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Insane Clown Posse festival leaves for new site

February 6, 2014

ST. LOUIS (AP) — An annual festival headlined by the rap-metal group Insane Clown Posse will be staged in Missouri after six years in Illinois, promoters of the trouble-plagued Gathering of the Juggalos said.

Suburban Detroit-based Psychopathic Records Inc. offered few details on the shift from the Hogrock campsite near Cave-In-Rock — the gathering’s home since 2007 — to the CryBaby Campground in Kaiser, a rural community about 170 miles west of St. Louis.

The Missouri site, labeled Harlequin Park, offers “the same level of intimacy that we enjoyed at (Hogrock) for all those years but this campground also has plenty of flavor that (Hogrock) didn’t have,” including cellphone reception and nearby hotels and shops, the promoter said in an online newsletter. It said the four-day event will take place in August.

While drawing some 10,000 people each year, the Gathering of the Juggalos has developed a reputation for unruliness marked by drug overdoses, fights, arrests and deaths. Fans of Insane Clown Posse duo Joseph “Violent J” Bruce and Joseph “Shaggy 2 Dope” Utsler are known as Juggalos.

In 2010, fans pelted actress Tila Tequila with stones, bottles and feces, and a fan was stabbed. One attendee drowned the following year while trying to swim in the nearby Ohio River. And last year, a 24-year-old fan, Cory Collins of Harrisburg, Illinois, was found dead on the festival’s grounds, where dozens of attendees were arrested on drug-related and disorderly conduct charges.

The gathering was a recurring headache for Hardin County Sheriff Jerry Fricker, given the overtime his Illinois department was forced to shell out for deputies to monitor and control the crowds. Fricker has said it also was a drain on the ambulance service and the county’s small hospital. He said Juggalos often didn’t carrying identification or they gave the medical staff aliases so they couldn’t be billed for treatment.

Bill Abbott, the sheriff of Miller County where the CryBaby Campground is located, did not respond to a call from The Associated Press seeking comment Thursday.

Vendors at the last event complained they were owed more than $300,000 by promoters, and some said they had received bad checks. Psychopathic Records said it planned to make good with the vendors.

The American Civil Liberties Union, on behalf of the Insane Clown Posse duo and four fans, last month sued the U.S. Justice Department in Detroit over a 2011 FBI report depicting the Juggalos as a dangerous, “loosely organized hybrid gang.” The group argues that its fans are family, not a gang.

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