Then there's the guy with the cardboard sign that reads, "Bet you can't hit me with a quarter." His pockets sag with the weight of his hard-won change, which jangles as he walks.

"I've had this sign every year for the last ten," he says proudly. "Well, not this one exactly, but you know — the same words." He began working the line before he even got in, managing to pay the $175 entry fee in coin, and he will keep up the hustle for the entire event, dodging quarters for all five days.

Elsewhere a small cardboard sign outside a tent advertises "Titty Burgers." There are many Gathering-sanctioned food sources on the grounds, from chicken-on-a-stick to giant turkey legs, but this is not one of them. An amateur operation from the charcoal-fueled grill to the store-bought ground beef, Titty Burgers offers a massive one-pound patty, with all the trimmings, for a mere $8. Or, if equipped to do so, a customer could opt to simply flash her boobs and dine free. This is not the titty stand's first Gathering, and over the years it has become a favorite among attendees.

Nate "Igor" Smith

Another much-talked-about food operation, "The Burrito Man," proves harder to track down. Rumor has it that somewhere on the sprawling grounds is a food truck that purveys the most delicious burritos a juggalo will ever have the pleasure of eating. The truck is parked in a different place every year, and the only way to find it is to walk around asking people whose directions are often confusing and/or conflicting. After hours of wandering around aimlessly, the situation starts to feel more and more like a snipe hunt, a practical joke to be played on first-timers and Gathering poseurs. But this is not the case: The diligent hunter will eventually encounter Bill Huntsmen and Bruce Wayne Hall, Alton, Illinois, natives who sling culinary delights out of a retooled fire truck on behalf of owner Jesús Ayala. "We park somewhere different every year," Huntsmen imparts. "They want you to buy a vendor's license, and those are expensive."

See Also: - Juggalo Food and the Quest for the Mythical Burrito Man

Juggalo, of course, does not live by burrito alone. A woman offering "boob squeezes" for $3 apiece sees no shortage of comers. A man will allow you to hit him with a whip for $2. Another man deploys a megaphone to hawk something related to sniffing underwear: "Tell you what, he said he'll put on the thong and let you smell it."

And then there are the drugs.

It is true that drugs are a part of every music festival. It is true, for that matter, that drugs are a part of life — the weekend-warrior mentality that infects concert attendees is, to coin a phrase, amplified in a festival setting. Juggalos and others at the Gathering don't like to hear their fest boiled down to a haven for drug use, rightly arguing that bigger-name events such as Coachella, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza contend with illicit substances as well.

Still, none of those events has a "Drug Bridge."

At the Drug Bridge, one can purchase virtually any mind-altering chemical imaginable. Ecstasy, mushrooms, cocaine, sleeping pills, Adderall, nitrous oxide — all laid out neatly and advertised on cardboard signs. Marijuana too. Oh, and heroin, offered for sale by a man with a megaphone. You can even buy a T-shirt that says "Meet Me at the Drug Bridge."

Nor are vendors above the high-pressure sales pitch. (Overheard: "I will rape your mother if you don't buy our drugs.")

On the afternoon of day three, Friday, August 9, a man is found dead in a tent. The tent's owner tells emergency medical personnel that a few hours prior, at around midday, 24-year-old Cory Collins had approached from the direction of the Drug Bridge, said he felt sick and requested to crawl in and sleep for a while. The owner, who admitted that he was tripping on mescaline at the time, assented. When he returned later to check on Collins, rigor mortis had already set in — a discovery that came as a surprise to the tent's four other occupants, who'd been asleep.

Needle marks on the dead man's arm indicate that heroin overdose is the likely cause of death.

The Drug Bridge closes up shop for the rest of the weekend.

See Also: - Death Reported at the Gathering of the Juggalos, Drug Bridge Closed

- Death at the Gathering of the Juggalos: Four Men Unknowingly Slept Next to Corpse

By many accounts, this year's Gathering is more sparsely attended, and the overall mood darker, than in years past. Some attribute this to the lack of major headliners, while others cite the December departure of the group Twizted (a fan favorite) from Psychopathic Records' roster.

Most agree that the drug element has gotten out of hand.

"It didn't used to be like this," observes one veteran juggalo. "It used to be about family and coming together for the music. Now there's just so many drugs." Indeed, many bridge vendors seem less like part-timers and more like professionals.

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