On February 22-23, 2020, Megan and I attended the annual Juggalo Weekend event. It took place in in Los Angeles this year, at Pershing Square. Some folks in LA apparently didn't like the fact that a public park was rented out and closed for the weekend, but Juggalos, as is their wont, didn't give a fuck.

By 3PM a small crowd had started gathering near the west corner of the park, and there were a few hundred people in line when the gates opened at 5PM. We spent an hour or so in the slow-moving will-call line, then I had to talk my way past the ticket takers and security guards with my big camera, waterproof case, and multiple lenses. The standard policy is that pro cameras aren't allowed unless you have a press pass, but all went well this time. (I've experienced the full range of possible outcomes for that particular negotiation at ICP shows.)

I had a VIP pass for Friday night, which means you get to participate in a meet and greet with Shaggy and J before the show and then join them on stage for the Faygo Armageddon finale. The downside of a VIP ticket, however, is that the meet and greet is often running late.

As it turned out, this time I spent the entire evening waiting in various lines, and missed all of the opening acts. But I was planning on that for Friday, and Saturday I didn't have a VIP pass so I could soak up the whole show.

Violent J getting ready to launch a bottle. Less than three years ago, I first experienced a Faygo shower in front of the Lincoln Memorial, and it felt intense and bizarre. I'm now up to double digits on this experience and it feels like comfort food, predictable and pleasant. There's something cathartic about being drenched in soda pop by maniacal wicked clowns.
Violent J repping the hatchet during "My Axe"

Finally, it was time for Faygo Armageddon! Those of us with VIP passes lined up next to the stage during the designated song we were all listening for, "We Belong." If you want to understand Juggalo culture a little better, check out the lyrics.

A screen capture from a video I found on YouTube, showing me holding my Nikon D850 in a waterproof housing while photographing Faygo Armageddon. Pro tip: stand with your feet well apart and knees slightly bent, and be ready to go with the flow when things get crazy, as they always do eventually. Manual focus is your friend, because all the Faygo in the air and on your gear makes autofocus pretty much unusable. 

After a great Friday night, we slept in on Saturday and then took a walk  down to the Fashion District and around downtown LA.

Ouija Macc was an unexpected surprise on Saturday. Past years he has posted on social media about being there, but this year nobody said a word until he showed up on stage.
Veronica the facepaint maven learned her craft from working in children's theater, and I'm pretty sure this was her favorite customer of the whole weekend.
If you get your face painted, random strangers will ask if they can take a selfie with you. These guys were visiting LA and heard the noise coming from Pershing Square, so they decided to check it out. They'd heard of ICP and Juggalos before, but had never been to a show. They didn't have tickets, but they slipped $70 to a security guard and got in.
I met the famous Amish Juggalos from Indiana, Laura and Shawty.
ICP kicking off the Saturday evening finale. Saturday's set was entirely different songs from Friday, but the same high energy and interesting juxtapositions throughout.
We went back to our hotel room for Faygo Armageddon on Saturday and watched from above while drinking room service wine. What a great weekend, thanks Ninjas! See everyone at the Gathering this summer, MMFWCL!