Carolina Rebellion released the lineup for their eighth year this past Tuesday. The festival will take place May4-6, 2018 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina.
I got the chance to talk to Gary Spivack, Executive Vice President at Danny Wimmer Presents. Gary buys the talent for the DWP festivals. DWP is the production company that puts on some of the best rock festivals in the country. Rock on the Range was the first, and they have expanded tremendously since then. A sample of the festivals they put on is Carolina Rebellion, Rock on the Range, Welcome to Rockville, and Louder Than Life.
Ignite Music Magazine: I want to talk to you today about Carolina Rebellion, I’m incredibly excited for the lineup because it is killer!
Gary Spivack: Thank you I am as excited as you are. It’s one that I’m more excited for, more than any other festival, just because it has variety its unique. The only place you can see Muse in any US festival in 2018, so it has some real special moments to it but at it’s core it’s a rock festival. So you got your Godsmack, your Five Finger Death Punch, and Shinedown and Breaking Benjamin. But again, you have something like Muse and Queens of the Stone Age, and Incubus on one stage. I’m really pumped about it too.
IMM: Yeah I’m pretty sure my head’s gonna explode from that Sunday lineup alone. Carolina Rebellion is coming into its eighth year, have things become easier to put together or is it as stressful now as it was on day one?
GS: No, It’s as stressful than, more than day one for a couple reasons. One, we raise our own bar and we really want to, again have special moments, and have Carolina Rebellion have it’s own special identity over other rock festivals that either we produce or other competition out there. So we raise our own bar, and then two it’s not, you know, we don’t want low hanging fruit as we say. We don’t want to get the same old same old. We want to challenge ourselves and challenge the fans, the rebels too. But, at the same time, knowing at our core we are a rock festival. So we want to super serve and give the audience Godsmack, and Five Finger, and Halestorm, and Stone Sour, and Alice in Chains, but then also go a little left with Muse and Queens and Incubus and Billy Idol, and go a little right with a band like Underoath or Trivium or Quicksand, you know. So that’s why I’m so excited about Carolina Rebellion, because it has it all. It makes it harder for us.
IMM: Yeah, fans really appreciate that too because I’ve been going to fests a while. I’ve noticed that they can fall into a formula, so to speak, especially ones like Bonnaroo, and Coachella. I think fans appreciate that. I know Muse is gonna be there, I’m super excited for that. What else is new for 2018, I know STP are going out on tour again (with their new lead singer Jeff Gutt).
GS: Whether its new or someone we’ve never had before at Carolina Rebellion, again, since day one we’ve wanted the Rebel Yell himself, Billy Idol. So when he sings “Rebel Yell” its probably going to be one of the greatest moments. There’s new releases from Shinedown, STP, a new release from Godsmack, it’s their 20th anniversary, they’ll have a whole new record. A whole new record from Breaking Benjamin, from Halestorm, from Bullet For My Valentine, Black Veil Brides, there’s so many bands that are on Carolina Rebellion that will have brand new music, so that’s exciting, and again we just from doors to curfew, four stages per day it’s rock and roll. It’s going to be a really exciting weekend all the way around.
IMM: You talked about variety and how you guys like to go left and right, how do you guys choose the smaller acts. How do you determine who you’re going to put on the lineup that are lesser known?
GS: That’s a good question. We listen to everything. Everything that comes our way. We search, seek it out. Bands and agents and labels and managers and guitar players submit music to us, we listen to everything. Look, sometimes it’s really simple. If you’re really great we’re gonna find you. Greta Van Fleet as an example, there’s a band from London that we like a lot called Black Foxxes which is grunge rock Seattle meets London in 2018. A band out of Canada called the Blue Stones. A two piece that just rocks, you know kind of like The Black Keys or Royal Blood. A band out of New Jersey called Toothgrinder. So we’ll find it, and they’ll find us. And then an artist like Andrew WK, who’s never played our shows before, he’ll bring the party. It’s really kind of mix and match and try to get everything we can in there, because we need stars for tomorrow too. Its one thing to have Muse and Queens of the Stone Age, and Godsmack, and Five Finger and Alice in Chains and Shinedown, but we want a delicate mix of super serving and then educating. We wanna turn people on to music too.
IMM: It must be fun to see those smaller bands progress and know that you guys gave them a chance in the beginning, which is pretty cool.
GS: It’s the best. I get off on that more than anything actually. You know a band like Halestorm who played the first Carolina Rebellion at 12, and then came back and played at 2. Then they’re back as a band on line two, and are gonna be playing late into the evening. That brings a lot of joy to us.
IMM: What advice do you have for the first timer? What can you tell us about how to experience it if we’ve never been before, because I know there’s a ton that you guys pack into there.
GS: Well it’s a very special festival, it’s on Rock City Campgrounds of the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Huge campus, green grass, tree lines, four stages per day. Not only do we have the music rockin’, but what I also love about Carolina Rebellion is what we dub secondary entertainment. Meaning the food and the beverages and the overall vendor villages are second to none. We have the best Carolina BBQ in any outdoor event in the Carolinas. So we have a joke around here that the days of stale beer, and corn dogs are over. We wanna have great music, but we also wanna have great food and great beverages, and a great overall experience.
IMM: That’s all I have for you Gary, thank you so much for taking time out of your day to talk to me. Muse and STP, that’s going to be amazing. I know there’s been some flack online about it, but the fans appreciate the variety, and it’s going to be killer.
GS: Yeah, look, when you push the envelope, and again at our core, we are a rock festival. We have a ton of rock, but when you push the envelope, you’re gonna get flack in life, but that just comes with the turf. We’re prepared for that, we’re prepared to have a killer weekend. One like no other, so carolinarebellion.com, it’s all there, all the festival information, all the ticket information, and please come. I want everybody who’s reading and listening to come join us because these are special weekends. We’re really in a divided time right now in our country, lets use Carolina Rebellion to unite us. For the power of music to bring us together.
Interview by Shanell Curry