The largest rock festival in the Carolinas came and went all too quickly over the weekend of May 3rd and 4th as Carolina Rebellion returned for a fourth year. In complete contrast to last year's cold and rainy festival weather, the clear skies and shining sun were greatly welcomed by a record breaking 60,000 person crowd - a number that nearly doubled previous year's attendances.
By 10:30 A.M. on Saturday, the parking lot at Rock City Campgrounds at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina, had already began to fill up. When the doors opened, a rush of rebels flowed towards the stage where the first band was scheduled to play. Just minutes before noon, the National Anthem blared through the sound system - and then the madness began with Swedish band Truckfighters on the Jagermeister stage.
With only 20-30 minute long sets from Truckfighters, Trivium, Adeiltas Way and Devour The Day, the first two hours of the festival flew by. Black Stone Cherry enticed a crowd around the Rebellion Stage with a set largely composed of new material from their album Magic Mountain, which released just two days following Rebellion. The congregation then dashed across the festival grounds to the the main Carolina stage at 2:45 P.M., anxious to see Zakk Wylde performing with Black Label Society.
Kyng continued the day on the Jager stage, then passed the torch along to Killswitch Engage who encouraged the formation of a "circle tit" rather than a circle pit. A surprising number of ladies embraced the opportunity, exposing and flashing their tits to band and crowd alike. The "circle tit" eventually did change to a typical circle pit when Anthrax ravaged the Carolina stage. Though Anthrax was not on the original line up for this year's Carolina Rebellion, they filled the spot Motorhead left vacant after dropping off the bill in late March - and for once, it was a trade off that very few (if anyone) complained about.
Thousand Foot Krutch, Seether, Volbeat and Fozzy rotated through their sets leading up to Rob Zombie's 8:45 P.M. set on the Rebellion stage. Rob Zombie's stage get up was suitably creepy and elaborate, featuring a demon microphone stage and fringe lined attired that meshed almost seamlessly with his long, dreaded hair. Avenged Sevenfold closed out Day 1 on the Carolina stage with an equally flashy set loaded with flames and pyro.
Rebels headed back to their sold out campsites and hotels to rest (or perhaps more accurately, continue partying) before reloading the festival grounds at noon on Sunday. Gemini Syndrome opened Day 2 on the Jager stage, then the National Anthem rang throughout again, as if to signify commencement of the official start of the day. A newer band Nothing More went on to deliver a surprisingly captivating set with a drum playing vocalist and an elaborate song that featured three members playing one guitar.
Hellyeah, Twelve Foot Ninja, Fuel, Theory of a Deadman, Redlight King, Alter Bridge and A Day To Remember were among the bands that zipped through the afternoon of Day 2. Memphis May Fire was the last band to perform on the Jager stage. Staind and 311 allured crowds with many of their classic "sing-along" hits. Though Five Finger Death Punch was not the headliner of Day 2, they arguably stole the show with the unstoppable amount of energy poured into each and every song their set. Rowdy fans moshed and crowd surfed, all the while singing along. When their set ended, the crowd noticeably thinned and it became obvious that many attendees weren't there to see the actual headliner.
Sadly, those who opted to leave missed a great headline show. Though he was easily the most controversial artist on this year's line up, Kid Rock's performance was worth seeing even if you weren't a fan of his music. For one, it seemed he did take into consideration the fact that it was a rock festival and many of the songs during their set were older and heavier hits. Music aside, Kid Rock obviously loves the spotlight - his set is full of high jumps, microphone tosses, AND fireworks!
Festival coordinators and producers obviously took feedback from previous years to heart and between their improvements, perfect weather conditions and stand out performances from every band, Carolina Rebellion 2014 was easily the biggest and best yet.