positioned it closer to the car next to hers so it could be jumped. Really, most of the day was spent just hanging out by my car, chatting with new friends and wandering aimlessly in search of stuff to do. The people next to me ended up bringing out a generator and some griddles, and proceeded to open up a little pop-up breakfast restaurant. They even had a menu board with specials of different prices. I had a couple of sandwiches and some breadsticks in my cooler, so I didn’t need anything, but Krissi ended up buying a plate from them. Not only was it HUGE, but it was enough for her and Izzy to share.

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Uh oh! Here come the po-po. Too much murder.

By around 3:00pm, I got a text from Scottie saying that they had arrived with their RV, so I walked back to find them and introduce myself. I ended up hanging out with Scottie, his friend Scott and Moonshine for about 2 hours since they ended up being really fun and the conversation was good! I also got a chance to pick Scott’s brain about the suspensions that he does (where they put hooks through your skin and hang you up by them). I’d never met anyone who did that before, so I thought it was fascinating! Though it did make me cringe any time he’d talk about it haha

Around 5:00pm, I got a text from Pamela to say that she, Nick, Chris, Kaddy, Marlie and Shawn had arrived. Saying goodbye to Scottie and Scott, I found the rest of my Nashville crew back at the back of the field. Nick and Chris were already making the rounds with some Jello shots for sale, so I chilled with everyone else for a while. As we whiled away the time, I ultimately decided to go get my chair from my car and move it back to the van so I could hang out there for the rest of the night.

By the time night fell, the atmosphere was getting significantly louder and more boisterous. The people who were just arriving were obviously amped and ready to party, where the people near the front of the line were all very quiet and ready for bed! We ended up messing around with Kaddy’s megaphone for the whole evening, and Nick started walking around with his lightsaber too.

 

Right around midnight, everyone decided to retire for the night and attempt to get a little bit of sleep. Krissi found me, so she and I as well as Kaddy went back to my car. Kaddy ended up sleeping on the ground outside, while Krissi and I rolled down the windows and tried to nap in the front seat (since the back seat was packed). With my big fluffy pillow filling the space between my head and the door, I actually ended up being quite comfortable.

 

 

 

Day 1

It’s hard to tell where Day 0 ended and Day 1 began on this evening, but somewhere amid the numerous screams of “FUCK YO SLEEP” I did manage to get about 5 hours of on-and-off sleep. Luckily, it never rained on us, and the temperature was very comfortable for sleeping outside.

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I stayed in place until about 5:30am, when I saw the sun starting to peek over the field of cars. Once people started to stir, I got up and had the last of my sandwich for breakfast, and packed up my folding chair. Around 9:00am, I walked Kaddy back to Chris’ van, in anticipation of walking Nick forward so he could ride in with some friends who were even further up in line than I was.

Once we got to the area where the van had been, it was nowhere to be found. We walked all over the area until we finally realized that all the people on the right hand side of the field were starting to drive forward and compact. Eventually we found them, and they were shocked to hear that the line wasn’t actually moving yet. I dropped off Kaddy and walked forward with Nick, and by the time I got back to my car, people were starting to move forward a little. It was maybe 9:45am by the time my part of the line started to move.

Of course the going was painfully slow, sometimes stopping for 15 or 20 minutes at a time with no movement at all. At some point, my car decided that it had had enough, and it began to overheat. I had been trying to keep it running so I wouldn’t have to start it any more often than necessary (since I had been concerned about my battery) but that sort of backfired. Since we were still sitting still, I just lifted the hood, refilled the coolant reservoir with water, and let it stay off for about 20 minutes or so. By the time I had to start it again and move, it had cooled back down, so I waited out the rest of the line with no further car issues. Unbeknownst to be, some douchebag in front of me had parked their car (right in the middle of the line!) and walked in, so I had to maneuver around this parked car right in the middle of the line. People seemed really reluctant to let me merge, but ultimately someone let me in since I literally couldn’t go anywhere besides merging left.

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As we creeped agonizingly slowly toward the single file line at the front of the field, it was apparent that security was trying to clear out the right side of the field before the left side. People from the back were driving up and getting in just as quickly as those of us who had waited at the front of the line. In fact, Pamela and Nick ended up just slightly behind me in the single file line, despite having arrived about 10 hours after I did. Kind of messed up, but I guess it’s payback for having gotten in so quickly the last two years!

Finally after about 3 hours of inching closer, we finally entered the single file line around 1:00pm. From there, things did actually move at a fairly steady clip, though it was still slow. At some point, we passed a guy who was completely tripping balls, and had security all around him trying to keep him on the ground. I heard someone say that he was tripping on acid and bath salts…not a good combo at all! I hope that everything was ok with him because it didn’t look very good from where I was!

Once I got to the point where they were checking our admission, I said that I had a pass at Will Call. They directed me over to the right hand lane, where I could park and walk up to the Will Call trailer. It was a pretty easy process of getting my pass. At first, the girl kept flipping and flipping through the guest list pages, which made me really worried that something had fallen through! Then eventually she was like “Oh, I was looking for it by your middle name instead of your first name!” Yeah, hi. But eventually she saw that I was one of the four Faygoluvers passes, at which time she said that she couldn’t give me mine unless the other three people were there at the same time. I knew that Scottie was behind me, but I really didn’t want to wait for him since I had no idea how much longer it would take him to get to where I was. Eventually I asked if I could just take one of the passes out of the envelope, then leave the rest of the envelope for him. The employee acted like I’d had an amazing stroke of genius in suggesting that, so she opened the packet, took one of the passes out, handed it to me, and sent me on my way.

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Finally, my four year Journalism degree has paid off!

As I walked back to my car, I passed Moonshine, who at that point was maybe 10 cars in front of me. He had Izzy with him, who asked if she could borrow some gas from the gas can for my generator since she had basically no gas left in her car. I said that was fine, so she jumped out of his truck and waited there for me to pull my car up. I pulled the car forward, and when I finally reached the security checkpoint, I was asked to pop my hood and trunk. I popped the hood, then got out and opened the trunk. I pulled out the gas can and handed it to Izzy, but I wasn’t asked to move anything else at all. They asked if I had any weapons, glass or fireworks and I said no, so they just waved me in. I saw other people really having a lot of stuff pulled out and rifled through, so I guess I got lucky. Apparently Krissi and I don’t look like troublemakers?? :-)

Once I was free and clear of the checkpoint, I made my way quickly but safely to the spot that Nick had staked for us, in the same location as last year’s camping spot behind Underground Stage. When I arrived, I saw that he had blocked off a huge spot that went all the way from the cross street down to a large tree just past where my tent had been last year. I was SUPER, SUPER excited that I was able to set up my little piece of the camp in the exact same spot as last year! Every time I pictured how the Gathering would go, I always saw me camping in the exact same spot. I’m pretty sure I was jumping and bouncing around as soon as I saw the spot that was staked off for us :-) Moonshine had said that he wanted the same spot that he had last year, so since it was open (but was down a little bit from what was already staked out for the rest of us), I parked my car there to claim it for him.

In advance of our arrival, I’d talked to friends Denton and Justin, who we met last year when we all camped near each other. We’d all agreed that whoever got in first would stake out space for the camps for the other ones. So right after I parked, I started to roll a trash can out to the edge of the little plot of grass across the street from me to stake it out for them. But just as I was doing this, Denton pulled up! It was so cool to see him again since it felt like a little family reunion was happening! Once his spot was securely allocated, I turned my attention to my camp. Since Krissi’s tent was smaller, I helped her get set up, then both of us tackled my larger tent. Pamela and Nick were handling their big tent, while Kaddy ended up putting up his tent behind theirs. Chris ended up sleeping in his van the whole time, which was parked at the back of the campsite. We all had more than enough room, with a big spot leftover for a large canopy tent that would be put up later.

Once my tent was put up, I moved my car and parked it beside my tent so Moonshine could get his tent put up in his preferred location. I love this spot, and I really hope that I can have this exact location every year in the future. It didn’t take me long to drag all the stuff out of my car and set up the majority of my camp. I got the cooler, my clothes, my towels and my “tub of stuff” into the tent, then took the time to inflate my bed and put on the sheets. I was disgustingly sweaty at this point and wanted a shower SO badly, but I wanted to finish up with everything first so I wouldn’t just come back and get sweaty after showering. I sat down and rested for a minute with everyone else, then worked on getting my little white picket fence securely planted in the ground. I added the pinwheels and the pink flamingos, then sat down to rest again before tackling the installation of the mailbox.

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Everyone taking a moment to chill at our camp

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Hi Kaddy!

Once I was rested, I tried to start the auger post for my mailbox, but I wasn’t getting very far with it. I don’t have strong hands, so it just kept turning and turning in place without actually digging into the ground. Eventually I bribed Chris to help me by giving him cigarettes haha Even he had a little bit of trouble, but I put pressure on it with my foot as he turned it, so we got it going eventually. I finished screwing it in, then added the mailbox onto the top of the post. And finally, I felt like I had fully moved back into my little home in Shangri-La :-)

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My beautiful little home for the next five days!

It was probably around 5:30pm when I decided that I couldn’t wait even one more second before I took a shower. When we first arrived, Nick said that he thought that the hill up to the showers (“Fuck That” Hill) didn’t look as steep as last year. But as I quickly discovered, that hill is every bit as steep this year as it was last year! You make it about 2/3rds of the way up the hill, then you look up and you see that you still have the steepest part to go, and you’re like “Fuuuuuuuuck…” And once you get to the top, you’re huffing and puffing like an idiot as you walk into the shower (or at least that’s what happens to this plus sized chick!). My shower felt great, and remarkably there was hot water this time. Not that I really wanted hot water since I was so sweaty, but at least it wasn’t freezing!

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By the time I got back to my camp, I found the first two gifts in my mailbox…a pink and yellow sock and a Wolfpac postcard. I was also getting really hungry, so I was itching to wander out of the area and find some dinner. Pamela and I had talked all year long about getting a Gathering gyro, so that was exactly what I wanted. Everyone packed up their chairs and headed for Main Stage around 7:00pm, after Dizzy Wright was already performing. We made it as far as the food stalls near Main Stage when Shawn got delayed and had to go back to camp for something.

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I went ahead on to the gyro booth and got my chicken gyro with lettuce, tomato, feta cheese and tzatziki sauce. When I dug in…blah…it just wasn’t the same as last year. The amazing gyros last year came from a stall that was set up near Underground Stage, so these were clearly not made by the same people! I mean, it didn’t taste *bad*…it just wasn’t the heavenly gyro I had been anticipating all year. When I reported this news back to Pamela, she seemed just as disappointed as I was.

When we finally made our way over to the Main Stage field, Zug Izland had already started their performance. I walked forward and got some pictures of them, then I happened to spot Sugar Slam on a golf cart near the security gate to the right of the stage. Thinking of my impending trip report, I decided that it would behoove me to run over and meet her and get a picture of us together. Luckily, I found Scottie standing nearby, so I asked if he would take a photo of me with her.

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When it was my turn to greet her, I ended up chatting with her for a moment about ICP Theater and how fun it must be to make. Once I had my photo, I went back over to my chair to finish watching the Zug Izland set.

After their set, I somehow started talking to the guys next to me, named Nick and Steve. Eventually the conversation turned to Lil Wyte and my distaste for him, so when it was time for Lil Wyte to take the stage, I asked if they would want to go ride some of the carnival rides with me. They both said yes, so we all headed off for the double Ferris wheel first.

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New friend Nick!

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New friend Steve!

For some reason, they ended up getting a much longer ride than I did! Once their ride was done, I asked if either of them wanted to ride the Round Up with me. Steve said he would ride, but neither of us could convince Nick to join us!  When we rode, we ended up riding next to the coolest 12 year old I’ve ever met. He was talking about how riding a Round Up is nice because it creates a good breeze for your balls hahaha Twelve year old dude, if you’re reading this…props to you because you’re awesome.

Luckily, the two rides lasted the entire length of the Lil Wyte set, so once we returned to our chairs, it was time for Boondox. I L-O-V-E Boondox, so there was no way that I was going to stay in my seat for his set! I headed up to the front, and after just a little bit of shuffling, I ended up right at the barricade, just slightly right of center for his performance.

Boondox’s performance was fantastic…easily the best live performance I’ve seen by him. He seemed very excited and animated, and he always seemed to have a huge smile on his face. He was also very engaging with the crowd, unlike in the past when he wouldn’t look into the crowd very much. I also noticed that he’s been working on the “T-Rex arm” movements since he barely did it at all. He sang most of my older favorites of his (Death of a Hater, Sippin’, Seven, and Punkinhed just to name a few), as well as Abadon, Monster and one other new one that I didn’t know! Overall, I was super excited to see just how great his live show has become, and I can’t wait to see what comes next for him!

Since I was already up at the barricade, I hung around for ABK’s set.

He started off the set with someone in a native American head dress coming out for a bit before he started in with his performance. Also, during One Last Chance, he had a couple of women in white robes (angels??) come out and slowly dance around to the song. It was kind of random, but whatever…I love that song. Killa always puts on a good set, but I definitely thought that Boondox stole the show on this particular night.

After he was done, I headed back to my chair and found it just where I left it. I said goodbye to Nick and Steve, grabbed my chair and decided to head back to camp. Since I’d barely gotten any sleep the night before, coupled with the fact that I didn’t care about any of the people who were performing that night, I decided to call it an early night and turn in. It was pretty amazing that I was in bed around 1:00am at the Gathering, but I was exhausted, and I didn’t want to lose sleep for acts that I didn’t really care about. So I changed into my jammies and slipped into my little tent for some Zs.

Around 4:30am, I heard some commotion outside my tent. I wasn’t sure what was going on until I heard someone with a very distinctive voice say “Look at that mailboxth!” Of course, that was ABK, and soon after that comment, I heard Moonshine say something like “That’s Julie’s! Cupcake girl from Nashville!” Well, since my name was brought into the conversation, I decided to jump out of bed for a minute and say hey to him. I ended up hanging around for maybe 15 minutes, but I wasn’t really part of the conversation at all, so I pretty quickly excused myself and headed back to bed. Once the immediate noise of ABK and his minions subsided, I was able to get back to sleep pretty easily.

 

 

 

Day 2

Even after being woken up in the middle of the night by ABK at my campsite, I managed to get about 7 hours of relatively sound sleep. After I roused myself, I checked the mailbox for the first time of the day, and there was tons of stuff inside it!

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The most amusing thing I found was a big, plastic foot…so funny, considering that I ended up with a plastic hand in the mailbox last year! I cleaned everything out and took it inside my tent (and stashed everything away in my Ziploc baggie that was especially set aside for my mailbox gifts). While I was in my tent, I heard someone on a golf cart pull up slowly in front of my tent. I peeked out the window, and it was Syn from Zug Izland! He drove past the mailbox a little, then backed up, put something inside it, and drove away. Awesome! It happened too quickly for me to jump out of the tent and thank him, unfortunately.

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When I checked what he’d left me, it was a dollar bill. So I put it in the baggie with my other gifts, and went about getting ready for the day.

The skies were pretty ominous all morning, but I made it to and from the shower without getting rained on. After I was back at my camp, the skies started to open up. At least it happened slowly enough that everyone was able to grab their chairs and whatnot, and put them inside their tents before they got soaked. I ended up sitting in my chair inside my tent for maybe half an hour while the rain came down, so I took the time to make up a sign for the cigarettes I was planning on selling. I also reorganized a little bit of the stuff in the tent, and pulled out my Hatchets to Hatchets game. While I sat there, the same thing happened as before…I heard a golf cart pull up, so I looked out the window, only to see Legz Diamond putting something in the mailbox then quickly driving away!

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Stuff that showed up while it was raining, including the Legz Diamond guitar pick

While it was raining, I also took the opportunity to sit in my car with the air on, and run it for a while so the battery wouldn’t die. Lunch ended up being some snacks from home as well as some goodies from the mailbox…some Ritz cheese crackers, some mini donuts and some fruit punch. Lunch of champions.

Once the rain let up a little bit, I ran across the street to Justin’s campsite, and found Denton and Nate there as well. I said that I had just the perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon at the Gathering, and brought out the Hatchets to Hatchets game. It’s basically like Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity, only Juggalo themed! We started to play, and after four or five hands, Moonshine showed up. Moonshine had never played before, so I dealt him in, and he ended up playing through the entire rest of the game with us.

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Moonshine and Denton playing Hatchets to Hatchets

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Justin with his cards, while Nate naps in the background

I have about 120 cards to play, so the game lasted a couple of hours! When we were finally done, we tallied up our scores and we found that Moonshine had won! We had a great time, and by the end of the game, the rain had stopped.

Luckily, nothing that I really cared about had been going on all day, and by 4:00pm, the rain had subsided enough that I was able to make it to the Zug Izland seminar. The tent was only about 1/3rd full, and I was able to grab a seat on a bale of hay in the front row so I could get some good photos.

A lot of their seminar was composed of acoustic performances, which was pretty cool. They also talked about some upcoming album releases and projects, and Mike P. mentioned that he lives in Nashville! Maybe I’m behind the times, but I had no idea!

After the Zug Izland seminar, I made my way over to the Freakshow stage to watch the Freak Kings freak show. Scott had told me that he was going to be helping a guy do a suspension during the show, so I wanted to see it for myself. When I arrived, the guy already had four big hooks in his back, but was still on the ground. Scott ended up rigging the guy up and hoisting him into the air, as the crowd gasped and applauded.

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The entire show was hosted by a guy calling himself the “Illustrated Penguin” who was probably about 3 1/2 feet tall and had no arms. There was also an average sized guy helping out, but for now, he was more or less just hosting everything. As the show went on, the guy who was suspended in the air ended up having more hooks put into his arms and back, from which the assistant hung 2 liter Faygo bottles! There was even one hook in his *ahem* which was hidden by a sarong type thing he was wearing.

Once all the bottles were hanging all over him, the helpers started swinging him back and forth, which made the Faygo bottles swing out over the crowd! It was really cool to watch, but MAN I could never imagine doing it myself!

After they were done, I walked around with my cigarettes, trying to sell as many as I could. I went past the autograph line, up through Spazmatic and around past the front of the Main Stage field where the new Big Baller sites are. One guy stopped me, but instead of asking if he could buy cigarettes, he asked if he could buy my bandana! haha I mean, I only paid $1 for it at Walmart, but this was my 2013 Gathering bandana! Each year, I’ve bought one special, pretty bandana. The 2011 and 2012 bandanas both made the trip to the 2013 Gathering, then next year all three will make the trip to the 2014 Gathering, and so on. So I didn’t want to sell him my special bandana. I kinda felt like a bitch since he really wasn’t even asking me for all that much, but I just didn’t want to part with it. I could even tell that he was kinda butt hurt that I wouldn’t sell it to him. Sorry, dude!

Since I was in the area, I stopped by the info tent and picked up a small map/schedule, then decided to stop by the pizza cart for some dinner. I ended up with two pieces of pepperoni pizza, which weren’t all that fabulous, but they were ok. On the walk back, I ran into Izzy and our friend A-Ron, so I stopped to talk to them for a minute while I ate. Once I moved on, I decided to try and find Scottie and Scott’s RV since Scottie had offered earlier in the day to dump my memory card onto his laptop for me (it’s a perpetual fear when I travel that I will lose all my photos, either through a theft, or damaging the camera, or the card corrupting somehow…so I was very thankful that he was willing to back up all my pics for me!). I wandered around and found the RV, but no one was there, so I turned to walk back to camp. Along the way, I happened to run into Scottie, so he invited me back and said he’d dump my card for me.

As soon as I stepped into the RV, the air conditioning was heavenly!! He invited me to have a seat, but I just wanted to stand in the doorway under the vent for a while! haha Eventually I sat down and he backed up my photos, and we both finished up our dinner while we chatted about what had been going on so far. When he was done, I headed back up to my camp for a while to drop off my remaining cigarettes and get prepped for a long night of standing at Main Stage and Freakshow Stage. Since it had rained so much that day, I changed into a pair of my disposable shoes (kind of like skaeboarding shoes, with orange laces) in anticipation of being almost ankle deep in mud! After a quick catch up with everyone in the area, I headed up to Main Stage and arrived just after Mayday took the stage.

I’ve really developed a fondness for Mayday after I saw them on my birthday last month, so it was a nice treat to be able to see them again so soon. I love the way that Bernz and Wrekonize interact on stage, and they are another group that always looks like they’re having a good time. Plus Bernz has an EPIC beard, so I have to give him some credit for that :-) I was really pleased with the pictures I got during their set, and the fact that I was within one person of the barricade already. Once they were done, I started chatting with the girl next to me, who was asking about my camera. She was cool, and I actually ended up seeing her both of the subsequent nights as well, in almost her exact same spot at the barricade! The guy in front of me was super nice, and ended up telling me about how many Gatherings he’d been to (which was like 10 or 11 of them I think).

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Rahzel performed next, and he was definitely entertaining, though I’m not quite sure that a talent like his played very well for such a large Juggalo audience. This was just about the time when a very fucked up guy came up behind us and started to cause trouble. Usually I ignore people if they’re getting on my nerves, but this guy was touching on me and pushing me a little too much. So I turned around and firmly told him not to touch me. The guy in front of me as well as a couple of the security guards saw me do it, which brought their attention to him as well. After a few minutes, he grabbed me again, which made probably 7 or 8 of the big, burly security guards charge right at him and threaten to pull him out of the crowd (he was a big dude too, so that would have been a challenge!). Luckily, he backed up, and I was able to relax a bit.

Rydas were up next, and just before they came onstage, the guy in front of me said that he’d let me stand at the barricade so I wouldn’t get crushed. That was very nice of him, so we quickly switched places, and he ended up kind of acting like my personal security guard through the rest of the set haha As the Rydas took the stage, it was no surprise to see Sawed Off, but I was definitely surprised not to see Yung Dirt! Since Boondox had made peace with Psychopathic, I just assumed that all seven Rydas would be onstage, but I guess not.

Now, call me crazy, but I really thought that the Rydas lip synched their songs, since they kept their bandanas on their faces. I mean, I would swear that in 2011 and 2012, they did not sing live. But this performance was most definitely live. By the end of the set, all of the guys had pulled down the bandanas off their faces (except Violent J and Shaggy, who had cut holes for their mouths and noses). And they were very clearly live singing into their microphones. Maybe I’m wrong, and maybe they’ve been singing live this whole time, but irregardless, I had a blast during their set!

After the Rydas were done, the stage crew started to assemble the Sevendust set, then suddenly stopped and started to bring out the Big Hoodoo set. That was a surprise, but I was excited to see him perform. I’ve only listened through his album once, but I thought it was decent.

His live performance was actually pretty good to have been his first time as Big Hoodoo. I definitely think his music has some room for improvement, but I do hope we see another album out of him, so we can see some growth and personalization to his music. I think he’s got a lot of potential, and I hope to see more from him in the future.

Knowing that I was going to be standing around at the Freakshow stage until well after 4:00am that night, I decided to skip out on Sevendust and head back to my camp to sit down for a while. Once I got back to the camp, I found Denton, Justin, Moonshine and Kaddy hanging around, so I sat down with them and chilled for about an hour.

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Moonshine saves a butterfly that was left inside my mailbox

By the time I heard Sevendust leave the stage, I hightailed it back to Main Stage because I was definitely not going to be late for Tech N9ne!

As I arrived back at Main Stage, the crowd was really thick, so I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to get anywhere close to the front. So I decided to finally make good use of my press credentials and made my way between the barricade and the stage for some good pics! Scottie and Scott were already there, as well as Hazin from True Juggalo Family and some other random press peeps that I didn’t know. Once Tech came out, it was SO fun to be up so close! We could stay up there for three songs, then we all had to scram and get out of security’s way.

I love Tech and Krizz Kaliko, but the one thing that did strike me as odd about the performance was how much time Kali spent onstage. Since Kali had his own set later in the evening, I think it would have been nice to have seen it be an entire Tech N9ne set. Or even better, leave Kali onstage with Tech, and give Kali’s set to someone else like Prozak or Stevie Stone. It just seemed odd. But whatever…the set was great, as always.

Knowing that I wanted to have a good spot for the Dark Lotus performance later in the night, I actually skipped out of Tech’s set a little early so I could stake out my spot at the Freakshow stage. When I got there, there was just one row of people waiting, so I parked myself in the one open spot right in the middle of the barricade. As Tech N9ne finished up on the Main Stage, there was an absolute flood of people that came in the direction of the Freakshow stage!

Drive By was the first act of the night on the Freakshow stage, and luckily they started early enough that a lot of people from the Main Stage flood were able to catch most of their set.

This was only my second time seeing Blaze and ABK perform together as Drive By, and I think they’re great together. My only gripe is that they didn’t perform my favorite song of theirs (Whistle). Blaze had a busy night this night, what with having to perform in Rydas, Drive By and Dark Lotus all in the same night. He rocked it though, like always.

After Drive By, most of the crowd dispersed, but the few hearty ones of us at the barricade stayed put for Whitney Peyton’s set. The extent of my familiarity with her is the Ferris Wheel song on DJ Clay’s newest mixtape, so her music was pretty new to me.

When she first came out onstage, she was restrained in a straight jacket, struggling against two guys. Once she started her performance, I thought she was really good, though she did seem maybe a little shell shocked by such a big crowd. She also looked really, really young to me. I know she’s not very old, but maybe it was the headband on her head that particularly made her look like she was 14 years old or something. I totally respect if she’s not into dressing sexy during her performances, but I do think she could step up her game and look a little bit more adult in the way she dresses. But she’s very talented, and she did a very good job with the performance.

Cognito came onstage next, who was someone I wasn’t familiar with at all. Just prior to his performance, I spotted Big Ian nearby, so I ran over and introduced myself. He seemed like he was in a little bit of a hurry, so I didn’t keep him long, and resumed my spot back at the barricade. Cognito’s set was fine, but since I wasn’t familiar with any of his music, I kind of just wanted him to be done so we’d be a step closer to Dark Lotus haha.

Big B was the next performer, who I am quite fond of :-) He’s so adorable…so obviously his adorableness makes me enjoy his music and his performances haha His music is just happy and not too heavy, and he seems like he’s having fun any time I see him perform. Like usual, he ended up taking his shirt off about halfway through the set, which didn’t bother me a bit! He’s so interesting to look at since he has so many big, random tattoos. Apparently I have a crush on Big B…nobody say anything ;-)

Once Big B was done, it was around 4:00am and I was dead tired. But the best was still to come since Dark Lotus was scheduled to perform any minute! 4:00am soon turned to 4:15am, then 4:30am before any of us saw any sign that they were starting to arrive for their performance. Finally, at a little after 4:30am, the lights went out and my most anticipated performance of the Gathering started!

When the guys arrived, they each slinked out onstage in a long black robe, with black shirts and shorts underneath, and black face paint with a red cross. I’ve seen Dark Lotus perform three times, and all three times, they looked just slightly different. To start the set, they all threw off their robes and threw them into the crowd, with one landing directly on top of me, the guy next to me and the guy behind me. Of course, we all grabbed it with a death grip, which I ultimately decided was futile since I wasn’t going to fight with either of them over who got to keep the robe! It was a moot point anyway since about one song into the set, a crew member came out into the crowd and collected up the robes, so no one got to keep it anyway!

The Dark Lotus performance was, as always, amazing. Individually, I love ICP, Twiztid and Blaze, but when they all come together as Dark Lotus, it’s really just magical and so amazing! I took photos as furiously as I could, and ended up with SO many that I was happy with! They always seem to perform most of my favorites, like Headache, Gimme Dat Blood, Backwords, In Bloom, Hot Poison and so many others! I LOVE the Dark Lotus performance every year, and it’s always one of my favorite events of the entire Gathering.

At the end of the Dark Lotus set, the last song they sang was Juggalo Family. The guy I had been standing next to all night was at his first Gathering, and I’d been talking up the Dark Lotus set all night to him. I tried to explain that when they sing Juggalo Family, you can look around, and see all these thousands of people all around you, all having the same amazing experience at the same time…but an explanation just can’t do it justice. So when they sang Juggalo Family, I nudged him and gave him a little hug, and he really looked like he was enjoying the moment with me! Maybe I’m wrong, but it just seemed like the chants went on forever this year, with the audience and the performers both continuing to chant until well after the song was over.

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Feeding off the energy of the crowd, the guys in the group started to hug each other, and ended up doing a prolonged group hug at the very end of the performance. I’d bet that part was pre-planned, but it was cool nonetheless, given all the upheaval within the group in the last year.

As the performance was finally over, everyone wandered away and back to their campsites. The sun was starting to rise in the distance, so the walk back to camp wasn’t in the dark this time. By the time I got to my tent and threw on my jammies, it was just a few minutes shy of 6:00am. And remarkably, it was very quiet in my neighborhood since everyone was wiped out from such a long night.

 

 

 

Day 3

In true Gathering fashion, after my 6:00am bedtime, I was up and around for the day at 8:30am on Friday morning. It was a pretty normal thing for me to hang around with my camp-mates or neighbors in the morning before my shower, so that’s what I did for a while before I headed up Fuck That Hill for my shower. When I got back, I had some breakfast, which was some breadsticks with string cheese and pepperoni…pretty tasty and filling to have been made inside a tent! Moonshine was around this morning, running to and fro with his ice and beer, prepping for the ABK seminar at 2:00pm. I hung around at Justin’s site with everyone until just before 2:00pm, when I packed up a bag full of cigs and headed off to sell them before the ABK seminar.

Near the seminar tent, there was a cheesesteak/chicken on a stick stand, and by the third morning, employee Greg was one of my regular cigarette customers. He was so nice, and happy to get his cigs for a little less than what he was otherwise getting them (he said that their boss sells them for $8, which sucks for Greg because he apparently can’t leave the grounds easily to go get his own). But every day, I made sure that Greg got his fix as I was wandering around. When I arrived for the ABK seminar, the tent was considerably more full than it was for the Zug Izland seminar, but was still probably only about half full. I inched my way close to the front, and ended up in the front row again so I could get some good pics of Moonshine helping out.

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Once Killa started the seminar (pretty much on time), he took questions for a while…most of which were some version “Do you wanna hit this?” (to which the reply was always “Hell yeah, I wanna hit that!”) He did get asked why so many of the Rydas dropped the bandanas off their faces the night before, with the simple answer being that it gets hot to sing for that long with a bandana over your face. After a while, the chaos started, and ABK started a game of beer and vodka pong with a couple of guys from the audience. Moonshine had the task of setting up the cups for the pong game, then started cracking open his beers and pouring them into the mouths of the people in the crowd.

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Moonshine, ready to spring into action

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The beer and vodka pong game begins…

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Moonshine gives Izzy a drink of beer

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More beer into the mouths of the crowd

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Even those in the back of the crowd got their beers

This scene went on for quite a while, with dozens of people crowding near the stage so they could get a piece of the beer pouring action. By the time the main game of beer and vodka pong was done, the guys were looking really drunk, and Killa seemed thoroughly done with anything productive haha To end his seminar, he told everyone that he was going to have a pizza party that night, and for everyone to meet him at the pizza stand after Twiztid was done. With that, people started to scatter, and I left to wander around and sell more cigarettes.

I left the seminar tent, thinking that everything was as normal, until I got to the Drug Bridge area.

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The bridge was completely closed, with semi truck cabs parked at either end. As I walked by slowly, someone stopped me to buy cigarettes and told me that the Drug Bridge had been shut down because someone had died in a nearby tent of a drug overdose. Just then, two golf carts of security guards pulled up to me, which was startling to say the least! But luckily, one of the guys just wanted to buy cigarettes! haha Whew! Since it was pretty big news, I decided to walk back to the seminar tent and let Scottie know, in case he wanted to mention it online.

As I walked, I noticed that, since the time I’d walked by maybe 10 minutes earlier, the area just up the hill from the seminar tent was now teeming with security guards, and one large area was taped off with police tape. The security guards were barking at everyone to keep moving and not to take pictures, so I moved quickly through the area and back into the seminar tent. I found Scottie, who by this point was talking to ABK, and let them both know about the death and the security ramp up that was happening. After a few more minutes, they were done chatting, so I quickly went back to Scottie’s RV with him, where he backed up my photos again. He had to run to get to the JCW seminar, so at that point, I went back to camp to chill for a bit.

After replenishing my cigarette stock, I went out wandering again. The Drug Bridge was still closed, so I walked across via the “Hug Bridge” and ended up watching the end of the freak show again.

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This time, they had the same guy being suspended by hooks in his back and knees, and they were swinging him around.

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As well, the other host guy (not Penguin) had an act where he picked up some anchor type things by sticking hooks in his eyes! Then he made some big deal about yanking the hooks out later! Oy!

I walked out toward the Main Stage field, but briefly got distracted by watching all the people riding the carnival rides. As I stopped to watch the swings, I noticed that Izzy was riding them! I snuck a couple of pictures of her, then headed back to my camp so I could drop off everything and get ready for the night. I dropped off all my stuff, then grabbed my chair and a single serve bottle of wine I’d brought, and headed off for Main Stage with the rest of the peeps from my camp.

We got as far as the food stalls area when we ran into Marlie and Shawn. Knowing that Prozak is my very, very favorite musical artist, almost as soon as I saw her, Marlie goes “Julie! Prozak’s here!” So I’m like “No, he’s not…” since I knew he wasn’t on the schedule to be performing. But she says “Yes he is! There’s his van!” I turned to look toward the merch booth and OMG THERE WAS PROZAK’S VAN!! AHHHH! Almost sprinting, Marlie and I ran for the merch booth. But much to my disappointed dismay, the merch guy told us that Prozak wasn’t actually at the Gathering, and that they had just “borrowed his van” to bring their merch down. BOOOOO! He also mentioned that Prozak couldn’t make it to the Gathering because he was busy filming his next movie and wasn’t able to take time away from it. So I guess that’s a good reason for him to not perform…I certainly hope that the movie is the reason why he wasn’t there this year instead of simply not getting invited.

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My look of disgusted disappointment when I realized that
Prozak was, in fact, NOT at the Gathering

Thanks to our little detour, everyone else had already moved along, so I ended up taking my chair and attempting to find everyone amid the crowds at Main Stage. I didn’t see anyone, so I unfolded my chair somewhere, sat down and enjoyed my wine while I waited for Soulfly to take the stage. Once they started to announce them, I made my way up to the press area of the barricade (through tons of mud, might I add…the entire Main Stage field area had pretty much been a mud pit for the last three days because of intermittent overnight rains).

I took some photos for the first few songs, then headed back to my chair to finish up my wine. As I sat there, Nick and Steve from two nights ago walked by and said hello! Since I was sitting by myself, I asked if I could move my chair and sit with them, and they said sure. So I moved up with them and got to enjoy their company for a while. We also ended up talking to a goth Juggalo behind us named Golgotha, who was awesomesauce.

By the time it was time for Blaze to take the stage, I was feeling very nice and relaxed, and making my way up to the stage through the mud pits was a little more difficult! Being up in the press area for Blaze was awesome since I love his performances, and I was able to get a ton of great photos.

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The lone wolf, in the middle of the Main Stage mud pit!

I wished that I could have stayed there the entire time! But alas, I had to leave, so I went back toward Nick and Steve, and finished up my wine while we danced around to Blaze’s set. Next up was Vanilla Ice, whose performance was the first time I was seeing him perform live. Of course I was a fan of his way back in the day, so it was fun to finally see him live. When I was up front getting pictures, it really felt like I wasn’t getting any good ones at all :-( He was moving so fast that most of the photos ended up blurry.

I did get a few decent ones, but nowhere near as nice as those of some other acts. After taking my photos, I went back to Nick and Steve’s area one last time and enjoyed the rest of Vanilla Ice’s performance with them.

When Vanilla Ice was done, I told Nick and Steve that I was going to try to get as close as I could for the Twiztid set. I left my chair near them, and made my way to about 25 feet or so back from the stage. As the stagehands set up the stage, they brought out a large, light up pot leaf Twiztid logo with two big personalized Madrox and Monoxide bongs with lights up bowls! hahaha It was awesome! The crowd was totally amped for this set, and people were screaming and chanting for Twiztid well in advance of their arrival. Once they came onstage, the chants of FAM-I-LY seemed to go on forever before they actually started their set!

As always, Twiztid brings their A-game to each and every set they do. They’re so incredibly expressive and intense with their performances, going from a song like They Told Me, to a song like So High, to a song like LDLHA-IBCSYWA without breaking character or losing their enthusiasm. They really are consummate entertainers to me, and they know it. They feed off the crowd so well, either by staring directly into one person’s eyes or by dancing around and directing the whole crowd to pump their arms or chant. Maybe I’ve just fallen a little more in love with Twiztid in recent months since their departure from Psychopathic, but I think these guys are completely amazing at what they do.

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At the end of their set, instead of taking a regular bow, they started bowing to the crowd in a worshiping sort of way, and the cheers went on and on. Before the Gathering, so many people were worried that Twiztid either wouldn’t show up at all or wouldn’t give their heart to their performance, but nothing could have been farther from the truth. In Rydas, Dark Lotus and their own Twiztid set, they both performed with every bit as much heart as they ever have in the past.

Once Twiztid was done, I went back to where Nick and Steve were standing. I found them just fine, but my chair was gone! I couldn’t believe that someone jacked my chair! I looked around with my flashlight to see if someone had just moved it, but I didn’t see it anywhere. Dangit. I liked that chair. But at least it wasn’t some super high end, name brand chair or anything. I can probably replace it for $15, but still…that chair had been to three Gatherings :-( Since none of us really had anything to do, I asked Nick and Steve if they wanted to chill with me at my campsite for a while, which was fine with them.

As we approached my little neighborhood, the coolest thing was happening! Some people a few campsites down from me were activating hundreds of glow sticks and throwing them ALL OVER the path! They had made some into balls which were now rolling all around the area, and some were hanging from the trees. In the pitch black of the forest, it looked AMAZING!

And as they would activate more glow sticks and throw them onto the path, it would just look like the glow sticks were appearing out of nowhere and flying everywhere since it was dark where the people were standing. Describing it just doesn’t do it justice. It almost felt like being in a dark cave, but having the side walls and floor of the cave glowing all around you. Nick and Steve were so glad that they’d followed me back to my camp right at that point because we all had a blast rolling around the glowing balls, trying (in vain!) to juggle the balls, and picking up the glow sticks and throwing them around. It was TOO fun, and it just looked awesome as you walked around in it. I bet we lingered for over half an hour just walking around and playing in the glow stick forest!

When we’d finally had our fill, we decided to head over to the Bomb House to check out what was going on at the DJ Clay Horny Nuts and Big Butts party. We walked the long way around so we could avoid that awful hill through the middle of the woods, and as we passed the pizza stand, we caught the end of ABK’s pizza party! Moonshine called me out on being invited but not showing up until so late…but man, I was playing in the glow stick forest, so ABK will just have to forgive me!

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While we were there, Steve asked if he could get a pic of himself with ABK, and ABK obliged politely.

Moving on, we arrived at the Horny Nuts and Big Butts party, which was already in full swing. As we arrived, I found Marlie, Shawn and Krissi, so we all kind of stood together. Pretty much, the main attraction of this show was some girls doing stripteases, which isn’t my thing, but there were TONS of dudes there getting all into it, so to each their own. I was having fun watching DJ Clay do what he does best when I noticed Nick head up closer to the front. After a little while longer, Steve made his way up front and the rest of the crew scattered, so I was kind of left there by myself. I was cool until DJ Clay introduced Lil Wyte! Then I was like FUCK THAT and decided to bounce. I had already thought that I was hungry, so I kind of wanted to get some dinner anyway (dinner? breakfast? Whatever you call the meal that you eat at 2:00am at the Gathering).

I backtracked down to all the food stalls and took a look at the bourbon chicken and rice offered by one place. It looked good, so I forked over the $8 for it. I also told the girl to add veggies to it since it occurred to me that I hadn’t eaten almost any veggies at all in like four days haha Well, the bowl of chicken that I got was gross. Every piece had big chunks of fat on it, or some kind of gristle, or some other unidentifiable somethings. And I definitely didn’t want to try and pick the lean meat of with my grubby, unwashed fingers! haha So I ate the rice and veggies, and picked at the chicken, then tossed the rest.

It was nearing time for the Underground Avengers set, so I walked back in that direction and touched base briefly at my camp before heading back out to the Underground Stage. Too bad that more stuff I wanted to see didn’t go on at Underground Stage this year because I think this stage is great…better than this year’s Freakshow stage, definitely, since it’s kinda hidden off in the woods and is raised off the ground. And it was so fun to just sit at camp and watch some really good acts from my front porch last year. By the time I got to the stage, I only had a few minutes left before Underground Avengers started. I looked around for Nick and Steve, but I never found them, so I’m not sure if they made it back for this performance or not.

For their set, I thought the Underground Avengers were really good. Of course, I’m a little partial because I’m a huge Boondox fan :-) But for real, they were very entertaining. Bukshot and Claas seemed to take the lead almost across the board while Boondox hung back behind them a little, only moving forward when it was time for his verses. Also, the T-Rex arms were in full effect for this set, so maybe he hasn’t been working so hard on it after all!! haha

Once their set was done, it was time for bed. Luckily, I never had an issue getting through the barricade to get back to my camp, so bed was just a few steps away. Since all the glow sticks were still glowing all over the place, the trail was just as beautiful now as it was earlier. Of course, now people had taken to screaming “FUCK YOUR WHITE LIGHT” when people would come through with flashlights haha They just had to excuse me for a bit while I made it into my tent for the night :-)

 

 

 

Day 4

By the time I woke up on day 4 of the Gathering, reality had set in that today was the last full day I was going to have with all of my new friends and family that I’d made thus far. My plan was to stay til the bitter end and leave on Monday, but tons of people were planning on leaving on Sunday, which was a bummer. But no matter…today was ICP seminar day, KMK day and ICP performance day! Woo!

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The first mailbox gifts of the day

After waking up and making the pre-shower rounds of the camp, I headed for the top of the hill and grabbed another shower. Once I was done, I grabbed my breakfast sandwich stuff and sat with everyone else at Justin’s camp and enjoyed my breakfast. I love how the days just start off so chill every day at the Gathering…makes me wish that real life was like that. They were actually making bacon and eggs on their camp stove this morning, which everyone seemed to love! It smelled so yummy! Luckily I had some cups that people could use since no one seemed to have enough bowls or plates to go around.

So after a good long while of everyone hanging out, a golf cart full people people slowly pulled up to my mailbox. Someone said “Hey, that’s Wrekonize!” which made three or four of us pop up quickly and head over to greet him. Well, as we got closer, the guy that we thought was Wrekonize wasn’t actually him…but Johnny Richter was on the golf cart with him!! And so was Mike P! Awesome!

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We kind of shot the shit for a few minutes with them, and someone ended up sticking a “#RichterRules” sticker on the mailbox. As we talked, Johnny Richter randomly held out his can of Faygo Cola to me asked me if I wanted it, so of course I took it! haha How cool! After a few minutes, they pulled the golf cart around to the front of Justin’s camp where everyone else was, and he pulled out a case of his Richter Glass pipes and showed them to everyone.

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They really were beautiful, but they’re on the pricey side (I mean, they’re hand made…so they’re not overpriced, but they’re not cheap, y’know). After a few more minutes chilling with us, they all bid us a farewell and went on their way. It’s SO COOL how many people I’ve met because of this mailbox, both celebrity and non.

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Me with my Johnny Richter Faygo :-)

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The new addition to the Juggalo mailbox

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Hi Izzy!

After they left, it was getting very close to the time for the ICP seminar, which to me is the one “do not miss” event of every Gathering. I loaded up my bag with cigarettes and made another sign, then headed out on a quick walk before going to the seminar tent. I made it up to the Freakshow stage via the Drug Bridge, which was now barricaded in half with security all around it, and no one selling anything anywhere in the area. I saw that the “Big Silva” show was going on, so I paused for a minute or two just to see what the randomness was all about.

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When I walked up, the ball was in the air on a crane, and was dropped onto a stack of palettes to break them. Apparently this was very entertaining to the crowd that had assembled, but I was content to keep going. I backtracked up to the seminar tent area, and stopped at the cheesesteak booth to make sure Greg got his cigs for the day. They were so busy that I ended up having to wait in line to sell them to him, which also prompted me to buy a large Coke since it was warm and I was thirsty. After he had his cigs and I had my drink, I made my way to the left side of the seminar tent and squeezed my way up into the press area.

As soon as I arrived, everyone was talking about tickets that someone was giving out and how I needed to go get one right then before the seminar started. I wasn’t sure what it was for, but I figured that I better go get one in case it was for something cool. So I had to literally climb over the entire width of the crowd in the tent to get to the guy who was giving out the tickets. Then once I had one, I had to climb the entire way back haha Before ICP arrived, Nick popped up over my shoulder! I was glad to have run into him again so I could finally exchange contact info with him since I’d hung out with him and Steve for two nights!

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THE NOTES!!! *insert screaming and applause here*

Once ICP finally arrived, I was tasked with taking notes during the seminar while Scottie concentrated on video taping it. They announced a bunch of stuff…none of which was really earth shattering in my opinion, and certainly nothing that was “the biggest announcement in ICP’s career” or anything like that. The main thing that was announced was that Boondox and AMB had both been signed back to Psychopathic.

I hadn’t heard any rumors about AMB, so that was news to me, but I was pretty convinced well in advance that Boondox was coming back. There were just too many hints to not put two and two together. They also made some announcements about upcoming tours, the 3rd Joker’s Card of the second deck, ICP Theater, and a Juggalo Day performance of The Great Milenko full album show.

At the end of the seminar, they announced that the tickets that we were all given were going to be redeemable for a DVD copy of Chronicles of the Dark Carnival! That was really cool since there were only a finite number of people at that seminar, and supposedly we were the only people who were going to get a copy.

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With that, J threw the seminar notes into the crowd…

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…and this lucky Lo caught them!

With that announcement, the seminar was over, and the crush of humanity headed for the little area where they were handing out the DVDs. Surprisingly, everything went really fast, and I was in and out in just a few minutes. With DVDs in hand, Scottie and I went back to their RV and attempted to get the seminar notes posted online, but the internet connection was so slow! He tried for probably the better part of an hour to get everything posted before it finally went through.

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Scottie, hanging out at Faygoluvers headquarters

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The Drug Bridge, completely devoid of drugs!

With that done, it was just about time for the mystery seminar, so I headed that way in hopes that it would be someone cool. My first thought was that it would be either a Boondox seminar, or a surprise Twiztid seminar. A distant thought was that it might be for Big Hoodoo as well. The tent was about half full of people when I arrived, so I grabbed a seat on a hay bale a little way back on the right side. When it finally started, the seminar was for Boondox and AMB, so no big surprise there. Some people got up and left once they saw who it was for, but they were quickly replaced with other people who came into the tent after it started.

The questions seemed to be pretty evenly directed to either Boondox or AMB, with neither one taking the spotlight from the other. I raised my hand to ask a question, and when Upchuck made his way to me, I asked Boondox about the album that he made that got stolen by the producer. He pretty much said that it wasn’t able to be recovered because that producer was a crack head haha Boondox also stated that he had recently gotten clean off of pills, and that his previous addiction was what drove him to make the decision to leave Psychopathic in the first place. It ended up being a pretty cool seminar, and we got a lot of good info about what all the guys had been doing recently and what to expect in the future.

Once the seminar was done, I decided to head back for my camp and chill out for a while before heading up to Main Stage for the night.

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Pillowcases in the mailbox? Awesome! :-)

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Another shot of my home, my car and my mailbox :-)

When I got back, a big group was hanging around Justin’s site, so I sat down with them for a while. The big news of the day was that our neighbor Beth had won the ladies oil wrestling competition, and had won a trip for two to Cancun! Awesome! They were really excited, and I was happy for them because that’s a pretty awesome prize to win! I didn’t catch any of the oil wrestling, but it made me wish I could have been there to cheer her on! The rest of the afternoon was spent just hanging out with my new friends at camp, which was a very productive way to spend my time, IMO. But soon it was time for Main Stage acts to start, so I headed back to my tent to Faygo-proof my purse before I left. I put everything in my purse into a gallon Ziploc bag, and brought my backup camera to use during ICP so my newer, higher end camera wouldn’t be in jeopardy of being damaged!

I was starving by this point, so I walked up to the path with the food stalls. Along the way, I found Kaddy posted up on the side of the path selling his drinks, and doing very good business! I was going to buy a drink from him, but I wanted to grab dinner first, so I moved along for the moment. I had kind of decided on getting chicken fingers, but when I got to the chicken finger stand, I saw that they had Stoner Bowls that could be made with shredded chicken! Yummy! I’d never been able to have one before because they’re always made with Philly steak. So I got one (without onions), then took it back toward Kaddy so I could grab my drink. It was actually so hot and fresh that I couldn’t hold it, so I put it inside my hat while I ate it! haha

When I got back to Kaddy, I found the rest of my Nashville crew in the area. I bought a grapeade drink from him then started to eat my steamy hot Stoner Bowl.

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Everyone thought it looked delicious…and it was! It was a bed of french fires, with chicken, chili and cheese on top. And the chicken was actual lean, marinated chicken breast instead of mystery chicken from some other part like the bourbon chicken I’d had the night before! Everyone seemed to agree that it looked tasty, and I devoured the entire thing without shame!

Once I was done with my Stoner Bowl, I headed up to the front of the crowd, through another giant mud pit thanks to heavy rains overnight. I had missed Rehab, but was just in time to head up front for some pics of Rittz.

It’s been fun to watch Rittz go from relatively unknown even in the underground to someone who can headline the Main Stage at the Gathering and get so much love from everyone! I really like Rittz’s style, his voice and the way that he does his quick flows. He’s pretty cool, and he’s interesting to watch onstage as well. Nashville seems to give a lot of love to Rittz, so I’m glad that he gives it right back. My pics came out pretty well, despite all the mud in the press area! haha

Once I left the press area, I found a spot not far back from the stage to enjoy the rest of his set. Then out of nowhere, three of us get hit with eggs! Bleh! It was me, the guy next to me and the girl in front of me, all smeared on our shoulders with raw egg! The girl in front of me pulled out a bandana and wiped off her shirt, then turned to me to help wipe it off of my shirt. But when she did, she just smeared the raw egg all down my bare arm! It just about made me wanna puke! I just motioned for her to stop, then held back my gag reflex for the rest of the set.

When Rittz was done, I quickly made my way back to my campsite to change my shirt and antibacterial wipe my arm down.

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Along the way, I found Chris now posted where Kaddy originally was, selling his drinks! I think he said that Kaddy went to get more ice, so he was lucky that Chris was nice enough to man the drink station while he did so! Also along the way, I ran into the guys from Potluck, so I paused and got a quick picture with both of them (making sure to keep my raw egg arm well away from them both!).

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Once I was at camp, I baby wiped down and changed into my black Faygo shirt. This was the same shirt I wore last year during the ICP set, and apparently I wasn’t going to get away with not wearing it again this year! Once I was changed, I made my way back to Main Stage and arrived in time to catch about half of the Swollen Members set. I’ve never listened to their music, but their set was enjoyable.

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Hey! You, in the Jeckel Brothers jersey! Don’t I know you from somewhere?

I was really excited to see KMK at the Gathering again, since both of the last two years, I’ve missed either all or part of their set. I was waiting at the edge of the stage to head up front for some photos as soon as they were announced, and once they came onstage…something was wrong. I snapped away as furiously as I could, but it really took me a minute or two to realize just what seemed so off about the performance. Daddy X was missing! I knew that he’d had a falling out with Subnoize management, but I somehow missed the news that he’s not performing with KMK anymore! It sucked once I realized it, but I just kept on snapping pics of whichever guy was in front of me the entire time.

After I left and went back to the audience, I found Moonshine, Justin and Denton to hang with, and Justin wasn’t happy with the change at all! I can’t say that I’m happy with it either, but the remaining guys did just as well as I would have expected them to, whether Daddy X was there or not. I still love KMK’s music, and I’ll continue to support them for as long as they make music worth listening to. But really, I feel sorry for Daddy X about the whole situation.

Once they were done, I ran (well, trudged, since it was still so muddy) back to where Scottie and Scott were, just in case there were any special instructions for photographing the ICP set. Once we were herded up to the press area, the security guard told us that we would only be allowed up there for the first two songs, then we had to leave. He then shook each of our hands and thanked us for what we do, and let us in. That was nice :-)

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I was SUPER impatient waiting for ICP to come out since I was so excited to be up there that close! The girl from two nights before who I met at the barricade was up there again…I told her she was hardcore for wanting to be that close for the entire time! I tried to survive the ICP pit at least year’s Gathering, and I bailed two acts before ICP because I couldn’t tough it out!

When it was finally time for ICP, the lights went off and the crowd went crazy. Almost the very second that Violent J and Shaggy came out onstage, they started breaking open the Faygos. Like, I’d swear that that walked out with one in their hands! Immediately, I was getting soaked, and trying desperately to shield my camera under my hat so it wouldn’t get damaged! Everyone else had fancy waterproof cases for their cameras, but all I had was a baseball cap and my reflexes to save mine! I took photos as quickly as I could, but due to the sheer messiness of the performance, I didn’t get all that many good ones. Toward the end of our time up there, some clowns came out and dumped feathers into the audience! So we all ended up completely covered in Faygo and feathers! It was TOO FUN! What wasn’t so fun was having to continuously dodge security as people were crowd surfing! One guy got dumped directly behind me, and his foot came down on the side of my left ankle! Ouch! But I’ve survived worse, so I shook it off and kept going.

Once security finally hustled us out of the press area, I wasted no time in getting back into the middle of the crowd. I didn’t want to be in the middle of the pit, but I definitely wanted to be close enough to continue getting wet! After another song or two, Steve found me in the crowd! I motioned for him to come stand next to me, and we ended up enjoying quite a bit of the set next to each other. But after a while, people started jostling around and we got separated. Just like at the small venue show of theirs that I went to in May, I still think that Vera Lee doesn’t play very well to a large crowd. It’s a good song, but not one that seems to go over very well live. For the big Bang Pow Boom finale, they brought out tons of people as well as the hose that sprayed blue Faygo. Since I was already soaked, I moved a little further to the left so I could be right under where the hose was spraying. And as I stood there, dancing in the Faygo rain with fireworks going off above me, it occurred to me again…what a random and fun and AMAZING thing to be able to experience! Moments like these are what make life completely worth living! Damn, it feels good to be a Juggalo :-)

By the time the hose was finished spraying and everyone was starting to disperse, I had lost track of Steve but found Denton off to the right of the stage. And he was dry! As I walked back, I also ran into Golgotha again, who had also managed to stay dry! Man, there was no way that I was gonna let myself escape the Faygo Armageddon dry again! When I got back to the camp, people were filtering in, and someone asked me if I had any cigarettes left to sell. I said that I did, but that I was freezing and really needed to get out of my squishy wet clothes, and asked them to give me a few minutes! haha I went inside my tent, quickly stashed my Faygo soaked clothes, hat and purse into a garbage bag, and baby wiped down the rest of me so I could put off taking a shower until the next morning. When I was done, I threw on the one dress that I’d brought since I just wasn’t in the mood to be fully clothed anymore hahaha

After catching up with everyone briefly at camp, I walked back over to Scottie and Scott’s RV. Scottie backed up my photos one last time, and by the time he was done, we both headed off to watch Kung Fu Vampire on the Freakshow stage. We were right on time, and as he took the stage, I managed to find a spot at the barricade on the far left of the stage. I think I’ve seen Kung Fu Vampire three times, and each time, I think I like him more and more.

He started off the set wearing a long sleeve black shirt with a red hand-made Kung Fu Vampire tie, but ultimately ended up taking his shirt off and doing more than half of the set in just his shorts! He also had a big bag of Jello shots that someone gave him, which ended up getting passed around the audience. I got one, and it was some kind of yummy berry flavor.

While I was watching Kung Fu Vampire, I noticed that the field we were standing in stunk. I mean…smelled straight up like some kind of animal shit that we were all standing in. Right as I’m noticing this, Kung Fu Vampire says something like “I wonder if this crowd has a death wall in them!” You could hear this audible moan over the crowd, and everyone started looking around like “You’ve gotta be kidding me.” He obviously picked up on this because it prompted him to say something about how he was glad that we were even watching his set at all since he could smell the mud too and wasn’t sure if he would be standing in it to watch someone. Then he yelled “So who wants to do a death wall??” and THREE hands in the entire crowd went up! Too funny! So majority ruled, and we had no death wall in the shitty mud pit that night! hahaha

After the set, I’d lost track of Scottie, so I went back to camp. Chris grabbed some drinks that we were taking to him, and we headed back to their RV. Scott was the only one there, so we dropped off the drinks and chilled with him for a bit before ultimately Scottie showed back up. Since they were headed out in the morning, I said my last goodbyes to both of them, and went back to camp for the night. It was pretty late, so I went ahead and laid down, and pretty soon I was off in dreamland.

 

 

 

Day 5

By about 10:00am on Sunday, I was awake and making my way out of my tent and into the world. A big chunk of the people in the campground were already gone, including Denton and his friend, who were camped across the street diagonally from us. I wasn’t in any hurry to leave since I had all of Monday off, and planned on staying as late as I could. There was basically nothing at all going on this day, so it was a good chance to just hang out with our remaining friends and enjoy what felt like real vacation time.

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Woah! Cool gifts in the mailbox this morning!

Once I grabbed my breadsticks, pepperoni and cheese for my sandwiches, I headed over to Justin’s camp, where everyone seemed to be assembling. It seemed like almost everyone in the area (except my immediate Nashville crew) were parked all around the campsite just laughing and enjoying each others company. I pulled a towel over and sat on the ground while I finished breakfast, and watched them cook their remaining sausages and hot dogs on their camp stove.

Just like the previous morning, as I was chilling at Justin’s camp, I saw a golf cart pull up to my mailbox, and this time I immediately recognized the guys on it…

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…Mike P. and Syn! So I ran over to them (in my pajamas, with my hair going everywhere, unshowered after that ICP set…so I’m sure I looked fabulous! haha) and said hi to both of them. We ended up chatting for quite a while, and I ended up finding out that not only do Mike P. and I live in the same part of Nashville, but that he actually just lives a few blocks away from my parents! Small World! Syn ended up leaving me a light up necklace before they left, and after a photo with them and some goodbyes, they drove off.

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Y’know, it was so cool to see so many people stop by the mailbox to mess with it. Just like last year, the purpose of it wasn’t to actually get gifts from people, but to meet people, and to encourage people to interact with their neighbors. I met quite a few people who said “Hey I left such-and-such in your mailbox last year!” which then led me to talk to them for a while. I also met the family who live in the mobile home at the very entrance of Hogrock (when you’re coming in from the big holding pen field, and you get to the single file line, there is a mobile home on the left…that’s where they live). They were super friendly, and said that they came by every day and left me something! One thing they left was a five-leaf clover that was taped up to preserve it! I probably would never have had an opportunity to meet them (or Johnny Richter, or Syn, or Mike P., or anyone else) if I hadn’t had that mailbox there to make them pause and interact for a moment. My mailbox is my favorite non-essential, essential piece of Gathering camping gear :-)

Once they were gone, I went ahead and headed for the shower for the last time. The one thing that I will NOT miss about being home from the Gathering is that huge mountain of a climb every day to get to the showers! But that walk is still better than waiting in a line in the sun to use the shower trailer, so I guess I can’t complain! I also finally decided to take my camera with me this time and get a photo of the Hogrock pig at the top of the hill. This was the last day of my third Gathering and I STILL had not seen that pig! When I got to the top, I found Justin there talking on his phone, so I asked if he wanted a picture with the pig too. We both walked over, and I ended up getting a few good pics of us with the pig and the big Hogrock archway sign.

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Justin with the pig

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Me with the pig, finally!

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After my shower, I walked back toward my campsite, and stopped to talk with Tom from New Jersey at his camp one last time. I’d stopped a couple of mornings to chat with his crew since they were friends with my friend Jamie from Nashville. After bidding them farewell, I came back and got dressed and hung around with my Nashville peeps for a last few minutes. Pamela, Nick, Chris, Amber and Shawn were all planning on heading back to Nashville today, so their camps were mostly already broken down. As they were taking down Pamela and Nick’s big tent, everyone got a good surprise when they found a snake under the tent!

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The guys ended up cornering it, and Chris picked it up and carried it around for a while.

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I wasn’t scared of it, but Pamela and Amber didn’t want any part of being near that snake! Shawn eventually put it into a bottle and decided to take it home as a pet! This was one of many critters we saw at Hogrock on this trip, including plenty of huge spiders, hundreds of beautiful butterflies, and Pamela said that someone had a rhinoceros beetle on a table at Underground Stage one day!

By around 3:15pm, most of my Nashville crew was on their way home, so I hung out with the rest of the crew until we all got bored and went our own ways.

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Probably around 4:00pm or so, I headed out to walk around and ended up at the free family dinner that had been so heavily talked about before the Gathering. And who did I see when I arrived? Nick and Steve! I’d run into these guys literally every day of the Gathering! They had just arrived and were about to get in line for some lunch, so I hung with them. I didn’t get anything to eat since I’d already eaten, plus I had money to buy a meal if I needed one, and a lot of people don’t, so I didn’t want to take a meal that would be better given to someone else. There was also a family hanging around who were from a local outreach, who were delivering some water and food donations. They seemed like very nice people, and talked about how every year they give donations like that to Juggalos who need help, and how they help stranded Juggalos get home once the Gathering is over. I know they were with a religious group, but they didn’t appear to be pushing religion on anyone when I met them. It was nice to see local people being so nice to us for a change :-)

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Steve with his peanut butter and fluff sandwich and soup!

After probably an hour of sitting and watching the family dinner volunteers cook and serve so many meals, I asked Nick and Steve if they would go back to my camp area and collect up some donations with me. So we walked back, and each of us ended up with an armful of donations just from the few campsites that were left in my neighborhood! Once we got back, we ended up hanging around for easily another hour, just watching people go by, and chatting with the people who ended up sitting with us at our table. The peeps who organized this dinner need a HUGE kudos from everyone who attended. They took food that would have otherwise ended up in the trash in a day or two, and used it to feed easily 300-400 people or more. This meal was a fantastic example of Juggalo family love, and the organizers should be really proud of what they accomplished.

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At some point, Greg from the cheesesteak stand across the street came out and asked if I could get him one more pack of cigarettes. I said yes, but then it totally slipped my mind to actually go get them. Maybe half an hour after that, he came back and was like “Girl I need them so bad, can you PLEASE go get them for me soon??” haha Poor guy. So I went right then and packed up the rest of the cigarettes and brought him a pack so he could get his fix. Once he had them, he hung around and chatted with us for a while about his job, and his travels and all that. I really hope he ends up working the Gathering next year because I definitely want to say hi to him again.

So as the day wore on, eventually Nick and Steve were ready to leave for home. I walked them out to the parking lot, and made sure that we had all exchanged numbers and Facebook pages and all that. And y’know…I was really sad to see these guys go!! I’d had such a blast hanging out with them…we rode rides, played in the glow stick forest, went to the DJ Clay party, watched ICP together…It was like I had gone to summer camp and made two new besties, but now my new besties had to go home, and I won’t get to see them until we all go to summer camp again next summer :*-( I gave Nick a hug goodbye, then Steve, and before I walked away, Nick and I snuck one more goodbye hug in, just for good measure haha. Then I walked around the fence, and made a sad face at them and waved as they drove away (like I was doing an impression of leaving your sad puppy at home when you go on vacation haha). With my new besties on their way back to New England, I walked back in and headed back to my camp for a bit, selling the last of my cigarettes along the way.

There wasn’t anything interesting on the agenda for the evening besides the Deadly Medley, so I just hung around my camp area, and prepped for breaking down camp the following morning. I tried to organize my dirty clothes and towels as best I could, and stuffed all of my random things into other various bags. Around 8:30pm, I headed off to the wrestling ring to watch the only thing going on, Bloodymania. I’m not a fan of any kind of wrestling at all, but I figured that maybe it would be better than sitting alone at my campsite right at that point. I knew that Moonshine was there, but I walked around and didn’t see him or anyone else that I knew. Eventually I plopped my chair (which was actually Chris’ chair that he left behind for me to use) off to one side and sat down to see if I could enjoy the show.

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Violent J announcing…something?

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After about half an hour, I decided to get up and get some dinner since I wasn’t paying attention to the wrestling at all. I walked back down to the food stalls and decided that my last meal should be another Stoner Bowl since the previous one was so delicious. I got dinner and walked back to my chair, and ate while I sat there and tried to watch what was going on. Eventually, after another half hour, I realized that my mind was wandering so badly that I might as well just be at my camp chilling out instead of trying to watch this wrestling mess (during which I probably looked like a zombie, since I was spacing out and thinking about any and everything besides wrestling). So I packed up the chair and went back to camp.

When I got back, Justin was hanging around, but had already broken down most of his camp, so for once, he came to my campsite to hang out for a while! We sort of just talked and laughed, and I looked through my photos from the week, and killed time until it was time for Deadly Medley. Eventually he left and Krissi showed up, so she hung out at my tent with me for a while too. Really, the whole day was just kind of chill and wonderful…nowhere to be at any particular time, no requirements of doing this or that…it was very nice.

Just before midnight, there started to be lots of activity around the Underground Stage, so I grabbed my camera and made my way out there. Last year, we were made to walk the long way around to the stage since security wouldn’t let us through the barricade, but this year, that was no issue. I just walked straight on through as though it was nothing. I found a spot to the left of the runway near the end, so my view was great and I was close to the action.

The show started just after midnight, with each act being introduced as they came onstage to perform. It was no surprise to see ICP, ABK and Big Hoodoo, but Boondox was also there performing without his face paint, as well as Vanilla Ice, Jumpsteady, AMB and Legz Diamond and the Purple Gang. I particularly liked when ICP sang Homies, but MAN it would have been nice to have had Twiztid there to sing their parts of that song :-( Again, I was very impressed with Boondox the entire way through, and really thought that Vanilla Ice was excellent with his songs! I’m not really sure what was up with this, but twice during the Deadly Medley, I saw Vanilla Ice pause, look right at me, point at me, and make some kind of “I love you” motion with his hand over his heart. HUH?? haha It was so random, but really awesome!

By the end of the Deadly Medley, it was sinking in that yet another fabulous Gathering was in the books. As the crowd started to disperse, I found Moonshine, and we walked back toward the barricade together. Again, nothing was said to us at all as we walked straight on through the barricade, where last year security would hardly let us look at the barricade before drop kicking us away from it! Since I wasn’t tired right at that exact moment, I opened up the chair and sat it by my mailbox, and sat there for about another half an hour, just soaking in the last few minutes of the Gathering. There were lots of goodbyes and see-you-laters from people as they passed by, and eventually the traffic slowed to a crawl. I told Moonshine goodbye since he was probably going to already be gone when I got up the next morning, then made my way into my tent for the last sleep of the Gathering.

 

 

 

Day 6

I think I was up around 8:30am on Monday morning. Despite feeling like I didn’t want the Gathering to be over, I really was ready to be back in a world of real toilets, real beds, air conditioning, clean hands and home cooked meals. Before I did anything productive, I grabbed the last of my string cheese out of my cooler, and headed outside to see who was still around. Justin and Kaddy were across the street hanging with a crew guy camping in our area who was also named Justin, and his girl. I offered them up some cheese (since I had six sticks, and I know that I don’t need six sticks of cheese haha), and we sat around chatting for a good while.

After a bit, I decided that I had all kinds of crap to do, and that I better get a move on since we had to be out that day. I happened to mention that I wanted to scavenge a bit and get Krissi a better tent (her tent was so small that she couldn’t stretch out in it when she had her stuff inside), and I asked if anyone knew of a tent someone had left behind. Cassie from the camp next door said that she knew some people who had left all of their stuff over in the Gutter Rats section, behind the Freakshow Stage. I asked if she would walk me over there and point it out to me so I’d make sure I took the right one, and she said she would. As we walked over there, it was kind of surreal to see all of the infrastructure of the Gathering disappearing around us…the food stalls were gone, the Freakshow Stage was gone, the autograph tent was gone…blah, it just looked so depressing.

Once we got to the area where the tent was, she pointed it out to me, and I headed over to break it down. It ended up being a brand new tent that was only used the one time, since the new bag that it came in was still at that site. It was barely even dirty, despite that whole area being a big mud pit. I quickly broke it down, folded up the tent and rain fly, and collected up the poles and stakes for the walk back. As I was doing that, I spotted a solar shower that someone had left, so I grabbed that too. They’re not that expensive, but hey…might as well take it if it’s there. There was also a nice camping toilet along the tree line behind the camp, but y’know…that’s probably something that should be purchased new haha So I left it where it was!

Once I got back to camp, Krissi was still asleep, so I started yelling “FUCK YOU SLEEP, KRISSI!” into her tent to make her get up haha It was about 10:00am by this point, so we both really did need to get moving and pack up everything. I dragged my cooler out of my tent and emptied the water out of it, then packed my dirty clothes and towels inside. The dry ice I purchased last Tuesday morning had worked wonders, since the bottles of water inside were still cool on Monday morning, and there was still ice inside it as of Sunday evening. I didn’t have to buy any ice at the Gathering for the second year in a row, which was a big convenience.

After that was done, I dragged everything else out of the tent, and broke down the tent itself. I also broke down the Poop Deck tent while I was at it (which, by the way, was FABULOUS. I only used a port-a-potty ONE time, and that was when we were in the parking lot, before we set up the Poop Deck. Old people bedside camping toilet for the win!). From there, we pretty much just threw everything into the car in any formation that would fit. Chris had taken my generator and gas cans with them in the van the day before, so that gave me a little extra room, which was nice.

By about 11:15am, Krissi and I were done packing up everything, so I made the rounds and said my goodbyes. I gave Justin a big hug goodbye and a “see you next year” and said goodbye to everyone else who had been camped near us, then headed for the car. We wanted to make one last pass around the campground to see about scavenging a chair for me, so we started out by driving up the cross street toward the area where we camped the first year. This led us all the way up the hill toward the shower building. Since we were at the top. we decided to stop and get a couple of more pics with the Hog Rock pig before leaving.

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Krissi with the pig

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Me with the pig. See you next year, Hogrock!

From there, we drove back down past our campsite, and turned left once we got past Underground Stage. There was almost nothing left anywhere, which was great for Hogrock, but bad for scavengers! haha I drove up through the woods and turned right since I hadn’t walked through that area at all during this Gathering. I stopped a couple of times to look at chairs, but they were all broken.

As we drove through the area that formerly held the Bomb House, food stalls, and merch booth, we both mused about how sad it felt to see the dead remains of what had been a fabulous Gathering. There was barely anything left to scavenge at all, so we decided to say goodbye to our beautiful Shangri-La, and head out into the outside world again. As we drove out, we passed the mobile home where the family lives on the edge of the property, so I stopped for a second to say goodbye to them, and told them that I would be back next year with the mailbox, and that I would see them then! The drive out was uneventful except for a short stretch where I was being followed by a cop. But I maintained the speed limit, so he had to reason to stop me, and eventually he passed me.

We arrived back in Metropolis with ease, and I filled my gas tank at the same gas station where we’d stopped on the way in. Just like last year, Krissi and I stopped for what has now become out annual post-Gathering lunch at Huddle House. We both ordered massive amounts of food, and we both got milkshakes because fuck you, we were still on vacation. My burger biscuit sliders were way to big to eat all at once, so I took two of them and most of the fries to go. After lunch, we made our way back to Nashville uneventfully, where I dropped her off, then headed home myself.

And so ended another fabulous Gathering of the Juggalos. I really do find it difficult to find the words to describe an event like this (Now everyone say : “Jules, you just found 19,401 words to describe this Gathering, so I don’t believe you!”). But really…you can’t describe that feeling that an event like this gives you. That feeling of arriving in a place where you know that everyone around you shares this really awesome, unique bond with you. You may have never met them before, but they’re already your friend. My favorite part about this Gathering is that I feel like I really made a lot of new friends this year. Not people that I’ll add on Facebook and not talk to for a year, but actual friends…people that I’ll want to keep up with and talk to, and people who I want to share in the happy parts of my life too! It’s so funny how you can come to an event like this, and leave with like 10 new friends over the course of a week :-)

Since I’m sure a lot of you are curious, I wanted to pause for a minute and take inventory of everything that showed up in my mailbox over the course of the week. It was as follows…

Wolfpac Postcard
Yellow/purple sock
Two Jolly Ranchers
Red lighter
Bottle of water
Plastic foot
CD
Condom
Gamestop credit card
Bloodstepp card
Dollar bill (from Syn)
Abandon Records CD
DO/AC magnet
Legz Diamond guitar pick (from Legz Diamond)
Plastic Spider
Condom
Red Bull
Two cheese Ritz bits
Nutter Butter Bites
Ocean Spray fruit snacks
Firey looking lighter
Silver beads
A mushroom
A butterfly
Turkey leg
Pink glow stick
Cigarette
Razorz Edge CD
Mayday sunglasses
Two cigarettes
Pair of black socks
51 Fifty energy drink
Empty Mountain Dew can
Cigarette
Faygoluvers Postcards
HOR postcard
Clear glow stick
Cigarette
Paper helicopter toy
Energy drink
Two pillow cases
A guy’s number on a Newport box flap
Ticket for Chronicles of The Dark Carnival DVD
Bottle of water
Sour cream and onion potato chips
Empty plastic bag
Bottle of water (from DJ Scenario)
Pink marker
Red Sharpie
Pot leaf straw visor
Music Villa wooden box
House shaped key chain
Five leaf clover
Glow wand necklace (From Syn)
Cigarette
Project Hatchet cards
Yellow plastic ring
Rock
Giant condom
Two Bukshot CDs

I also got a couple of *unmentionable* gifts in the mailbox too. So as you can see, I got nothing that was mean spirited, only got a little bit of trash, and got TONS of other nice things that were either useful, edible or fun! Please trust that if you put something in the mailbox, it got either eaten, drank or smoked, or it came home with me as a souvenir! I’m pretty sure the only things I threw out were the turkey leg and the Mountain Dew can, as well as I delivered the mushroom and the butterfly back to nature. I want to thank everyone who stopped by and left something, or paused for a minute to chat with me at my site! I think you’re all awesome!

So that’s it for my Gathering review. If you’ve made it this far, WHOOP WHOOP to you because you are a very brave or very bored soul! Hope to see you all next year! Much clown love to you all!

-Jules

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    Faygoluvers Comments

  1. Squarepakk666

    Squarepakk666

    Comment posted on Friday, August 30th, 2013 02:58 am GMT -6 at 2:58 am

    That was a great review, You got some great pics, And I laughed everytime I saw something new in your mailbox,If I see your campsite next year im going to leave something in there.Ill finish reading it later on today, I only got half way through it.

  2. Violentdope

    Violentdope

    Comment posted on Sunday, September 1st, 2013 01:22 pm GMT -6 at 1:22 pm

    great review…never been to the gathering but this review makes me feel as if i was there…maybe next year..

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