ST. LOUIS – Organizers of an outdoor festival headlined by the rap-metal group Insane Clown Posse are finding new digs for the event after six years of staging it in southern Illinois, and the sheriff couldn't be happier.
A spokesman for suburban Detroit-based Psychopathic Records Inc., promoters of the annual Gathering of the Juggalos, confirmed to The Associated Press on Monday that the spectacle won't be held at the site near Cave-In-Rock, a Hardin County village along the Ohio River. But Jason Webber declined to elaborate, including about where the festival would be relocated or why the location was being changed.
"We should be announcing all that in the foreseeable future," Webber said.
The five-day concert, which each year has drawn tens of thousands of people, also has developed a reputation for unruliness marked by drug overdoses, fights, arrests and the deaths of some Juggalos, by which Insane Clown Posse fans are known.
In 2010, fans pelted reality TV actress Tila Tequila with stones, bottles and feces, and authorities said that event also involved one man stabbing another. One attendee drowned the following year while trying to swim in the Ohio River. And this year, a 24-year-old fan, Cory Collins of Harrisburg, Ill., was found dead on the festival's grounds, and dozens of attendees were arrested on drug-related and disorderly conduct charges.
The yearly gathering has been a recurring headache for Sheriff Jerry Fricker, given the overtime his department has been forced to shell out for deputies to help monitor and control the crowds.
Fricker said the event also has been a drain on the local ambulance service and the county's small hospital, where he said Juggalos taken there for treatment often aren't carrying identification or give the medical staff aliases so the patients couldn't be billed.
"With them being gone, it will take the worry and expense away from the county," Fricker told the AP by telephone, unable to immediately put a dollar figure on the county's tab. "I honestly don't have any idea."
After the latest gathering, vendors at the event complained publicly they were owed perhaps more than $300,000 by promoters of the event, in some cases claiming they had received bad checks from those publicizing the festival.
Fricker said at the time his department got a check from promoters as a donation for protective vests, stun guns and other equipment, but the sheriff said that check bounced.
Psychopathic Records, in a statement then to the AP, said the yearly event is a fully independent festival that has no corporate sponsorship, "and putting on a five-day music festival this ambitious is a very time consuming and expensive process."
"Unfortunately, in our attempt to provide the best possible event for our fans, expenses exceeded estimates and expectations, which we had not previously planned for," Psychopathic's statement read, saying plans were afoot to make good with the vendors. "We thank all of our vendors for their understanding."