The annual Gathering of the Juggalos — fans of the Insane Clown Posse — officially began Wednesday. The horror rap band holds the festival just outside of tiny Cave-In-Rock on the private Hog Rock Campground property.
The town of Cave-In-Rock experiences a form of culture shock each year as the population of Hardin County swells from 4,000 to 16,000 overnight according to Illinois State Police Lieutenant Brad Lacey. For this concert the promoters are predicting 10,000 to 12,000 guests.
Bill Maier's, Tidy Bowl Inc., Stonefort, was delivering portable toilet services Wednesday afternoon.
"We have four pumping trucks here to haul off sewerage. We do two runs a day. We delivered 110 toilets earlier," he said.
"Every year its pretty much the same. We see a lot of people running around dressed head to toe in black. And they are complaining about heatstroke."
Charles Patton, owner of Patton Truck Stop near the intersection of state Route 1 and state Route 13 said things don't change too much for him during the concert weekend.
"We put on few extra clerks and watch the customers a little closer but that's about it," he said.
Hardin County Sheriff Jerry Fricker said, "We run two shifts a day of eight officers, four are salaried and four are volunteers. Shifts run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to midnight. I take over at midnight with some volunteer help."
Illinois State Police Lieutenant Brad Lacey said the weekend required setting up a command post on the front lawn of the Hardin County Work Camp on state Route 1.
The command post trailer was provided by Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System (ILEAS).
"I would rather not tell you how many troopers are tasked here for the weekend, but we draw on resources from around the state," he said. "We have traffic issues, of course. There are law enforcement issues also."
A group of four young males were parked on the entrance road to the campground in a mini-van. One of the men held a sign that read "Hugs For Drugs." Asked if he would like to have his picture taken for the newspaper, he responded, "Hell, no!"
According to a release from the Hardin County Sheriff's Department on Wednesday, eight possible overdoses, one theft and one aggravated battery were being handled in relation to the festival.
A group of concert goers from Pennsylvania were really happy to be in Hardin County for the event.
Brandon Porter, 21, Berks Co., Pa., said, "We are all family. People have this bad impression of fans. But we all try to help each other in any way we can."
Brian Butler, 23, Montgomery Co., Pa., agreed, saying, "It's essentially as close to utopia as we can get.
Page 2 of 2 - "It's like the Catholic Church's sex scandals. Sure there are some bad priests, but most of them are good. Same thing with us fans."
Tamara Murdock, 23, Berks County, Pa., said, "Yeah, I am an Army vet. I was a small arms mechanic. Butler here is still active in the Army Reserve."
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