Over the weekend, the Carolina’s were rocked for a third year in a row by the annual Carolina Rebellion music festival. The rock and metal music festival took place at Rock City Campgrounds at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. In prior years, Carolina Rebellion was held on the first Saturday in May, however the event expanded to encompass both Saturday, May 4th and Sunday, May 5th, this year.
Many of the “rebels” (the term used to refer to the fans and attendees of Carolina Rebellion) arrived in town early for the festival. Those who purchased a camping package had the opportunity to attend a Rebellion Pre-Party on Friday evening. The Pre-Party lineup featured rock bands: Night Train, Hells Bells, Beware of Darkness and was headlined by Eye Empire. They played on stage sponsored by Jagermeister set up on the festival grounds.
At a bright and early 9:00am on Saturday, May 4, the festival doors were opened to the crowd. Two main stages, the “Rebellion Stage” and the “Carolina Stage” were set up, along with the “Jager Stage” from the previous night. Many vendors and booths were scattered across the grounds, including a tent sponsored by F.Y.E. that held meet and greets with the bands throughout both days of the festival.
The real party kicked off when rock band Young Guns took up the Rebellion Stage at 11:00am. The British four piece played woke the crowd up with several songs off their 2012 album, “Bones”. Included in their set was the title track, which has been receiving air time by nearby Greensboro radio station 100.3 The Buzz. At 11:35am, the Carolina Stage was graced by Las Vegas native band Otherwise. The quickly rising band has been included in the line up of many major festivals over the past year, including Rock Allegiance 2012 and the first annual Desert Uprising. Though Otherwise thoroughly rocked the crowd with their music, the highlight of their set involved inviting a couple up to the stage. Once on stage, the man dropped to one knee and proposed to his girlfriend, who happily accepted.
Returning to the music, North Carolina native rock band 3 Quarters Dead opened the Jager Stage at 12:10pm. The metal band originally formed in 1999 with vocalist Waylon Reavis. In 2004, Reavis departed from the band to join Mushroomhead. 3 Quarters Dead reformed in 2007 and signed with Turkey Vulture Records label last year. The other bands to play the Jager stage were MonstrO at 1:55pm and Aranda at 4:00pm. Disturbed vocalist David Draiman’s new band Device was the highly anticipated headliner of the stage.
Australian rock trio Sick Puppies took up the Rebellion Stage after 3 Quarters Dead. Despite being only a three piece, the band never fails to entrance the crowd – especially with a rare female bassist, Emma Anzai. On the Carolina Stage, metal band In This Moment continued the theme of entrancing females, fronted by vocalist Maria Brink. Their performance took place back at 1:20pm and with their intriguing stage set up with skulls, fog and costumes, they were a definite highlight of the day. The recent Grammy Award winners of Halestorm were a strong follow up on the Carolina Stage after In This Moment. Halestorm played many of their radio singles including: “I Get Off,” “Freak Like Me,” and the song that won them their Grammy, “Love Bites (So Do I).” Vocalist Lzzy Hale made a later guest appearance during Device’s set to perform a duet with Draiman on the song “Close My Eyes Forever.”
British metal band Asking Alexandria and Welsh metal band Bullet For My Valentine were next up on the Rebellion Stage. Following their performances, Three Days Grace took stage at 6:50. Matt Walst of My Darkest Days did an excellent job stepping in following former vocalist Adam Gontier’s departure in January, this year. Their set consisted of a mix of songs from the most recent album release Transit of Venus, along with many well known singles from prior albums. Three Days Grace’s performance was made more memorable by their use of pyrotechnics on stage. The headliner on the Rebellion stage was Limp Bizkit, who went on at 8:40pm. Though they began their performance in the pitch black, Sam Rivers sported a bass guitar featuring bright green LED lights while guitarist Wes Borland wore a white LED covered face mask in contrast with a body painted in all black. Vocalist Fred Durst sported a full beard that would have made him nearly unrecognizable if not for the red baseball cap he is typically known for. Limp Bizkit had the crowd hyped and riled playing many hits they are well remembered for, such as: “Nookie” and “My Generation.”
After having to cancel many tour dates last year due to vocalist Jacoby Shaddix requiring surgery on his vocal chords, Papa Roach has returned to the spotlight and are “Still Swingin'” strong. Their set took place on the Carolina Stage and they were packed full of energy performing many fan favorite songs: “Burn,” “Getting Away With Murder,” and “Last Resort.” Shaddix went so far as to hop off stage and go for a crowd surfing ride. Following Papa Roach, the Deftones kept the energy going on the Carolina Stage. Vocalist Chino Moreno engaged the entire crowd from every side of the stage. Their stage presence included memorable jumps and Moreno picking up a mic stand and throwing it back to the ground, leaving some questioning his actions. Finally at 9:45pm, the headlining band Alice in Chains took the stage. The grounds were packed and shaking with devoted fans rocking out to well known classics that included “Check My Brain,” “Rooster,” and “Man in the Box.”
Though the first night went out with a pleasant bang, the morning of day two quickly turned dreary. American metal band Nonpoint was scheduled to open the day on the Carolina Stage at noon sharp. Unfortunately, a heavy down pour occurred a few minutes prior, and after a few minutes delay an announcement was made that the Rebellion was being put on hold until conditions improved. Fans were permitted to return to their campground sites or hang around the Festival grounds until further notice.
After over an hour, the Jager Stage was opened for bands to play on. American Fangs, Heaven’s Basement, Red Line Chemistry and Escape The Fate all played shortened sets on the stage, but were welcomed graciously by the crowd. Heavy metal band All That Remains was originally scheduled to play on the Carolina Stage, but ended up head banging with the crowd on the Jager Stage as well.
The members of Steel Panther were a high note during the off key day. Guitarist “Satchel” played a vibrant red guitar, while bassist “Lexxi Foxx” toted a pink polka dotted bass. Along with vocalist “Michael Starr” and drummer “Stix Zadinia,” the quartet provided much needed comical relief telling profane and perverse jokes throughout their set. Sevendust and Buckcherry also put on stand out performances on the Rebellion Stage, despite the cold wind and rain.
Hollywood Undead brought on a high energy stage presence, with masked members running across the Carolina Stage. Volbeat was scheduled to take the stage after Hollywood Undead, however it was quickly broadcast that their set was cancelled due to equipment failure brought on by inclement weather. Following Buckcherry’s set, the crowd was fired and ready to go for Rise Against – a punk rock band that many were expecting to play come hell or high water. Fans patiently stood in the rain as workers tried to mop and blow dry the stage. The highlight of the Carolina Stage however, turned out to be one highly unsuspecting stage hand whom the crowd lovingly nicknamed “Squeegee Man.” Every time he returned to the stage, the crowd cheered and chanted for him. Overnight he became somewhat of a local sensation, with internet memes floating around and a dedicated Facebook page.
The crowd began to thin as Rise Against’s revised set time came and went, along with Bush’s. Finally around 8:00pm, it was announced that headliners for the day, Soundgarden, along with the remainder of the festival was cancelled in the interest of safety. Carolina Rebellion’s Facebook page exploded with negative comments directed at both the bands and organizers of the festival. Taking matters straight into hand, the festival organizers sent out an apologetic email on Tuesday, this week, which included a generous offer for a free ticket to Carolina Rebellion 2014’s Sunday day or a 20% refund. Attendees wishing to redeem either the free ticket or refund can do so by registering a claim here. Claims must be submitted by May 14th.
Carolina Rebellion is sponsored by Monster Energy and was formed in 2011 by AEG Live and Right Arm Entertainment. The Rebellion was included as the second event of this year’s World’s Loudest Month. The World’s Loudest Month features five major festivals in different parts of the United States: Welcome to Rockville, Carolina Rebellion, Rockfest, Rock On The Range and Rocklahoma.