Camping with Juggalos: Ten must-have items

Daniel Hill and Drew Ailes are covering the Gathering of the Juggalos in Cave-in-Rock, Illinois for our sister publication, The Riverfront Times. We hope to see them again!

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Nate "Igor" Smith
A juggalo photographed on Wednesday, the first day of The Gathering, 2013.

At some point in your life, you may find yourself sitting in a minivan in rural Illinois, stressed out as you wear a metal butcher knife pendant around your neck. Your ankles are covered in mysterious goo, and all of your beer is warm. This can only mean one thing...

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You're at The Gathering of the Juggalos, and you're a moron. Not because you decided to go in the first place, but because you didn't put any thought into it until an hour before you had to leave. Just in case this ever happens to you, here are ten things you should and shouldn't bring to The Gathering of the Juggalos.

To Bring:

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Nate "Igor" Smith

10. Stupid Transporation
If you're at the Gathering, chances are your body has been malformed from years of consuming alcohol and fast food. You need a way to get around the huge site other than the boots you salvaged from the thrift store that you thought were a good deal even though there was a hole in the sole. While The Gathering of the Juggalos website states that motorized vehicles are forbidden, no one actually seems to care. Even if you hit a pedestrian. There seem to be golf carts to rent (somewhere), but you may be better off being a shirtless asshole zipping around on a moped or gas-powered dirt-bike.

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Nate "Igor" Smith

9. Garbage Snacks
The food at The Gathering is priced about how you'd expect at any festival event. You can buy a barely inedible cheesesteak from one of the brightly lit trailers staffed by carney families for $8, or you can do the smart thing and pack your own. As your health obviously isn't a concern if you're here, do the right thing and do your grocery shopping like a seven year old with a license to buy beer. Dump a can of tuna fish into a bag of Doritos and weep quietly when you find yourself licking the empty bag later.

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Nate "Igor" Smith

8. Cigarettes and Over-The-Counter Drugs
Wandering around with heartburn from eating two pounds of fried chicken on a stick is no fun. Unfortunately, the simple things we take for granted in our medicine cabinets are nowhere to be found at the fest. While there is a vibrant outdoor economy a la "Bartertown" in Mad Max 2, the only place where you can get smokes or something to ease your aching body seems to be found at a small tent stocked with overpriced goods. A pack of cigarettes will set you back $11 and a small thing of baby powder to clear up the confusing, sweaty mess that has become your genitals costs $5.

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Nate "Igor" Smith

7. A Watchful Eye
The chubby dude with the septum piercing won't stop staring at you. You knocked over the cooler of the sweaty guy whose face looks like a smashed blobfish. Someone in a dark tent is asking you a question about "The Lotus," and you didn't reply with "whoop whoop" right away. The only people working security seem like they were picked up hitchhiking near a prison and given a neon green shirt. Point is, watch your back.


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