2014-05-24 / News

Legend Valley show drawing close scrutiny

By Scott Rawdon

THORNVILLE – Ohio Senator Tim Schaffer (R-District 31) says he’ll will a close eye on an event coming to Legend Valley this summer, as will the Licking County Sheriff’s Department, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Licking Township Trustees, and the venue’s neighbors.

Legend Valley hosts the Gathering of the Juggalos July 23 through 26, which is an annual festival Psychopathic Records sponsors, featuring performances by the entire label roster as well as numerous well-known musical groups and underground artists. Robert Bruce, the Insane Clown Posse (Joseph Bruce and Joseph Utsler), and their label founded the event in 2000. A “Juggalo” is a nickname for Insane Clown Posse fans.

From 2007 through 2013, the gathering was held at Cave- In-Rock, Illinois in the Hogrock campground.

According to a story in the Southern Illinoisan newspaper, the change in venue came on the heels of complaints by vendors who said in November that they had either not been paid or had received bad checks in excess of a combined $300,000.

One of those checks was written to the Hardin County Sheriff’s Office as a $5,000 donation for new equipment.

Psychopathic Records vowed at the time they would make good on their bills. Cost overruns were blamed.

The Gathering brought with it a mixed bag of economic stimulus, but also illicit drug use and some violent crimes. Deaths at the gathering have included a drowning, heat stroke, and overdose.

Originally, the event was headed this summer to Crybaby Campground in Kaiser, MO, but complaints from the neighbors surrounding the venue prompted another change in location.

Licking Township Trustee President Joe Hart said Monday night that residents near Legend Valley share the same concerns as those near Crybaby Campground. They are so concerned, in fact, that they called a meeting with Shaffer to discuss the situation, which included concerned residents and representatives from the Licking County Sheriff’s Office and the Ohio State Highway Patrol. “The Licking County Sheriff’s Office will have strong presence,” said Hart, who added that he had been told that admission to the event is limited to 6,000 people.

“We’ll definitely be providing security,” said Col. Chad Dennis of the Licking County Sheriff’s Office, as will the highway patrol. “We’ll make sure they stay on the grounds as much as possible. They’re a little bit of a different group.” He confirmed that admission is capped at 6,000.

Dennis said this isn’t the first time the Juggalos have gathered in the area; they met at the Frontier Ranch on York Road near Pataskala several years ago and there were no major issues. “We’ve handled this event before,” he said. “Everybody has an eye on it. We want to be sure everyone has a good, safe time.”

“The laws of Ohio will be enforced very vigorously,” said Schaffer. He said the patrons would be responsible for any new legislation enacted placing restrictions upon future events should the event get out of hand.

“The local neighbors and community must be left alone,” he said. Schaffer said Legend Valley is paying for the additional law enforcement and officers are fully ready to perform their duties if necessary. “I will be watching,” he said.

Legend Valley owner Steve Trickle, who lives adjacent to the grounds, said he’s attended a Juggalo event elsewhere and he’s ready for the event and confident of its success. “There will be music inside large tents late at night but I have control of volume after midnight,” he said. “If I can hear the music in the tents in my house it will be turned down. (The event) will not be violent. The band’s followers really get a bad rap because they are a little different than the norm. They are no different than a hippie wearing tie-dye or a biker wearing leather on the weekend. They have jobs and pay good money to enjoy life like anyone else.”

Trickle said there will be security, sheriff’s deputies, medics, venue staff, and medical transport on the grounds so as not to burden the Licking Township Fire Company, “It’s just like at all shows we throw at Legend Valley,” he said. “In February, I was approached by the promoters that put on the Gathering and told them I would think about it. There was an (Insane Clown Posse) show in Columbus six days later and I wanted to see for myself what all the Internet hype was about.” He said there were no fights, no arrests, and the fans were all and all good to one another.

“I take pride in running this magical venue and respect my neighbors, and call most of them my friends,” said Trickle. He said most neighbors tell him they sit outside and listen to the music. Trickle said they will probably enjoy upcoming country shows, but would probably not want to sit outside and listen to the Insane Clown Posse.

“But, to each their own. If we were all the same the world would be pretty bland,” said Trickle. “That being said, I have had hundreds of thank you emails for hosting the Gathering and am actually looking forward to the festival. Business as usual.”

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