Juggalos in D.C.! Juggalos in Austin! Juggalos everywhere!

Last October, in the midst of the most divisive election season in recent years, video journalists Kelly West, Eric Morgan and I decided to explore a musical phenomenon we didn’t understand at all: Juggalos.

RELATED: Insane clowns and the Juggalos among us: A story about outsider love

The Detroit horror core rap outfit Insane Clown Posse was celebrating the 20th anniversary of their third album “Riddlebox” and we set out to learn why why Austinites, our friends, neighbors and fellow music fanatics, continue to embrace one of the most mocked and maligned subcultures in modern music. (TL;DR they consider themselves a big misfit family)

Performers dressed as clowns spray down the audience with Faygo soda during the Insane Clown Posse show at Empire Control Room on Friday, October 14, 2016 in Austin, Texas.

One of the things we learned talking to local Juggalos was that they were planning a “Million Juggalo March” on Washington. Austin Doerr, owner of Texas Hatchet Cartel, a local promotion group that presents shows from artists on ICP’s Psychopathic Records roster, described the event as “kind of like the gathering but it’s not.” The plan, he said, was to stage a free concert. He said the organizers were “challenging artists to get involved, come play for free, to stand with us.”

A-LIST: Insane Clown Posse at Empire

The Juggalos are protesting the FBI’s classification of their subculture as a ““loosely organized hybrid gang.” They say the classification has led to job discrimination against Juggalos who rock the group’s signature hatchet man tattoo. They also chafe at the characterization of their culture as marred by the kind of gratuitous violence that fills ICP song lyrics.

“They didn’t build this company by doing the stuff they rap or talk about in this music,” Doerr said last year. “It’s like, you listen to the music to relieve that pressure in your life to be able to go out and do something with yourself. There’s Juggalos, you know, that are going to law school right now, that are doctors.”

Well, now it turns out that the march they planned for September 16 on the National Mall in Washington D.C. conflicts with another big rally, the pro-Trump Mother of all Rallies (M.O.A.R.). According to the M.O.A.R. website, “participants will demand protection for traditional American culture while they express their love for the United States and the America First agenda.”

Needless to say, it will be very interesting to see how this all shakes out.

And if that’s not enough Juggalo news for you, the ICP will be back in Austin a few weeks after the rally for ‘The Great Milenko’ 20 Year Tour at Empire on October 14.

Woop woop!




Author: Deborah Sengupta Stith

Deborah Sengupta Stith has been hanging out in dimly lit corners of the city soaking in the music scene for almost 20 years. Twitter: @deborific

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