What’s up, ninjas?
As always, this is going to be a shoot.
I wanted to take some time to address the recent article that came out concerning this year’s Gathering of the Juggalos. First, I wanted to say that you have no idea how hard it is to make the Gathering happen each year. The incredible amount of work and personal sacrifice it takes to make it all come together is unfathomable to say the least. Hopsin mentions in a few of his songs that he “threw his life away” to make it and I can totally relate to what he’s talking about. It usually takes that level of dedication to make it great at anything in the music world and working on the Gathering is no different.
Due to the irrational fear the outside world holds for us, there are literally only a handful of places across the nation that would even host the Gathering. The main reason for this is because of the FBI unfairly labeling Juggalos a gang, which has caused us immense problems. When we found Crybaby Campground (aka Harlequin Park) in Kaiser, MO we were elated because we found someone open minded enough to allow us into their home. However, when the town rose up against the land owners with a petition and threatened to boycott their business, it was too much for them to bear and so they pulled the plug. It was one of the lowest points of my life personally. I felt that I had let everyone down because I found that location to begin with. However, I can fully relate to the hardship the people at Crybaby Campground had to endure, because we as Juggalos live with it every day.
Now at this point we had spent mad time and resources gearing up to have the Gathering in Kaiser, MO to only find ourselves suddenly scrambling for a new location. We had many suggestions sent in from private landowners (some of whom were Juggalos) to outdoor music venues to state parks. However, every time we started to try to move forward in a serious way with a location, suddenly the people weren’t returning our phone calls or just outright backed down. Still we refused to give up; in fact, failure was never an option.
Then Legend Valley suddenly came along. Someone sent me a link to it and I contacted the landowner, who unbeknownst to me had already contacted our CEO Billy Bill. We went down there and sure enough it was the perfect spot for the Gathering. Steve, the owner, told us how he had been to a Gathering before and how he is super supportive of our family and hosting the event. He fully understands that there is no reason to fear Juggalos because he understands us and what we represent. In fact, he feels that us being oppressed as a people is straight bullshit. His open-mindedness was key to even having a Gathering this year, seeing as we had so little time left to organize one.
Legend Valley was perfect in every way with only one drawback – He told us that he has always maintained a good relationship with the Sherriff’s department and has always allowed them onto his property for every event he hosts. We asked him if he would make an exception and we talked about it over the following weeks. We tried to come up with options such as allowing them on the grounds with an escort (which is what we did at Nelson Ledges Quarry Park) or keeping them close by in the parking lot to be pulled in if we needed them, but found in the end that it was non-negotiable and was simply the way he chooses to run his events there. So seeing as we were out of time with regards to finding a location this year we had to make the hard choice, so Legend Valley it was.
Now I am not sure if ninjas new to the scene realize this, but there have been more than a few Gatherings that have had a Sherriff’s presence before. In fact, the Gathering of the Juggalos at Frontier Ranch back in 2006 had the exact same Sheriff’s department on the grounds that will be at this year’s Gathering. I have recently talked to the Colonel of the Sherriff’s department and he told me he is not expecting any problems at the Gathering this year because he had none back in 2006. He fully understands that Juggalos are coming to have fun and his people are not there to arbitrarily give ninjas the bone.
So with the hand we were dealt and against seemingly insurmountable odds, we then went ahead and started to book one of the greatest lineups we have ever had at the Gathering – period. On the logistics side of things, it continues to be an upstream struggle as we swim against all those that try to hold our family back, but yet we continually prevail! I personally have had more than a few doors slammed in my face from companies we need to work with each year to make the Gathering happen; everything from tent rental to porta-potty companies. But in the end, if I dug deep enough, there seemed to always be one willing to work with us. It seems the Dark Carnival always finds a way to keep things rolling on.
I can’t tell you how proud I am of our Psychopathic team to turn everything around from the utter defeat of losing our location in Kaiser, MO to the supreme victory of producing what could be one of the greatest Gatherings we have ever had. All the while we remain fueled by the love and support of our Juggalo family. This love is the only thing that makes it worth the sacrifices we all make daily because we don’t want to ever let our family down out of the love we have for them.
So now it seems we have a few Juggalos spreading fear amongst our family, who to me seem no better than the citizens of Kaiser who let fear grip them to the point of irrationality. This is such a hard pill for me to swallow. I understand why outside forces would be consumed in fear and let it get the best of them but I have no idea why Juggalos would allow the same fear to rule them. Is there going to be police on the outside harassing Juggalos on the way in? Yes. But is this honestly any different than any other year? Has that not been status quo for the last seven years at Hog Rock? It’s the same kind of bullshit that we as a family have to deal with on a daily basis. Why would any ninja bow down now and let anyone stop them from having the greatest time of the year amongst our family?
I also wanted to take a moment to address the capacity situation. We have structured the Gathering this year to accommodate 6,000, which is a number we based on the attendance of last year. However, the property at Legend Valley is 120 acres (which can hold about 50,000 people) and there are options for us to expand if it goes beyond 6,000. I have talked to Steve in length about this when we were first booking Legend Valley. He has done events there with well over 40,000 people and I guarantee that there is plenty of room for everyone to attend the Gathering this year and no one will be turned away. So far ticket sales are higher than where we were at last year at this time, so we will see if we indeed need to take these steps.
In closing I wanted to end with the following statements:
I know some ninjas were expressing their opinions on the Gathering flyer we put out and are upset that Twiztid, Boondox, ABK etc. are not on it. This to me is just fucking ridiculous. That flyer has been the same format for the last few years. It has no Psychopathic related artists on it (except ICP because they are hosting it) because you know they are going to be there. The Gathering flyers are intended to showcase the unknown and variable talent we are bringing in each year that is outside the family (not to mention it’s impossible to fit everyone on one poster). If that was a mistake, then so be it. It honestly was not any attempt to belittle the fact that any Psychopathic related artists are going to be there.
In closing, I truly feel that this is going to be one of the best Gatherings ever. We have an incredible line up set in an all new location of freshness. Everyone we are working with for the Gathering this year seems mad fuckin’ cool, from Steve the property owner, the security, EMS and yes, even the Sheriff’s department (I can’t vouch for the Ohio State Highway Patrol who will be on the outside). Ticket sales are higher than where we were at last year and at least ninjas won’t have to deal with the bridge this year. There are plenty of hotels nearby along with mad other businesses and there is excellent cell phone reception and Wi-Fi internet access. We remain hard at work up here day and night insuring we put together the best setting possible for our family reunion. We have mad love for all you ninjas and feel that each and every one of you is worthy of all of our blood, sweat and tears. Believe me when I say we wouldn’t work as hard as we do for anyone else on the planet.
I look forward to seeing you all at the Gathering this year, which will truly be epic in every way!