Photos by Peter Larson
The FBI may consider the juggalos a gang, but love is in the air this weekend at the 15th annual Gathering of the Juggalos. A lesbian couple holds hands as Dark Lotus raps about how they “they built the Pyramids while bumpin’ this shit.” A crewmember says he saw “a couple jump in a dumpster” presumably to procreate, and near the Gypsy Row Campground, juggalos gather for a juggalo wedding.
The bride and groom, Tiffany and Dip Set, met two years ago at a Twiztid afterparty when Tiffany’s ex’s sister introduced her to Dip Set. They fucked, and shortly afterwards Dip Set moved in and started taking care of Tiffany’s two sons, whom he now sees as his own children.
On the way to the wedding, my friends and I pass campers’ beautiful pop art portraits of the allegedly pregnant celebutante Tila Tequila. For a fee, they let other juggalos throw things at Tequila. According to the paintings, all proceeds will go towards a battered women’s shelter.
The wedding takes place at the Carousel Stage. Doric columns have been set up on the stage for the wedding, and a woman with lime green hair entertains the crowd as we wait for the bride. Rows of black chairs sit in front of the stage for the bride and groom’s close juggalo family members, while other juggalos sit on bleacher stands. We join those guys on the metal stands, taking a seat by a bunch of whippits someone left on the ground earlier during the festival.
Behind me, a man wears a Survivor buff around his neck, and another dude discusses “designer amphetamines” he recently snorted that made him “see rivers.” You can either snort or drink the drug, and he recommends you drink it because snorting the drug will “burn” you.
A man hands out Faygo bottles to the crowd. “We ask that you hold your Faygo till we [bless] the bride and groom,” the woman with dyed lime green hair says. She tells the crowd Dip Set and Tiffany have been together for two years and “now they’re gonna make it official in front of the family. Can I get a whoop whoop?”
“Whoop! Whoop!” the crowd shouts.
The groom arrives first. Although some of his friends have come to the wedding without shirts, he wears black-tie attire: a tuxedo, white gloves, and a Jack Skelington top hat.
“I’m gonna try to fuck her in the butt tonight!” he tells his friends in the front row.
“Fuck her in the ass!” A random guy screams.
Shortly afterwards, police sirens go off in the background, threatening the wedding. “Fuck the police!” the girl with green hair says. Thankfully, the cops are elsewhere on the campsite, and the only person driving to the wedding is Tiffany, the bride.
A crewmember drives her golf cart, which naturally says “Just Married” on the front. She sits shotgun in a traditional white wedding gown, while her little person friend sits in the back.
The flower girl rocks sexy boots like a straight-up gangster bitch.
She hops off the vehicle and starts walking down the aisle. I notice Tiffany has no father in sight, but on the side of the stage, a man plays guitar as they walk down the aisle.
As juggalos hold each other, a man serving as a priest-like figure, who calls himself the Uncommon Officiant, appears on stage wearing a top hat. He describes the three types of families: biological families, co-workers, and “the family you make.”
“The family you make is the family you show your true self to,” he says, echoing the story of how Dip Set acts as a father figure to Tiffany’s two sons. “This is the family of the dark carnival.”
“She is swearing her titties to one man for eternity,” the priest guy says. “All love is finding someone who is as fucked up as you are!” Which is true considering some of the juggalo family members wait to spray the bride and groom at the end of the ceremony.
In honor of “men who want don’t want their balls ripped off,” the priest guy asks Tiffany to say her vows first.
“Two years ago,” she says, “I wasn’t looking for love.” She was focused on her two sons and was blown away when Dip Set moved in and became a father figure to them. “You’re the best man I’ve ever had, and I love that.”
Unlike Tiffany, Dip Set’s vows reflect his dark sense of humor: “I promise to consistently fuck you in the ass as you’re fucked-up drunk.” He assures her he will love her even when he’s “bald and has cancer,” and then starts to stutter, overcome with emotion. “I will always have my insecurities,” Dip Set admits. “You’re the shit and always will be. [Your sons] aren’t baggage in my eyes.”
The fake priest interrupts Dip Set to ask him if he will love Tiffany even when “she’s a bitch?” But he’s not being sexist, as the media portrays juggalos. The priest goes somewhere few straight dudes will go and questions if Dip Set will pleasure his babe, asking him, “Do you promise to stick your tongue wherever she asks?”
The last time I saw a straight guy express his emotions this honestly, my dad was crying because his father had died.
The priest guy then asks Tiffany if she will be down for Dip Set even when he refuses to learn how to drive and if she will “fuck his brains out on a regular basis until death do you part?”
“I do,” she says.
As she slips a ring on Dip Set’s finger, she says, “No matter how bad it seems… you’ve always got me.” Once the ring ceremony ends, the priest guy orders them to “make out in front of everyone.”
Like good juggalo horn dogs, they obey.
“It’s so beautiful, I want to puke,” one guy says to his pal before the crowd unscrews their Faygo bottles and start spraying the bride, groom, and little person as they walk down the aisle.
The couple appears to love the sticky Faygo as they strut towards the golf cart.
“Toss her salad tonight!” one guy screams at the married couple.
“Whoop! Whoop!” Tiffany screams as their golf cart bounces away through the dust.
Watching the married couple ride away in a golf cart covered in Faygo reminds me of “What a Wonderful World,” the Louis Armstrong song my Catholic school teachers forced me to sing as a kid. Of course, unlike the Catholic Church, juggalo culture actually supports family values. Since the Gathering of the Juggalos started 15 years ago, mainstream society has portrayed juggalos as the degredation of American society. The FBI has labeled the juggalos as a gang, and intellectual magazines like n+1 have described the group as violent poor people.
This presentation of people like Tiffany and Dip Set is accurate as Obama saying he will shut down Guantanamo Bay.
Sure, some juggalos do drugs, but Wall Street bankers are the biggest cokeheads around, and the government doesn't even charge them for a crime for destroying the economy. As Tiffany and Dip Set's wedding shows, the juggalos are what their liberal haters pretend to be—members of a group open-minded enough to discuss anal sex in public and to create non-traditional families that have little to do with biology. Unlike refined East Coast families who donate to the Clintons and spend $100,000 on wedding flowers, the juggalos accept non-traditional families and view the instituition of marriage as a promise between two people to take care of each other forever out of love, not out of an obligation to social climb.
If more people in this country became juggalos, America would be a better place.