Tuesday, August 7th through Monday, August 13th, 2012
The 13th Annual Gathering of the Juggalos
Thursday, August 9th, 2012
By the time I was making my way out of bed after a solid 3 1/3 hours of sleep (yep...welcome to the Gathering...), it seemed like I was the last person asleep in the whole campground! People were already wide awake and blasting their stereos or huffing their nitrous, which is what it seemed like our neighbors did at all hours of the day and night. The omnipresent "Pssshhhhhhh" of the tank ended up being one of those sounds that stuck with us all well after we were home. One of the first things I did was to check my mailbox for mail, and I found tons of stuff inside the mailbox!
I had lots of promo postcards, some hatchetman stickers, some wet wipes, some matches, a balloon (probably from the neighbors!) and some other randomness. It was TOO FUN to come back to camp and see that people had been playing with the mailbox and leaving us stuff!
My first stop of the day was for another shower, and Jamie and Chris decided to make the walk with me.
For some reason, Jamie decided to wear his socks up there, which ended up being completely crusty and dirty by the time we got there.
This of course, made him yell "Fuck these socks!!" over and over, which ended up being hilarious! I had no wait for my shower, but they guys ended up waiting about an hour for theirs! Yikes!! But once they were back at the camp, Jamie took off the socks and tossed them off into the woods, never to be seen again :-)
As I sat and admired my mailbox gifts from my fam, a guy saw the mailbox, walked by a little bit, then scurried back and left something unmentionable inside it. We thanked him, which made him stop and chat with us for a while. His name was Barnyard, and eventually he ended up giving me a little rose that was made out of a piece of a bandana.
It was too cute! He also had a large rose that was made out of lots of strips of bandanas, which was awesome too. He was a cool dude, and ended up stopping by camp quite a few times over the course of the week to chill with us.
Once Barnyard went on his way, it was just about time for me to make my way over to the seminar tent for Blaze's seminar. I missed his seminar last year, but since there wasn't much of anything else going on during that time this year, I figured I'd peep it out and see what he had to say. Moonshine wanted to go with me, so we headed off in that direction together. On the way, I decided that I wanted some real food, so I stopped at the food stand closest to second stage and got a chicken gyro.
When we arrived at the seminar tent, I made quick work of my gyro and it was delicious! It was packed with probably two chicken breasts worth of chicken, with cheese, tomatoes and tzatziki sauce. But since it was so big, I did end up dropping a fair amount of it all over the floor...oops :-) We'd arrived around an hour early for the seminar, and since we couldn't find two seats together, I ended up sitting on the left side, while Moonshine found a spot near the front on the right. As everyone was taking their seats, I noticed that Boondox and his girl walked in and found seats. I thought that was really awesome of him to come out and support one of his homies, and not call attention to himself at all. Of course, as he came in, someone yelled out "BOONDOX!!" and everyone applauded for him, but he just kind of shrugged it off and kept on going, just like he was one of us (which he is, really). I ran across him a few times through the week, and each time he was just chillin' as Juggalo Dave, and hanging with his fam. As if I didn't respect him enough already, that really showed me that he walks the walk of being a Juggalo at heart, and not just an artist playing for Juggalos.
When it was time for the seminar to start, Blaze started out by talking about his new album that would be coming out soon, "A Day in the Life." Once he started taking questions, he addressed his Dub Sack video which still has not been released, a Juggalo fantasy football league he's working on and lots of other stuff. It was a lot of fun, and he actually gave us a lot of information. One bummer though was that the previous night during Dark Lotus, I had bumped my camera lens into someone near me in the crowd and had knocked my zoom lens out of alignment. This meant that sometimes I was able to zoom in, but sometimes I would get zoom errors or the camera wouldn't focus correctly. So I ended up with a lot of blurry photos for the rest of the week, including during Blaze's seminar. Dangit.
Once Blaze was done, I found Moonshine and moved a chair up closer to him so I could sit closer for the ABK seminar, which was going to include Moonshine handing out beer to everyone. When I found him, he was with the two girls from Alabama that show up at Killa's shows in Nashville, so I pulled my chair up to sit with them. Once I had my chair in place, I said that I was going to jump over to the autograph tent and see if I could find anyone willing to get some Twiztid and DJ Clay autographs for me. The plan was to hand off my photos that I've taken to someone at the front of the line, and pay them $10 a piece to get them signed.
When I got there, I went up to the front and found a young couple who were willing to get the autographs for me. Once they went inside the tent, I found a shady spot near the ATMs and waited. And waited and waited and waited for about half an hour. Finally I started chatting with a guy who was there in the shade with me. He said that he was also waiting for people in the autograph line, and they had gone in the tent about 45 minutes before I got there, and they still weren't out yet. Yikes! So I went up to a security guard at the exit of the tent and asked how long it was taking for people to come out once they went inside. Only then did I realize that there were switchbacks inside the tent, and more than an hour wait once they entered! The security guard said he didn't know how long it was taking, but that he'd seen the same girl standing in the same spot without moving for half an hour. So since I couldn't get in to get the pictures back, I just decided to take a loss on it. I can always reprint the pictures if I have another chance to meet them, and another silver Sharpie costs like $1, so it was no big deal really.
With my one and only autograph line frustration out of the way, I went back over to the seminar tent and arrived just a few minutes before 4:00. At 4:20 (get it?), ABK took the stage and started his seminar.
For some reason he asked that the overhead music be kept on while he was answering questions, which made it very hard to hear him since I was sitting right in front of the speaker. Moonshine was on stage, but was pretty much just standing there doing nothing just yet. After about half an hour of questions, I raised my hand, and Upchuck made his way over to me. I was just about to ask Killa if I could have a beer when he decided that he'd had enough with the questions and wanted to start handing out the beer haha.
So Moonshine started cracking the beers open and pouring them at arm's length into people's mouths below him.
A few people got full cans, but most people got the beer poured directly onto them! After a while, I got up and moved closer so I could get some better pictures of him. Since all that was going on at that point was some kind of Jager drinking contest that Killa was doing, I decided to leave and head back to camp for a bit.
Along the way, I decided to drop back by the autograph tent briefly to see if the couple I'd given the photos to were hanging around, or if they'd left them with a security guard by chance. Sure enough, they were nowhere to be found, and the security guard didn't know anything about it. Oh well. During the walk back to camp, I spotted two friends that I'd met after last year's Gathering, so we paused for a few minutes to catch up with each other. After a while, we bid each other farewell and I kept walking.
Once I made my way back to my camp, the plan was to chill for a bit before the main stage acts started. When I got to our path, I saw that there was a barricade of pallets and large rocks blocking the entire path. Once I got around it, I stopped at the guys camp across from us and asked what was up with the barricade. They all kind of quietly laughed and said that they'd set it up just to see how people would react to it! So I took a seat with them and sat back and watched as well.
Not long after I sat down, someone came by in a car and plowed straight through the barricade at full speed! That knocked down most of it, but it was still standing enough that a golf cart couldn't get over it.
So eventually a golf cart full of people drove up and couldn't get around it. But instead of everyone getting out and moving the pallets, someone loudly said "Eh, we've got beer and weed. Fuck it!" And they ended up sitting there for 20 more minutes without moving an inch! hahaha That was a true Juggalo reaction if I've ever seen one. Eventually a security guard came by and got mad that there was stuff blocking the path, so everyone got out and moved the stuff out of the road, then moved on.
When I finally sat down at my camp, I decided to grab one of my "tortilla stuffers" entrees and have dinner before heading for main stage. It was ok, but was really dry even after I added water to it. I ate about half and gave the rest to Jamie, who agreed that it was too dry. When I was done, I reminded Jamie that I still had the luchador mask and Batman cape, so he quickly grabbed both of them and put them on!
I packed up a cooler full of some drinks, then I as well as Jamie, Moonshine and all four guys from across the road (who we nicknamed Lunchbox, Tater Chip, Thermos and Ray Charles) grabbed our chairs and headed out for the night.
Before the schedule for the Gathering was even released, I had thought to myself that it would be nice if there was a main stage evening where I didn't really care about any of the performers, so I could just grab my chair and camp out in the back and drink all night. So when I noticed that Thursday night featured ABK and a whole bunch of other people that I didn't care about, I knew that that was my night! I have love for days for Killa, but I've seen him four times in Nashville, so I don't really feel the need to fight for a good spot for his Gathering sets. So I was quite excited to just have a night to myself, where I could have some drinks and be nice and relaxed, and watch the music from afar.
During the walk to main stage, Jamie was the center of attention with the mask and cape. And we kept losing the guys from across the street since he kept stopping, so we eventually just parted ways for the evening. As we passed Spazmatic, I spotted a guy in a Batman mask and underwear, and flagged down Jamie so I could get a picture of them together.
But when we got closer, the guy had a huge fake phallus hanging out of the front of his underwear! OMG hahaha It was too funny looking! And Jamie was a great sport about getting his picture made with the guy!
When we finally pulled ourselves away, we headed over to the far right side of the main stage field, and set up our chairs not far from the river.
After some pics of our luchador Batman gazing thoughtfully at the river, Moonshine and I hunkered down for the night while Jamie continued to wander around. I started off the evening with a beer, and soon Fear Factory was taking the stage.
Moonshine and I both thought they pretty much sucked, so we both turned our efforts to consuming the beverages we'd brought haha
Moonshine is not impressed with Fear Factory
Just chillin' by the river
Pretty soon, Jumpsteady came out and announced that both The Game and DMX has no-showed for their sets that night, and that they were going to move Soulfly up to the main stage. Since I didn't care much at all about Soulfly, it gave me even that much MORE of a chance to concentrate on the beer, margarita and gummy bear vodka and Sprite that I'd brought in my cooler :-)
I think this was Soulfly...not sure
By the time they were about halfway through their set, I was feeling really good, so I decided to take a walk and ride the double Ferris wheel. I left Moonshine to watch my chair, grabbed a bottle of my gummy bear vodka and Sprite, and headed out.
Passed out! Watch out for Juggalo tippers!
When I got to the Ferris wheel, the line was long, but since I didn't have anything else to do right then, I went ahead and got in line. I ended up talking to the three girls in line in front of me, who were from Michigan. When I got near the front of the line, I spotted Jamie sitting there in a chair, just watching the wheel go around! So I yelled over to him and asked him to ride with me, and he ran over and joined the line with me. Well, it was certainly a first for me to ride a double Ferris wheel while drunk, but I had a blast! I was laughing and giggling the entire time, and so was Jamie! It was just pure fun, which was what I was hoping for when I'd planned the night for myself.
When we were done, we decided to ride the Scrambler next. After a fairly short wait, we ended up boarding the Scrambler right at the same time that ABK was taking the stage. Yeah...it was incredibly fun to be drunk on a Scrambler and singing Superkillafragilistic at the top of my lungs :-) Once we were done with the ride, Jamie told me to follow him, and he started to charge his way through the crowd. Before I knew it, he'd led us within about 15 feet of the stage! Incredible! I never assumed that I'd be able to get that close without having staked out a spot early.
ABK's set was great like always, but the fact that I was pretty drunk made it that much more fun! I was also glad that he sang One Last Chance, which is overall one of my favorite songs anyone on Psychopathic has put out. Once he was done, we headed back to where I'd left my chair and cooler, and found Moonshine there waiting for us. We packed up our stuff and headed back to the camp for a while, with the intent of catching the Critical Bill set at 1:00am. Since it was only about 11:30pm, I grabbed a snack and chilled out until about 1:15am, when I headed back out to the Freakshow stage.
At the Freakshow stage, the area was suspiciously empty for a stage that was about to have a show there. But I parked myself at the barricade and started chatting with the two guys next to me. It turned out that they had driven to the Gathering from the eastern side of British Columbia!! They said that it was a 36 hour drive, and since one of the guys didn't drive, the other guy drove it almost straight through, only stopping for the occasional nap. Now THAT is some dedication to your fam!! They were really fun to chat with.
So by about 1:30am, it was kind of setting in that either I had missed the Critical Bill set, or they had no showed. Since Soulfly had gone on early at main stage, it's possible that they moved Critical Bill forward into Soulfly's spot. Or they could have just no showed. I actually never heard either way. But it was pretty clear that So Sick Social Club was going to be next since they had their props all over the stage, and the crew was wearing their shirts. Oh well. Since I didn't care as much about them, I bid the guys farewell and retreated back toward the tech booth.
So Sick Social club was...interesting. Not a band that I would really listen to very much, but they were reasonably entertaining I guess. After their set, I was getting really tired. I tried to hang in there because I really wanted to see Mushroomhead, but it was getting harder and harder the longer it took. So once So Sick Social Club was done, I sat down with my back against the tech booth's barricade.
Pretty soon...I woke up. hahaha I have no idea how long I had been asleep, but the sound check for Mushroomhead ended up waking me up. I stood up (because I knew that I'd fall back to sleep if I kept sitting there!), and ended up watching Mushroomhead while I was still in a sleepy fog.
They were really cool and had a great stage performance, but I was just too tired to really enjoy it like I should. I made it through probably three quarters of their set before I decided that I needed to crash right that second.
By the time I got back to my camp, it was around 3:00am...a remarkably early bedtime considering that I was at the Gathering! I was so tired that I pretty much crashed the second I got back to my bed.