2014-08-02 / News

Juggalos: Law enforcement pleased; neighbors upset

By Scott Rawdon

THORNVILLE – From a law enforcement standpoint, the 15th Annual Gathering of the Juggalos at Thornville’s Legend Valley went far more smoothly than expected, said Licking County Sheriff’s Department Captain Chris Slayman. However, some of the residents who live close to the venue disagree.

“They obviously came with a reputation,” said Slayman, adding that the sheriff’s department made no arrests during the four-day event. “It went fantastic. It was a very positive experience.” He said there were a couple people– likely on drugs – who were running naked outside the venue; an unauthorized use of a vehicle when someone drove off with a friend’s rental car; and some theft from tents, which Slayman said is relatively common at such festivals. “We were pleased. It went better than expected,” he said. Roughly 4,500 people attended.

Legend Valley hosted 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 some 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.

The Licking County Sheriff’s Office reported one death related to the event. According to the report, Kristal Tsosie, 27 of Flint, MI, was attending when a family member notified deputies at 4:49 a.m. on July 27 that she needed medical attention. On-site emergency medical personnel were called and Tsosie was transported to Licking Memorial Hospital where she died a short time later. Family members informed sheriff’s detectives that Tsosie did not drink any alcohol or take any nonprescribed drugs, explaining she had a pre-existing medical condition. The investigation is ongoing pending toxicology reports.

Eric Wolf, agent in charge of the Ohio Investigative Unit, said agents visited the concert grounds Friday evening and made two arrests for possession of marijuana.

A story in the Daily Beast, a news and opinion web site, written by reporter Steve Miller, who attended the event, claims a lawyer attending the event was able to keep agents from entering the festival grounds.

Legend Valley promoter Steve Trickle was pleased with the event. “It went better than I even thought it would,” he said. “All that hype for nothing, but it’s good to say, ‘I told you so.’”

However, some who live near Legend Valley don’t share in the jubilation. “It’s very disrespectful,” said a resident who lives near the venue. He asked to remain anonymous and said he represented other nearby residents. “We’re sick of the loud noise levels,” he said. He believes the Juggalos was a “haven for underage drinking and drugs.” He said the loud music went “well into the wee hours of the morning. We don’t want to shut the guy down, but he needs to be respectful towards his neighbors.”

He said he’s lived there for 11 years and the Juggalos event was far worse, noise wise, than other Legend Valley concerts. “It’s nothing but worse every year and we see no end to it.” He said neighbors would like less volume and more one-night shows, as opposed to multi-day music festivals. “We’d like to see it run more responsibly. We’d like to reach a solution. The Juggalos shows he’s not respecting his neighbors.”

The resident said he and other residents are beginning to refer to Legend Valley as “Death Valley” because of the fatality at the Juggalos event and a fatality at last year’s All Good Festival. Norman Maxted, 49, of Texarkana, Arkansas, was found unresponsive. He was camping alone and a concertgoer found him in a chair. No foul play was suspected.

As far as the Juggalos concert, “You could hear it from a mile away,” the resident said. “That’s a little too much.”

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

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.

Previously, Col. Chad Dennis of the Licking County Sheriff’s Office said this wasn’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.

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