For 13 years, Detroit's prodigal evil carnies Insane Clown Posse have held the Gathering of the Juggalos, a days-long outdoor music fete that fits neatly into their hyperdrive circus world as well as provides a home for their fiercely loyal fans who refer to themselves as "family." This year's lucky numbered fest planted carnival rides, extreme wrestling, naked-lady pageants, fairly gross Porta Potties, and an abundance of positive vibes and free hugs in the rolling hills of Cave-in-Rock, Illinois, where around 10,000 extremely psyched Juggalos camped out for four days and indulged in all the treats the festival had to offer, "whoop whoop"-ing all the while. Though ICP is best known for its high-concept albums, wild shows, and government controversy (see this week's FBI lawsuit story), they don't get enough credit for one thing that's defined them their entire career: they're huge students and fans of hip-hop. They increasingly program the Gathering with some of the best current and legacy acts in rap — including their own unparalleled, wildly entertaining live show. This year was the capper — undoubtedly the best rap programming of any summer festival all year, and the closest thing to a corporate presence was Faygo, that Michigan-grown, sticky-sweet mom-and-pop soda company revered by ICP. If you ended up with more in your hair than you did in your mouth, you were doing it right. JULIANNE ESCOBEDO SHEPHERD
• Read our definitive history of the Gathering of the Juggalos here!
• Check out our teary, on-the-ground coverage of ICP's announcement that they may be suing the FBI!