Juggalo Weekend, a two-day celebration of Insane Clown Posse and other Psychopathic Records artists, brought a Faygo-drenched frenzy to Downtown Las Vegas February 16 and 17. Like many, we had our misconceptions of who Juggalos are. To set the record straight, we put on some clown makeup and chatted with several attendees—some who drove as many as 30 hours just to be there—about what attracts them to the music and culture.
Photos by Krystal Ramirez
David B., 30, of Reno, has been down with the clown since 2001. He’s a member of the Reno Rydaz, a local chapter of Juggalos in the area. He says being a Juggalo is all about family. “All of the fans came together and made it about love,” he says. “People get kicked down and people pick them right back up.” He, like several others at the event, wore a clown suit, which he snagged backstage at a Gathering of the Juggalos. “I went on stage at one the Gatherings. They had all the clown suits backstage, so I took this one. ICP says themselves if you can’t afford the shit, jack it.”
Las Vegas resident Dylan Illies, 27, has been an ICP fan for 13 years and has attended four Gatherings. “It’s always been about the whole family feel,” he says. “It’s always good people.”
Nicole Koviak, 35, and Chad Foster, 36, were among the most dedicated fans at the festival. They drove 30 hours from Grand Rapids, MI to be there, stopping at the Grand Canyon on the way. It was the furthest west they’ve ever been. To make the trip even more memorable, the couple decided to get married while in Las Vegas. “It’s once in a lifetime,” Foster says.
Together for eight years, the two bonded over their love for ICP and Juggalo culture. “You’re accepted no matter what you look like or what disabilities you have. You’re family no matter what,” Foster says.
Koviak also pointed out that ICP also supports various causes. On sale at the festival were T-shirts featuring an illustration of ICP done by Violent J’s daughter, with proceeds benefitting the Humane Society. “They do such great things,” Koviak says.
For Randy Gebhart, 28, of Duluth, Minnesota, Juggalo Weekend 2018 combined two of his favorite things: ICP and Sin City. “When I heard Juggalo Day was in Vegas, I was like, ‘Fuck yeah!’” says Gebhart, who was given the nickname Snow Cone because of his rainbow colored hair. He came to meet up with friends from Canada and New Jersey, who he met at previous Gatherings. “There’s a bunch of people I’ve come to know over the years from the Gatherings. You meet new people every time you come to one of these [events],” he says.
For a guy with the nickname “P Thang Crazy P,” 29-year-old Paul Anquoe, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, seems like the complete opposite of deranged. That is, of course, until you learn that “P Thang Crazy P” is short for “Practical Thang, Crazy Perspective.” He, like others we spoke to, is drawn to Juggalo culture for the familial bond. “We have the utmost respect for everybody but if you mess with us, we come clownin’,” he says. Asked to elaborate on “we come clownin’,” Anquoe replies, “It means real family, true family. If you step on our toes, we’ll step on [yours] back.”
Mary Kramer loves ICP’s music, but the 26-year-old body piercer from Brooklyn mainly made the trek to Las Vegas to see her friends. “My best friend doesn’t live down the street from me, she lives in Arizona,” she says. She met that friend at a Juggalo Day about five years ago. “It was fucking cold and she was outside in shorts. I told her she was crazy and we just started talking,” she says.
“Juggalos are so rare that when you bump into another one, there’s this acceptance that you have, like, ‘Oh, you’re part of this weird group too?’ Events like these are the times I can link back with my friends and pick up like we’re family,” she says.
Jesse Quinlog, 40, has been a fan of ICP for 20 years. When he found out the Juggalo Weekend would be held in Las Vegas, he knew he had to make the 10-hour drive from Denver. Like so many others, Quinlog would occasionally shout out the Juggalo call of “Whoop whoop!” Others in ear shot would shout it back, like a pack of wolves howling at the moon. “You can be in Walmart and hear a ‘Whoop whoop’ and you know they’re clowning around,” he says.
Nipple earned her nickname after getting into a fight in high school. “I got my ass beat and the only thing I knew how to do was bite, so I bit her tit and she had to get stitches. Ever since then they called me Nipple,” the now 28-year-old from Detroit says. Nipple’s since straightened out her act. She joined the military and now works as a helicopter mechanic. But she’s got a greater mission: “People think we’re lazy slobs. I want to show people that Juggalos come in all shapes and sizes.”
A bodybuilder, Nipple often wears a hat with #LiftingLette emblazoned on it in Old English. She plans to enter the Miss Juggalette competition at this year’s Gathering to show off her strength. “I’m gonna try to lift a judge or something,” she says.
Kathy and Pat, both 58, were vacationing from South Daytona, Florida when they came across the marquee at Backstage Bar & Billiards for Juggalo Weekend. Pat had been familiar with ICP because they would play concerts on Halloween in Indianapolis, where he previously lived, but never got a chance to go. “They had a huge haunted house. It just went crazy. The one year I was gonna go, they canceled, so I wanted to make sure I got here tonight,” he says.
It took Kathy very little convincing to get on board. “I showed her a video (of ICP) and she was in,” Pat says.
To sweeten the deal, the pair got free tickets by attending a timeshare presentation.
More portraits from Juggalo Weekend 2018. To read about our experience at the festival, click here.