While I have greatly expanded my comfort zone in recent years, there are still a lot of things that exist well outside that zone. Traveling to another province to take in a two day music festival full of many hip-hop acts I’d never heard of before this weekend, well that was outside my zone.
Luckily, Juggalos are a very welcoming group and that’s what this festival was: the Canadian Juggalo Weekend — the first of its kind in Canada, following a similar model to those held in the US, which themselves are smaller versions of the annual Gathering of the Juggalos — the big camp-out-and-party-hard event that you’ve probably seen if you ever Googled “wtf is a juggalo?”
Also, luckily, my buddy Jesse was very happy to go with me, so we could find our way around — despite last minute venue changes — and motivate each other to just stick it out when one of us was frustrated or tired (OMG. SO MUCH STANDING. I am too old for that festival shit! I need to sit down every couple of hours damn it!). Seriously, without him I might not have returned for day two of the festival which, as it turns out, was ahhhhmazing.
I could write about this weekend for pages and pages… but I will spare you my less-than-coherent ramblings and instead give you some highlights, a small gallery, and the poem I wrote today for my poem-a-day challenge for April, National Poetry Month1:
You know how sometimes you need a vacation to recover from your vacation…?
- Taking off for Calgary. We had a direct flight and it has been nearly two years since I last flew anywhere. I’d forgotten just how much I love the experience — even crowded in like cattle, I still love flying.
- Seeing Electric Six. In a weird aligning of the stars, it turned out that a band my friend does PR for in the UK was playing at SAIT the night before the Juggalo Weekend, and the same night we flew in to Calgary. He got us tickets so that was another adventure to add to the three days. (Weird coincidence, both Electric Six and ICP are from Detroit.)
- Getting some new ICP merchandise. It was not cheap. Waiting in line was time-consuming but not boring; we had ringside views for some JCW (that’s Juggalo Championship Wrestling, BTW) action before we realized we were going to basically have to be obnoxious to get to the front of the line. But we did and I have a new hoodie and t-shirt that will be well loved for some time.
- Putting clown-face makeup on. I wasn’t too happy with the results (it looked better in my head than on my face) but I got complements so I’ll go with highlight for this (the lowlight was that the makeup plus the smoke machine smoke made my eyes water and nose run… which is why there was no repeat attempt for Saturday.)
- Meeting Prevail from Swollen Members — such a genuinely nice guy.
- Wandering around Calgary with Jesse, checking out the public art, and catching Pokemon (of course) — we even managed to both add a new Pokemon to our dex!
- Discovering how much I enjoyed Onyx, Kung Fu Vampire, and Big Hoodoo, and how little I disliked Swollen Members (I think I disliked them years back because they got So. Much. Constant. Airplay).
- Remembering how much I disliked 2Live Crew (and why) — but thankful that their set gave me time to go to A&W and grab a burger — in full Wicked Clown makeup. HA!
- The absolutely KILLER set that Ice-T performed. Proudly old school. I am still overwhelmingly blown away that I got to see him do his thing.
- Seeing two ICP shows in a weekend. The first was good — most of the Riddle Box (not my fave album, but still includes some great tracks). The second was a mix of songs from different eras, including Tilt-a-Whirl, Cherry Pie, and The Dating Game, and was over-the-top! I skipped the Faygo soaking on the first night and got just wet enough on Saturday to feel like part of the action.
- Getting to see Violent J crowd-dive then climb back up with a face that, even through all that make up, clearly acknowledged, “I should not have done that” — but wow! That unexpected moment pretty much summed up my weekend — I’m almost definitely too old for this, but who the fuck is gonna stop me?
1 To see the rest of my poems for National Poetry Month, check out my Instagram feed and look for the hashtags #npm17 and #poemaday