By Mari Loth
This was my first time heading down to the Carolina Rebellion, the line-up made my 14-year-old self-squeal with excitement! Being able to re-live my teenage playlist live was an exciting feat in itself. Also having bands that are a major influence on my life in present time as well! Day one at Rebellion we arrived at Charlotte Speedway, around 2pm, I would highly suggest getting VIP tickets just for the advancement of parking alone, if not enjoy the 2-mile hike from the parking lots. We arrived at the front gates and received our bands, very organized in picking up badges, I would suggest registering your wristbands before arriving at the venue because it’s a little time consuming and slows down the line.
Walking into Rebellion I loved the setup because the stages were within walking range but also spaced far enough away from each other that the sound didn’t travel or overlap. On Friday we braved the pit for Stick to Your Guns, a hardcore pop-punk band from Orange County, Ca, they played at the gold stage closest to the entrance. Not a big fan of “crowd-killing” but the energy none the less was super hype. We ended night one singing along with Stone Temple Pilots and Alice in Chains.
Day 2 we had our layout of the festival more laid out and my PIR (Partner in Rockin’) went our separate ways for a couple shows to check out our desired bands for the day. I headed over to the Rebellion stage to check out Black Veil Brides, then trekked back over to catch Maria Brink and In This Moment. Maria always has such a radiate energy giving 100% to every performance, with her multiple wardrobe changes and beautiful witchy concepts I always enjoy watching her. When five thirty rolled around, I walked over to the Black Stage and was front row for Butcher Babies, the two belting badass beauties Carla and Heidi, made the crowd go nuts demanding crowd surfers, open pits, and devil horns to stay high in the air.
I will say I have been to many festivals but none resonated with the metal or with as much crowd response like I saw at rebellion, for every set there was at least 20-30 crowd surfers. I stayed looking behind me making sure I could carry who was about to pass over me, which took away from the show a little bit for me, but I was happy to oblige. I left Butcher Babies a little early so I could catch the tail end of Emmure’s set at the Gold Stage, before heading to Halestorm. Lzzy Hale was already belting, Love Bites (And so do I), by the time I got there so I pushed my way to the mid center-stage, making friends with the other fans.
Later that evening we decided to Camp out at Rebellion stage and watch Breaking Benjamin, and wait for Godsmack. Breaking Benjamin crushed it after 10 years from the last time I saw them play, I still knew all the words and was enthralled with the pyrotechnics, stage presence, and crowd energy. Ben even brought a young fan on stage, had him sing Diary of Jane with him, and through watery eyes, the crowd sang every word along with him.
We had a pretty good spot for Godsmack, in the pit center stage, thank goodness, they were playing the Rebellion stage performance while we waited in the crowd, Five Finger Death Punch was also bringing the waterworks when lead singer Ivan Moody, brought a young cancer patient wearing her “Fuck Cancer” shirt on stage, he held close and serenaded her for all the crowd to see. There wasn’t a dry eye in the pit, I am not a fan of Five Finger Death Punch’s music myself, but I had a lot of respect for the love he showed to that girl and how much respect he has for his fans. When the monitors went off and lights went down, it was time for Godsmack to bring it, and I was ready! Sully, has a strong friendly personality on stage different from his singing voice which is more stern and commanding, but it was awesome to finally see a band who influenced much of my childhood and music live, I will remember singing along to VooDoo for the rest of my life. Sully also encouraged, Girls on shoulders, waves of crowd surfers, and the occasional chest flash. What a great way to end Day 2. While Day 1 and 2 were amazing and brought a lot of heavier alternative and metal, Day 3 is more of the hardcore bands, and mainstream alternative.
Thrice started off our day, then we headed over to Code Orange, to get our dose of headbanging. We arrived over at the Gold Stage for the Fever 333, which I think are the Rage Against the Machine for the new generation. We caught Jason Butler right before going on stage, he was humble and sweet, chatted for a bit about music then he headed to the stage. The Fever 333’s energy is insane, Jason got in the crowd singing, and everyone lost it. Fever ended and we went over to check out Billy Idol, this is my third time seeing Billy and it’s never a disappointment, Steve Stevens always give a 100%. Incubus set was magical Brandon Boyd always romancing the crowd with his melodic voice and ended their set singing Ginuwine’s “Pony” making everyone’s temperature rise as they prepared for Queens of the Stone Age to play. Queens opened their set with Feel Good Hit for The Summer, and kept the heat going with more of their heavier hitters and top hits.
All in all Carolina Rebellion was a success, and it was awesome to be able to appreciate the music and meet so many eclectic fans. Security was friendly and even with all the crowd surfing, most pits, I never once saw a fight or a hostile argument. Everyone kept the peace and helped their fellow concertgoer out. I highly suggest if you are looking for a rock festival to go to for the first time Carolina Rebellion is a good starter into festival world, it’s easy to navigate, hotels are affordable in the area, or you can do camping options as well. I would give this festival 4 out of 5 stars.