Insane Clown Posse move festival to Missouri

ST. LOUIS — An annual festival headlined by the rap-metal group Insane Clown Posse will be staged at a Missouri farm’s campground after seven years in southern 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, on a 300-acre farm near the Osage River that promoters labelled Harlequin Park, offers a similar intimacy the gatherers enjoyed at Hogrock but has amenities the Illinois location lacked, including cellphone reception and nearby hotels and shops, the promoters said.

Psychopathic Records spokesman Jason Webber said, “Kaiser is perfect” for the four-day event in August.

“Juggalos can expect something very special for our 15th annual family reunion,” Webber wrote in an email Thursday to The Associated Press.

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

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, Ill., 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, said he has heard the Juggalos “do a lot of drugs, fighting, stealing.” But he brushed off worries that the event bound for his turf, where the motorcycle club Hell’s Angels have convened twice before, might be a burden.

“If you’re looking for trouble, you’ll find trouble. We don’t want no trouble here whatsoever, and I’m sure they don’t, either,” Abbott said. “We want them to obey the laws and have a good time.”

Abbott may have some homework to do. He asked this reporter if the festival would feature Willie Nelson-style music.

“I’d like to meet the main man (organizing the festival) and talk to him,” he said.

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