The following is an excerpt from Daniel Cronin's introduction to his new photography book, The Gathering of the Juggalos. The book examines band Insane Clown Posse's fan base, also known as "Juggalos." Every year, Juggalos meet up at an event called "The Gathering." Cronin's photos are from this event.
It all started in a parking lot outside of a convention center in Portland, Oregon, where Insane Clown Posse were performing. During the summer of 2010, I headed there with my camera to see what it was all about and shot twenty portraits of Juggalos. One of them, named Dave, mentioned that I should go to the Gathering and take photographs there. I followed his advice and, five months later, found myself driving down gravel roads in southern Illinois.
The sense of community at the Gathering is overwhelming. It’s really easy to get swept up in the energy of so many people who are excited to be in the same place together. At some point, it really isn’t about the music anymore; it is about the culture and camaraderie. People come here just for the sake of the atmosphere, which is what sets it apart from other music festivals in the United States.
With three Gatherings under my belt, I have developed the utmost respect for Juggalos. I see them as fans that have supported, added to, and nurtured this DIY culture created by Insane Clown Posse. Unapologetic and fiercely loyal to each other, they will welcome you with open arms—as long as you’re not around to judge or poke fun.
Every year, at some point during the festival while I’m setting up a shot, I hear someone yell out, “Hey! Camera man!” It’s like clockwork. At the 2012 Gathering I looked up from under my dark cloth to find Dave walking toward me, all smiles. He shouted, “I’m glad you made it back out for another year!”