Tuesday, August 7th through Monday, August 13th, 2012
The 13th Annual Gathering of the Juggalos
Sunday, August 12th, 2012
By the time I got up on Sunday morning, a huge percentage of the people who had attended the Gathering had already packed up and left. All of the guys across the street from us were gone, as well as the guys with the nitrous tanks next door. My plan was to stay until the bitter end since I had taken Monday off work, so I was in no hurry to pack up anything just yet. Everyone except Pamela and Nick was already up and around, so we all hung around and enjoyed our last morning together. Chris had already mentioned wanting to leave on Sunday, and Ray agreed, so we had some decisions to make about transportation home for everyone.
By the time that Pamela and Nick were up, they agreed that they wanted to go ahead and leave for home that day, and that I would drive Jamie and Krissi home the next day. That made sense to me since the four of them had kids that they needed to get home to, as well as that a few of them were starting to get sick. In that regard, I was still going strong. I had packed some drinks that were high in vitamin C, and had been taking my Zicam mouth spray at least once or twice a day every day. I had a chronically hoarse voice every morning from all the screaming and singing every day, but I wasn't getting sick at all.
Nothing much was going on during the day, so we all just hung around the camp and tried to clean up as best we could. This year, there were lots of trash trucks driving around, and some were even handing out bags so people could bag up their trash to be collected. We had done pretty well with either bagging our own, or putting it in the trash can that was on the corner. But we took some bags, and made good use of them to clean up what we could.
A couple of campsites down from us, someone was trying to leave, but their car battery was dead. Well, I know exactly how that feels because my battery died last year and I needed a jump, so I definitely wanted to see if I could help. I pulled my car out, and parked the nose of my car up to the nose of theirs. Chris came over and hooked up my jumper cables to both cars, and we were able to get the other car started with no issue. They were grateful for the help, and I was grateful that I could give it and pay forward what was done for me last year. Every day this year, I'd been starting my car and letting it run for 10 or 15 minutes, so I never had any battery issues this year.
When I finally decided to head for the shower, I ended up noticing all the strange stains all over me from the blue Faygo I'd been doused in the night before!
Eventhough I had wiped off the Faygo itself, the places where it had dripped down my legs now had blue stains that looked like long veins running down them, and my hands looked like zombie hands! It was pretty gross, so I definitely wanted to get my shower so I could get clean! When I got there, I was just about the only person in the shower building, and was in and out relatively quickly.
Back at camp, I got changed, and helped everyone break down the rest of camp so they could pack up. The guys broke down the canopy that had been over our picnic table, while the rest of us threw away the leftover food, trash, cans and stuff like that had accumulated all over the camp.
I also ended up finding quite a few nice things in my mailbox on this day...a hat that had been knitted by someone, a ring, some pop tarts, a cheese danish and a Swisher Sweets cigar wrap.
Some last minute antics with the zombie hand
Moonshine and Ray
Me and Ray
Check out the zombie hand hanging in mid air near the van! hahaha
By about 4:00pm, Pamela, Nick, Chris and Ray were all packed up and ready to head for home. After some last minute shoving of some stuff into the van, and after saying our goodbyes, they rolled out and headed off for Nashville. Shortly after, Moonshine and Jamie went their own way, and Krissi had gone her way earlier in the day, so I was left to have some fun on my own. The only thing going on at that point was the Beach Boy BBQ Bash with the Michael Jackson cover band, so I decided to wander over there and check it out.
On the way, I decided to make a pass by the merch booth again and see about buying a backpack. Moonshine had showed up the previous day with the most awesome backpack ever...black and white joker's card drawings all over it, with a big red and black embroidered hatchetman on the front, and a hatchetman quilted into the padding against your back. It had tons of cool pockets and was a great size, so I told him that I was just going to have to copy him and get myself the same one. It was $30, and they had plenty, so I was able to grab one for myself before heading off for the BBQ Bash.
Once I arrived at the BBQ bash thing, the Michael Jackson band was just about to start playing. They were pretty good, though Michael Jackson music really isn't my thing. Violent J and Shaggy stayed up on the stage the whole time, and they both looked like they were having a great time.
I also thought it was funny that someone in the crowd was holding a large part of a car muffler up in the air and dancing around with it. I'd heard stories about a group of people who had dismantled someone's car the day before, but hadn't actually seen anyone walking around with a piece until right then. Too funny. Only Juggalos could tear apart a car without using any tools haha
Once the BBQ Bash was over, I walked around a little bit and took some pictures. It occurred to me that another ride on the double Ferris wheel would be good so I could get some semi-aerial shots during the daylight (the only other time I rode was at night, so I couldn't take any pics). When I arrived, the operator said that I needed a second person to ride with me to balance out the weight. So as soon as someone else came within speaking distance, I asked if he would ride with me, and he said that he would help me out :-)
From the top, I thought it was cool to see the main stage field...completely flat, and not a single blade of grass left on it haha. Last year, since it rained one of the days, the field was chewed up from all the people walking in the mud, and it was full of cans, bottles and all kinds of other nastiness. I had wondered how they cleaned up all that last year since once the mud dried, you had all kinds of trash buried in the dirt! Who knows. But luckily this year didn't have that same problem.
When I was done, I headed back to camp for a while, and found Moonshine there hanging out with the couple that was camped directly across from us. After a few minutes of chatting, I pulled my chair over and sat with them as well. The couple (y'know, I never asked for their names) were grilling some sausages and hot dogs, and they offered me one but I declined. But once the girl mentioned that they had some French onion dip, I said that we had some leftover chips, so we combined our efforts and made a tasty snack! It started to drizzle a little while we were there hanging with them, but luckily it passed quickly so we didn't really get wet.
The only two things going on for the rest of the night were Bloodymania and the Deadly Medley. So a little before 8:00pm, the four of us plus Jamie grabbed our chairs and walked off toward the wrestling ring. Of course, when we arrived, most people who were still in the campground were there waiting for the show to start. But even at that, there was plenty of room to set up the chairs. So we found some spots, and soon the wrestling started.
Now, I don't care a single bit about wrestling. I tried to watch it last year and just found it to be too ridiculous to watch, and ended up choosing sleep over it. But this year, there as literally NOTHING else going on during that time frame. So pretty much, if I wanted to be entertained, the only option I had was the wrestling. During the first round, I think it was the JCW tryouts people...which pretty much meant that it was just a bunch of people all in the ring at once, doing whatever. It was dumb. So I decided to run grab some dinner instead of just sit there through it.
I walked up to the pizza place and grabbed two slices for dinner, then stopped by Spazmatic for a drink. Last year, Spazmatic was out of everything except cola and root beer by Saturday (after opening on Thursday), but this year they had three or four choices, and it was Sunday night (after opening on Wednesday). Good show. So I got a can of Twist and headed back to my chair. The same dumb mess was going on as before I left, so I just ate and barely watched it.
To sum up...I didn't really pay attention to any of the rest of the wrestling. In fact, the most interesting part of the whole event was a fight that broke out. One guy was really being drunk and belligerent, and security was called to try and subdue him. Well the guy started to fight back against the security guards, and one of the guards took a swing at the guy to make him calm down. Well then the guy's friends all jumped up and started to fight the security guards! They were really close to us, so we all ended up quickly jumping up and moving our chairs back away from the fight, and the brawl moved off to the left of where we were. After a few minutes, the fight somehow worked it's way back to the right, so we had to jump up and move our chairs again haha. Eventually you could tell that the guy's friends were taking over and walking him away from everything to calm him down, so everything went back to normal.
At some point during the wrestling, Violent J came out and said that Corporal Robinson was no longer associated with Psychopathic or JCW, so his round against Rude Boy wouldn't be happening that night.
Then there was one last "main event" round, but heck if I can tell you who it was between, or who won. I was just ready for it to be over so we could move on to the Deadly Medley. I also noticed while I was sitting there that I was starting to have a very faint sore throat emerge, so I was hoping that it wouldn't get worse and develop into actually being sick.
Our awesome neighbors, enjoying some vodka gummy bears
This was the dude who shared his gummy bears with everyone!
Finally they were done, and we made our way back through the woods and back to our campsites. There was about an hour of downtime before Deadly Medley, which was spent like most of the rest of the day...just hanging around the camp and relaxing. As performers started to arrive for the Deadly Medley, there was a big ramp up of security in the area right behind the barricade, and they were making everyone go the long way around...through the path to the right of our campsite, then left, down the hill and left again. It wasn't a terribly long walk, but it was definitely annoying to not be able to just walk straight out to the stage.
As we arrived, we stuck together for a bit, but eventually Moonshine decided to move back and toward the center, while I stayed closer and to the left, near the end of the runway. I ended up standing right behind two guys who had brought their chairs, which meant that I had a great view most of the time, but also had to deal with people pushing their way through the crowd, then trying to push in front of me, only to see that they couldn't get in front of me. Happened through the whole show. Ugh. And for the last performance of the year, it started almost exactly on time at midnight.
For the Deadly Medley, they started out by bringing out everyone on the label one by one (well everyone except Vanilla Ice, who was suspiciously absent through the entire Gathering). After a big intro, the acts started to perform one by one, with there being some overlap sometimes with two artists onstage at once. I thought it was odd that Jumpsteady was included with everyone else, since he hasn't released an album in years and isn't even technically signed. But that's cool. Before this, I didn't realize that Juggalos didn't really care for Cold 187, but each time he came out, he had lots of stuff thrown at him...so much that other people had to come out and sweep off the stage after he was done with each song! I also thought it was funny that Shaggy forgot part of his lines when they were singing We Belong! But he just threw his hands up and laughed, and kept going once they got to a part he remembered haha Oh, and there was one part when two guys had jumped up on the edge of the stage, and Madrox came up from behind them and straight shoved one of the guys off and made him fall. It was hilarious!
Madrox sweeps off the stage after Cold 187 performed
Toward the end of the Deadly Medley, they started to bring out everyone again all at once, and started to throw t-shirts into the crowd. And somehow the very first shirt, which was thrown by Madrox, landed directly in my hand!! How awesome!! So I kept a death grip on it, and tucked it securely under my arm until the performance was over. During this time, they had DJ Clay come out and throw some t-shirts too. Then I was like...man, this would have been a primo opportunity for everyone to have sang Kept Grinding. MAN that would have been great had they ended with that song! But instead, everyone began to chant "We will never die alone! Juggalos will carry on! Swing our hatchets if we must! Each and every one of us!" over and over for probably 3 or 4 minutes at least while they finished throwing out the shirts.
At the very end, as everyone left the stage, Violent J stayed behind and thanked everyone, then yelled "I love my fammmmlaaaaay" a few times.
And then it was over :-(
Since I'd lost track of Moonshine, I didn't attempt to find him right then in the crowd, and walked the long way back to the camp by myself. Along the way, I started to chat with a couple who was asking what kind of shirt it was that I'd caught. So I opened it up and saw that it was a 3X Gathering shirt. How funny...I'd caught a 3X Gathering shirt at the ICP show I went to last year, and wore that both years at the Gathering as I would walk back to camp after my shower in the morning. So now I have a new shirt that I can wear next year :-)
Once I got as far as my camp, we lingered and talked a little more, and I realized that they were the couple that I'd waited in the autograph line with last year when Twiztid bailed on us! They didn't remember me, but I remembered them because I have a photo of them making a fire while we waited. It turned out that their camp was just up the hill from ours. Would have been cool to have chatted with them earlier in the week so we could have hung out some.
Moonshine arrived at camp soon after I did, and said that he was going to sleep in his truck that night, and leave as soon as he woke up. He'd broken down most of his part of camp earlier in the day, so all he had to do was throw a few last minute things in the back and go to sleep. I checked my mailbox for the last time, and found four firecrackers inside. I guess you could say the mailbox went out with a BANG! Ba-dum-bum! Anyway, the remaining ones of us hung around for a while in the dark (we only had a little bit of tiki torch oil, and it burned out before Deadly Medley) and tried to keep the party going as long as we could. But eventually we all said our goodnights and headed off to bed one last time.