It was the first morning of the 18th annual Gathering of the Juggalos, held in Oklahoma City for the first time, and a chopper from local news channel KOCO was hovering over Lost Lakes Entertainment Complex, an amphitheater and water park where the festival was taking place. “We’re covering the Insane Clown Posse concert venue,” an unidentified correspondent reported to Facebook Live, where footage of placid campers, trailers and Juggalos waiting for one-pound burritos streamed.
“There’s tents set up,” the KOCO guide noted helpfully. “There’s some slides,” he continued, seemingly unsure whether he was narrating a Not in My Backyard stakeout or an infomercial. “They’re pretty intense.” This went on for more than 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the split-screen Facebook feed, a real-time poll hinted at something more foreboding: “Are you concerned about the Juggalos’ Gathering?” A link in the caption suggested maybe you should be: “See what law enforcement officials have to say.”
Should you be reading this from the relative sanctuary of a blue state, or any other place where the major cultural centers aren’t Walmarts or mega-churches, it’s easy to forget that any grown adult still feels “concerned” about Insane Clown Posse loyalists gathering in a dilapidated campground. But there are still population clusters in this broken nation that are threatened by the idea of lost kids deriving a sense of joy and inclusion from scrubby costumes, colorfully crude vernacular and white Midwestern rapping. And Oklahoma City is one of them.
In its previous 17 years, the Gathering has taken place in seven locations and three states…
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