It’s hard to imagine a time when the Gathering Of The Juggalos didn’t exist. Before the summer of 2000, though, Insane Clown Posse fans could meet only at concerts or by chance, forced to contain the joyous “whoop, whoop”s that longed to burst out of them in recognition of a fellow ninja. But this dark era only ended with the very first Gathering and the comfort of knowing that, no matter what else happened in a given year, each summer (aside from this terrible one) would provide a brief, glorious outlet for face-painting, boob-flashing, and Hatchetman tattoo-flaunting.
The Detroit News, recognizing the importance of the festival honoring Michigan’s favorite sons, marked the Gathering’s 20th anniversary in an oral history of its very first incarnation. The entire piece is well worth reading, but the best part is a section where Alex Christodoulou, an ICP fan who was 12 in 2000, reminisces on helping to create the first instance of the long-standing Faygo Armageddon tradition.
Christodoulou drove to the Gathering’s first venue, the Novi Expo Center, with his dad and remembers buying “a bunch of Faygo” along with the supplies for their trip. “People obviously got a kick out [of] me being young,” he says. “They thought I was cool.” This is backed up by a quote from Vinnie “Vinnie The ICP Kid” Monastiere, who recalls “this fresh ninja” who “came with his father from New York in a minivan.”
“He drove in, slammed on the brakes and popped open the doors, and he must have had 100-300 2-liters [of Faygo] stacked in this thing and he emptied them into the parking lot,” Monastiere says. “Ninjas came running like roaches for the pop. In my opinion, it was the first official Faygo Armageddon, and we did it right there in the parking lot.”
“My dad, for the most part, dropped me off and he hung out in the car. And he would come back repeatedly with Faygo. And it was cool, because he didn’t understand why a bunch of kids were dumping soda on each other’s heads, but he was still cool enough to know it was something we were having fun with,” Christodoulou says. “So he would show up every hour or two and he would have the whole car filled with Faygo. And he would bring cheeseburgers for people and hand out a bunch of food. So he was the first official Jugga-dad, so to speak. We spent all day and night just throwing Faygo and hanging out.”
Another fan remembers hanging out around the Expo Center, where “people sprayed Faygo on everybody” and “everybody was sticky.” Completing the scene, he also recalls “seeing some guys that were powerbombing each other into a dumpster over and over again.”
For more where this came from, including stories about memorable moments like Shaggy 2 Dope jumping off a BMX bike onto a bunch of thumbtacks and fans rushing a wrestling ring, stage, and merch area, read the entire piece.
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