Best Fest? Gathering of Shadows VS. Gathering of the Juggalos
You, savvy music consumer, have a limited budget for your live music viewing experiences this Summer and you wanna make the most of your festival-going dollar. There are two festivals worth your consideration over the next few months, but you’ve only got so much dough and so many vacation days and so many hot pants to sustain you for a single fest. But which one do you choose? Will you attend Gathering of Shadows or the Gathering of the Juggalos? Let’s break it down.
Gathering of Shadows festival takes place June 2nd at a secret location in the Rocky Mountains. The lineup consists of 11 bands of wildly varying quality, from the excellent FIN to the lolworthy Weapönizer. The package is headlined by Colorado-based black metal band Nightbringer. A secret venue and black metal? Is this the fest of your dreams? The fest promised long from on high? Possibly! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
I’m a little bit wary of any music festival that prides itself on exclusivity. Call me an idealist, but I generally think live music is meant to be an open experience for the masses. Call me judgmental, but based on a recent interview with Decibel, I doubt I share too many ideological principles with headlining band Nightbringer. In the interview, Nightbringer navelgazed at length about many matters metaphysical and esoteric. One of the few clear answers in the interview mentioned that their latest record, Terra Damnata, features a spoken word interlude by Julius Evola. Art nerds among you may recognize that name for his dadaist paintings. Philosophy nerds among you may recognize Julius Evola for his advocacy of rape, fascism, and personal idolization and friendship with many in the Nazi SS. In the years since Evola’s death, his writing has been championed by human punch magnet Richard Spencer and walking disillusion of cocaine’s sexy image, Steve Bannon.
But there is potential still! Secrecy in the mountains? Dark experimental music? Exploration of the esoteric? Perhaps the weekend would be like cosplaying through Jodorowsky’s Holy Mountain. I wonder what we would all talk about? Let’s see, what do the Facebook attendees of this fest also enjoy?
On the other end of the festival spectrum we’ve got the venerable Gathering of the Juggalos! For the first time in many years, the venerable festival for fans of Insane Clown Posse and assorted Psychopathic Records artists is changing locations. You can get down with the clown this July 26th through the 29th in Oklahoma City. Though full information about this year’s slate of performers and activities has has yet to be released, if years past Gatherings are any indication, the 2017 Gathering of the Juggalos will feature tons of horrorcore rappers, delicious deep-fried carnival food, and a whole assortment of rides, games, and sideshow attractions. The fest is a celebration of low culture and friendship that is refreshingly free of pretension.
Though it’s easy (and fun!) to make fun of Juaggalos, Leif, W., and I all recently attended an Insane Clown Posse show. We had a great time meeting the fans, seeing the performance, and getting utterly drenched in Faygo. If the Gathering is even half as fun as that single show, our recommendation is clear.