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Man Dead of Possible Drug Overdose at Gathering of the Juggalos

gathering of the juggalos

A 24-year-old man was found dead inside a tent at the Insane Clown Posse’s 14th annual Gathering of the Juggalos. The Village Voice reports that the deceased was discovered on Friday afternoon (August 9) on the festival grounds in Cave-in-Rock, Illinois. According to a source on the scene, four other people were sleeping in the tent next to the body. An official cause of death has not yet been announced, but it’s believed the man took a fatal dose of heroin.

The man, whose name will not be released until family is notified, reportedly approached the tent two to three hours before his body was found. He told the owner of the camping tent that he was feeling sick and asked if he could have a place to sleep. The owner obliged, letting him join the four others who were already sleeping inside. At around 2 p.m., the owner (who admitted to taking mescaline earlier in the day) returned to the tent to check on the man, only to find that his body was cold.

The Voice‘s source claims that when the owner lifted the man’s arm to check his pulse, “the guy’s whole body came up — rigor mortis had begun to set in — and blood came out of his mouth.” The man’s arm also reportedly displayed track marks.

“You could tell something was wrong,” the source said. “There was no crowd, just a few people. But they had ashen faces. I overheard someone say something about a body — someone asked ‘Is there a sick kid?'” 

As EMS arrived, an MC at the nearby seminar tent started playing Insane Clown Posse over the loudspeakers and warming up the crowd for a comedy act. “It was by far the most surreal detail of the whole thing,” said the Voice‘s source. 

The Voice highlights another aspect of the Gathering: the “Drug Bridge,” which is essentially “an open air free-for-all market for recreational drugs.” Several drug overdoses have been reported during this year’s event — a police officer counted as many as 10 on Thursday, August 8, alone (via the Voice) — but none of the others were fatal. The Drug Bridge was apparently closed on August 9, following news of the 24-year-old man’s death.

According to the Southern Illinoisian newspaper, Illinois State Police are investigating. Several unrelated arrests have been made on charges involving drugs, theft, and aggravated battery. The sheriff’s department told press that the drug of choice at this year’s Gathering seems to be a designer hallucinogen called 25I-NBOMe, a.k.a. 25i or N-Bomb. 

As SPIN previously reported, the 14th annual Gathering of the Juggalos runs from August 7 through 11. The five-day showcase features performances from Insane Clown Posse, Vanilla Ice, Tech N9ne, Brotha Lynch Hung, and many more. Other activities booked include live comedy, pro-wrestling, a freak show, and carnival rides.

Three other deaths have been associated with the Gathering of the Juggalos in previous years — one drug-related, another heat-related, and one drowning. 

For an in-depth look at the festival, read Crazy Clown Time: The History of the Gathering of the Juggalos