The Dark Carnival that never was: An investigative report

By in Culture

On June 21, the Coors Event Centre — formerly known as the O’Brians Event Centre — posted a Facebook event for a show that seemed almost too good to be true: Insane Clown Posse, performing right here in Saskatoon.

You might know Insane Clown Posse, commonly referred to as ICP, from the internet. ICP has been active since 1989. In this time, they’ve completed a full cycle of concept albums, feuded with Eminem and released two direct-to-video features — Big Money Hustlas and the Western-themed Big Money Rustlas.

The rap duo became a bit of a meme in 2010, after the video for their inspirational track “Miracles” was shared around message boards and social media.

In said video, rappers Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope wriggle around in front of a green screen and expound upon the inexplicable magic and beauty of our seemingly mundane world, featuring such notoriously insightful bars as “Water, fire, air and dirt. Fucking magnets, how do they work?”

People were naturally pretty psyched — and it wasn’t just insufferable ironists, either — actual ICP fans, the self-proclaimed Juggalos, were hyping the event hard, posting group photos in their customary clown makeup weeks before the show.

And then it got better: the venue, in an act of unspeakable grace, created a Facebook poll to decide which local artists would be opening the show. Winning the poll — by a very narrow margin — was none other than Saskatoon’s very own The Faps.

These rascas are best known for performing in unusual clothing, often including blood and men’s briefs, and playing sometimes abrasive, confusing — and yet somehow often catchy — punk music. The band gave thanks for the poll and applied their juggalo makeup, and everyone collectively held their breath. But it was not to be.

On August 18, just two days before the show, ICP cancelled the remaining dates on their Canadian tour, citing difficulties getting their crew across the national border. The dream was over.
As consolation, The Faps came through. Booking a last-minute show at Amigo’s Cantina and inviting everyone from the cancelled event page. It was bittersweet, but it was closure. Their statement read:

“We worked really hard on an awesome show for you all, and we still wanna perform. Full juggalo, full makeup, cheap beer, lots of room to mosh. Come out and support the local talent while we wait for ICP to come back!”

ICP would not, in fact, be coming back. To their credit, ICP later rescheduled several tour dates and were “back on the sonic attack” just a few days later. Saskatoon, however, was not among the cities to be re-booked.

This might not seem like all that big of a deal, but to Juggalos, it absolutely is. For context, this is no ordinary fanbase — Juggalos are like a big, weird family. They have their own special clothing brand, tattoos, soft drink —the infamous Faygo — and even their own music festival, the Gathering of the Juggalos, which has been running for the past nineteen years. In 2010, the Gathering brought together 20,000 of these folks. They are extremely dedicated — just in case the whole face-paint thing hadn’t already given that away.

It remains unclear whether ICP will ever care to grace Saskatoon with their presence. There remains a lingering feeling of absence — a kind of sad, clowny aura — hanging over the Coors Event Centre like a ghost.

Perhaps, someday, ICP will do right by our city and put this sleepless spectre to rest. Until then, I guess we’ll have to settle for Mastodon and Dinosaur Jr. on Sept. 4 and Fetty Wap on Sept. 7.

Adam Swalm

Graphic: Jaymie Stachyruk / Graphics Editor