Rock City Campgrounds at the Charlotte Motor Speedway played host to the fourth annual Carolina Rebellion this past weekend, May 3rd and 4th. Being the biggest mid-Atlantic festival in the country, Rebels from all over traveled to see and experience the rock festival, bringing in the festival’s highest attendance rates since its commencement. This year the weather decided to cooperate and the event ran as smoothly as ever with a constant fluidity of music coming from each stage during their respective times leaving Rebels to simply relax and enjoy the music.
Day 1 kicked off early with Truckfighters being the first to christen the Jägermeister stage. Even at noon there was quite an attendance present on the festival grounds. Rebels crowded around all three stages from the beginning ranging between the diehards who wanted to be front row for their favorite bands and those who wanted to simply chill and hang out throughout the day. Regardless of intentions, I think it’s safe to say that everyone found a way to enjoy themselves throughout the day.
Set times were short starting off, with times ranging between 25 to 30 minutes so there was lots of running around from stage, making the time seem to fly by. During those times Rebels were treated to music from Trivium, Adelitas Way, and Devour the Day. Each band brought something special to their set to keep up the energy of the crowd. Adelitas Way performed their new single “Dog on a Leash” which the audience welcomed with open arms, and Devour the Day touched back on their Egypt Central past and performed “White Rabbit,” which was a very pleasant surprise.
By the time 2 pm hit, the set times started to lengthen to about 45 minutes, with Black Stone Cherry on the Rebellion stage. The band incorporated some of their Kentucky twang and completely owned the stage, constantly running back and forth across its length. Black Label Society followed on the Carolina stage, soon after leading into Kyng rocking the Jägermeister stage. The afternoon catered to bands including Killswitch Engage, Anthrax, who originally were not on the band list but were added to take the place of Motorhead who unfortunately could not make the date, and Thousand Foot Krutch who were clearly meant for a bigger stage based on the fact that lead singer Trevor McNevan was constantly leaning out into the audience encouraging participation.
By this point over half of the bands performing for the day had had their time on stage, but that didn’t stop Rebels from rocking out to all the remaining bands. Seether took the Rebellion stage just as the sun started to make its decent for the day, and graced the audience with hits including “Fine Again,” “Country Song,” and “Broken” and also treated the audience to a live performance of their newest single “Words as Weapons.” Following their set most Rebels migrated over to the Carolina stage to witness Volbeat’s live performance. Smiling throughout their entire set, the guys from Volbeat provided Rebels with their second wind and had the audience constantly pushing up crowd surfers. Not only did they perform their own songs, but they also dabbed into a little bit of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” which the crowd shouting the lyrics right back at them.
Just under an hour later, Fozzy, led by WWE superstar Chris Jericho closed out the Jägermeister stage for the night, working the stage and the audience completely with a light up leather jacket. By the time Rob Zombie took the stage, the sun was completely below the horizon allowing the light show to be taken into full effect by all those who watched. The band opened with “We’re An American Band” and performed other songs including “Living Dead Girl,” “Dragula,” and “More Human Than Human” closing out the Rebellion stage.
Finally, every Rebel migrated towards the Carolina stage to see Day 1 headliners Avenged Sevenfold. Anticipation was built from the start, with a large tarp covering the elaborate stage set up that was soon to be revealed. As the lights dimmed, the cheers from the audience got louder and guitar notes played from the side of the stage only fueled the excitement. Pyro ran across the stage playing to their elaborate back drop as the band came one by one, soon breaking into their single “Shepard of Fire” which was sung right back at them from the Rebels. Avenged Sevenfold made sure to touch back on their roots and performed “Bat Country” much to the crowds delight. Other songs on their set list included “Hail to the King,” “Afterlife,” “Nightmare” and “Fiction” which they dedicated to their late bandmate and brother James “The Rev” Sullivan. The band closed out their set with “Unholy Confessions” and treated Rebels to a short fireworks display as they made their way off the stage.
Day 1 concluded and Rebels made their way to their camp sites and hotels to recharge for the exciting Day 2 of Carolina Rebellion.