(2013 Gathering M.C. Greg Valentine, hopeful warning attendees to steer clear of the bad acid)

Earlier today, the Riverfront Times’ Daniel Hill reported a 24-year-old man had suffered an fatal drug overdose at the 14th Annual Gathering Of The Juggalos in Cave Rock, IL. The oft ridiculed festival —  generally an easy target for those who look forward to attending music fests with arguably worse lineups — has experienced fatalities before, but this one comes just a few hours after Hill himself predicted a tragedy (“danger lurks around every corner. Though I truly believe that these people don’t explicitly mean harm to anyone (even press dorks like us), this does all amount to a recipe for potential disaster. There is very nearly a complete lack of supervision, coupled with reckless intoxication and a pervasive ‘fuck everything’ attitude…no seriously, I read that on a shirt this guy was wearing”)

Tales of the “drug bridge” at the Gathering are well known. Actually walking across the thing is a whole different story, though. Every single drug that I have ever heard of is represented, in large quantities. Salesmen peddle their wares loudly to all who walk by — at 5 a.m. we were offered “cocaine for breakfast” by a heavy-set fella still stationed at his post. Many dealers not on the bridge wander around with megaphones, loudly advertising whatever mind-altering substance it is that they have to offer. And one of the very first things we witnessed upon arrival was an abundance of individuals wandering the grounds double-fisting balloons of nitrous oxide. Still, I have seen surprisingly few people passed out face-down in the mud. I guess Juggalos have a knack for handling their chemicals. (Although we were told by a police officer that there had been ten overdoses on acid in the first day — apparently some bad stuff is going around.)