Monday, April 5, 2010

The summer of 2005

For any of you that have been on stage before, you know the feeling you get right before you go on.
Some people describe it as butterflies in their stomach, others say they feel light headed or cold. Well, on a warm June evening back in 2005 I felt something new... I feared for my life.
The show was at the 05' Gathering of Juggalos at Nelson's ledges in Garretsville Ohio.
I was part of a stage show that was going to be presented all 3 nights of the event. 
If you aren't familiar with the group ICP (Insane Clown Posse) then you can count yourself lucky. The event was their labels yearly celebration and it was packed with fans of their music and the other similar bands that also worked for the label.
When we arrived we had to wait for nearly 20 min as they tried to get three AMBULANCES out of the parking area. It seems that right before we got to the park there had been a brawl. The aftermath of this fight had two concert goers rushing to the hospital with stab wounds and dozens remained with scratches and bruises.
Heck of a first impression.
While we were setting up back stage I struck up a conversation with one of the sound crew that was helping me run some wire. He explained to me how to read the crowd. 
"If they throw things at you, that means they like you. If they throw things at you and hit you, that means they don't like you."
I looked out onto the main stage and saw it littered with broken bottles and half empty soda containers, "what did they think of the last act?" I asked gesturing to the trash littered stage.
"Someone hit the guitarist while he was too close to the front of the stage, broke a bottle on the side of his face... try not to get near the crowd if you can... and keep moving."
I shook the guys hand and thanked him for the advise before going back to setting up the props for the show.
In the end we didn't get that much thrown at us, but we also got a very positive response and applause at the end of our shows. I'm not sure how to read that.
I wish I still had video or other pictures from that weekend. It was a learning experience for sure, and I have a few other good stories to share from it for another time.
The picture ran on the front page of the local paper the Monday after the festival. I'm the guy on the right with the clown makeup on dressed like a carnival barker.
I'm thankful for the lessons I learned working in such a hostile environment, but I've never worked with that group again.

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