Don't Worry, Ohio Police Are Ready for Insane Clown Posse's Music Fest

The Gathering of the Juggalos makes its Ohio debut this year after a troubled history

With thousands of Juggalos descending upon Ohio's Legend Valley for Insane Clown Posse's annual music festival -- The Gathering of the Juggalos finds a new home near the tiny town of Thornville, Ohio, this year -- locals will experience a never-before-seen deluge of Faygo and face paint this weekend.

Although most music festivals are treated as an opportunity to get wild and let it all hang out, the Gathering takes things to another level entirely. Between the ladies oil wrestling, the "Hellfire" bonfire and the "Bloodymania" annual wrestling event, the Gathering has a far more raucous reputation than nearly any other American festival.

But if the local law enforcement is sweating the four-day fest, they're certainly not letting it show. "Obviously you hear rumors and we're aware of all the past history that they have, and we'll keep that in mind as we go about our weekend," Licking County's Lt. Craig Ford tells Billboard.

The rumors that precede the Gathering aren’t entirely unjustified. Back in 2010, Tila Tequila was attacked with bottles and rocks during a musical performance (yes, she also sings). The next year, an attendee drowned while trying to swim a river, and in 2012, 10 people were arrested before the festival officially began. Last year, a 24-year-old man was found dead of a suspected overdose.

So when Insane Clown Posse decided to move their annual fest to Missouri this year, it wasn't shocking when locals "began to raise hell," according to ICP's Psychopathic Records. The Missouri outcry forced the duo to relocate the 2014 event to the more Juggalo-friendly state of Ohio.

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Unlike most national music fests, the majority of Gathering attendees camp on-site instead of getting hotel rooms. Out of several local motels we called, only one reported a significant amount of attendees staying there this weekend -- just eight of the motel's 70 rooms housed ICP fans.

Even with thousands of Juggalos camping in close quarters for four days, Lt. Ford remains confident local authorities can handle the fest. "You're going to have your fights and things like that especially when you get alcohol involved and thousands of people gathered together in one spot, but [we're expecting] nothing out of the ordinary," Ford says. "They had a concert [here] back in 2007 or 2008. I don't recall the exact amount of hands we had at that concert... but at that point we didn’t have any major issues."

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The Gathering might even be good news for some cops. The special-duty police officers working with ICP's own security personnel this weekend are mostly volunteers. "We post a sign-up sheet and whoever is interested in working the concert might sign up," Lt. Ford says. In other words, this weekend is paradise on earth for anyone who falls into the middle of the "Juggalos/Licking County police officers" Venn diagram.

Ford, however, is not one of them. "I don't listen to it in my personal life, but I've heard some of their songs," he says. "I wouldn't say I enjoyed it."


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