ICP’s ‘Gathering of Juggalos’ returning to Nelson Ledges

After a 15-year absence, the “Gathering of the Juggalos” is returning to Nelson Ledges Quarry Park.

The annual festival organized by the rap duo Insane Clown Posse brought 8,000 to 10,000 fans to the campsite and concert venue off state Route 282 in Portage County from 2003 to 2005. It also brought out additional law enforcement concerned about destruction and other potential problems from a crowd of that size. ICP fans are known as Juggalos.

Problems were fewer than anticipated, although one concertgoer died in a fall at the 2004 gathering.

Quarry Park co-owner Kristina Kelley said all were on their best behavior the first year, but concertgoers showed less respect for the property at the second and third gatherings, and there was a mutual agreement between the park and the organizers not to come back in 2006.

Those issues were addressed with organizer Robert Bruce (brother of ICP’s Violent J, a rapper known as Jumpsteady and a former professional wrestler) when Kelley was approached about bringing the event back to the quarry Aug. 5-8.

“We respect our neighbors and our community,” Kelley said. “We don’t want to do anything that will (upset them). I trust the organizers and Rob Bruce’s ability to get that message across to their crowd. … They can express their uniqueness without being destructive.”

In a statement released Monday, ICP said, “Considered by most to be the greatest location in Gathering history, this incredible and hallowed place was the very first outdoor venue to host to the Gathering, 17 years ago. With unparalleled beauty, scenic cliffs and majestic lakeside camping — the magic of the Dark Carnival lies deep within its shaded forest depths, and in the hearts and minds of the Juggalo tribe!”

Ticket information and the lineup haven’t been announced yet, but the festival traditionally features ICP and its affiliated acts on Psychopathic Records, as well as special guests. Past performers include Rock and Roll Hall of Famers (George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic), famous rappers (Ice Cube, Ice-T, Busta Rhymes, Tone Loc) and popular comedians (Cheech & Chong, Ralphie Mae, Charlie Murphy).

Kelley said the event isn’t as big as it was when they first hosted the Gathering; that’s one of the reasons she agreed to have it come back.

“The only reason I let the conversation develop into a reality is because they said they are expecting 4,000,” she said.

Even with an added boost from its return to Nelson Ledges and venue’s regular crowd, Kelley doesn’t expect more than 5,000, which is comparable to some of their larger events in recent years.

Carpooling will be encouraged to alleviate the traffic congestion in the area. Kelley said they have other property near Nelson Ledges and are considering parking festivalgoers there and shuttling them to the event.



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