Juggalos Gather Online to Celebrate the Insane Clown Posse, But Is it a Real 'Gathering?'

Like many concerts and music festivals this year, horrorcore pioneers the Insane Clown Posse were required to postpone the 2020 edition of their annual festival The Gathering of the Juggalos, due to COVID-19.

The band tweeted a lengthy explanation in April, explaining that they did not want to risk the lives of any Juggalos or Juggalettes by hosting The Gathering, while the coronavirus pandemic was still going on. Fortunately, fans have taken matters into their own hands and opted to hold an unofficial virtual Gathering so fans can experience the festival online, from the safety of their own homes.

Launching on August 5 at noon and running until August 8, fans can tune in on Roblox to participate in the virtual gathering. The map will have a replica of the site of the physical Gathering Nelson Lodges Quarry Park. Fans will also be able to see avatars of the band performing onstage. They can hop onstage with Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J and spray other players down with Faygo, per Juggalo tradition. Players will also be able to ride carnival rides and play games, including two Juggalo themed video games: Jump Into the Light: Shangri-Lai and Who Can Survive Hell's Pit. In a press release, the festival's organizer said that "most non-playable characters will be
running around naked," which sounds somewhat par for the course from Gatherings past. He also encouraged people to play their own ICP playlists, because he couldn't include the music due to copyright restrictions.

The online Gathering's organizer Justin Schwimmer told Newsweek that he tried to replicate what ICP had already done. "All the activities you can do [at the Gathering], you can do within the game itself, going live, play arcades, stuff like that. I really tried to recreate what [ICP] already created within their concerts," he said.

Schwimmer explained why he wanted to organize this event. "The platform was already established so it made it easier for me to develop an MMO style game for everybody to enjoy, and essentially it was just something for us to do as fans to get together. That was the premise of it, was just see if everybody wants to hangout in one place, play a bunch of video games while listening to ICP music," he said.

While it's nice to have the virtual option, it surely won't be quite the same as any of the past Gatherings that have taken place over the last 20 years. Still, this doesn't seem to deter Juggalos from thinking an independent fan event will suffice. Matt Troupe is a Juggalo who's attended the festival four times. "[O]nce I pass those gates I'm home mentally emotionally spiritually," he wrote to Newsweek in a Facebook message.

Even though separated by COVID, Troupe said that an online fan-organized Gathering would still count, because the Gathering is about more than just being an ICP-organized festival. "I feel any and all mini online virtual [G]atherings count as a [G]athering. Cause despite the odds we found ways to still gather no matter how big or small," he wrote. "Cause when [J]uggalos get together it's a [G]ather[ing]."

Comedian Tommy Carolan, who is not a Juggalo, but has been to the Gathering twice, said that while the idea of an online game doesn't sound like something he'd be interested in, he still thinks that it could be enjoyable for Juggalos and non-Juggalos alike. "I'm not much of a gamer so it doesn't appeal much to me. I'm sure the [J]uggalos who made it together had a great time. Juggalos will probably have a good time interacting on a platform like this, non [J]uggalos might enjoy a glimpse into how they interact with each other," he wrote.

While the virtual Gathering has support from both fans and past attendees, Troupe also suggested, in a message, that organizers add Zoom calls where Juggalos can chat with each other for the online option. When asked if he'd consider adding Zoom calls to the game, Schwimmer said he'd think about it. "I think so. Even though it starts tomorrow, we're going to probably be adding onto the software to make the game a little bit more interesting through the 8th," he said. "We'd like to incorporate that, yeah."

The online Gathering begins at noon in Roblox. Whoop whoop.

Insane Clown Posse
Joseph Utsler, aka Shaggy 2 Dope, and Joseph Bruce, aka Violent J, of Insane Clown Posse perform at The Regent Theatre on February 15, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. ICP fans organized their own virtual online festival to coincide with the 2020 Gathering of the Juggalos, which was postponed due to COVID-19. Getty/Michael Tullberg