This year, Charlotte Motor Speedway played host to the biggest Carolina Rebellion to date! Selling out the day before the festival, 80,000 Rebels showed up to the Rock City Campgrounds to see and experience two full days of today's best rock bands. Not only was the crowd the largest ever, but the festival grounds itself had expanded to include an additional stage (bringing the grand total to 4), a Ferris wheel that provided a stunning view to the entire grounds, and Crazy Dave's Music Experience where fans were able to go and learn about elements that are involved in making music in a professional band setting. But of course, we can't forget all the bands that played over the weekend--the main attraction.
Day 1, May 2nd, started nice and early with gates opening just after 11 am. There was a sea of people waiting anxiously and those who were in the front sprinted to their preferred stages to get the front row spot for the day. The festival was kicked off with Lola Black on the Jäger Stage at 11:15. The Jägermeister Stage and the new ReverbNation Stage hosted the first bands of the day including the aforementioned Lola Black, Sons of Texas, and Islander. Islander wasted no time during their set and came out strong doing what they do best, which includes frontman Mikey Carvajal jumping into the crowd and rocking out and crowd surfing with the fans.
Opening the Rebellion Stage and the Carolina Stage were We Are Harlot and Nonpoint, respectively. The audiences for the big stages were already packed in and the sight of so many bodies jumping around was pretty amazing. If you weren't jumping around at the beginning of Nonpoint's set, you were definitely jumping by the end. Their live shows are nothing but energetic and their Rebellion performance was no exception. The crowds pin-balled between stages as the stages were taken over by bands including Beartooth, Stars In Stereo, Of Mice & Men, Scott Weiland & The Wildabouts, Periphery, Jackyl, and Hollywood Undead. Hollywood Undead deserve an honorable mention because guitarist Jorel "J-Dog" Decker shared a special moment with the Rebels when he proposed to his girlfriend on stage (she said yes, by the way!). The crowd raced over to the Carolina Stage shortly after to catch Chevelle's set. Even as a 3-piece the brothers owned the stage, playing crowd favorites including "Hats Off to the Bull", "Take Out the Gunman", and "The Red".
Closing out the Jägermeister Stage and ReverbNation Stage were Motionless In White and Cheap Trick, respectively. The audience was even more packed at this point as more people showed up to catch the later bands. Papa Roach stole everyone's attention as they took the Rebellion Stage and opened with "Face Everything And Rise" and continued to play hits including "Getting Away With Murder", and "Last Resort", which had a vocal feature from Islander's Carvajal. Rise Against took the Carolina Stage next and put on yet another energetic set. Guitarist Zach Blair was constantly jumping around and frontman Tim McIlrath didn't let the tall stage hinder him from jumping out into the crowd and bonding with the fans. Sammy Hagar & The Circle got the attention next and played a couple of his classics and shortly after, Marilyn Manson closed out the Carolina Stage with a pretty unforgettable set. Finally, the headliners of the night, Korn, take the stage. They decided to do something special for the night and play their very first album in its entirety--the audience absolutely love it. People who had camped out at the front gate were rocking out like their life depended on it! Austin Carlile of Of Mice & Men took a second and joined Korn on stage to help out with "Ball Tounge" and the audience erupted into even louder cheers. Korn ended their set with encores "Falling Away From Me", "Here To Stay", and "Freak on a Leash".
And so Day 1 of Carolina Rebellion 2015 came to and end and fans filed out of the festival grounds to rest up, let their hangovers set in, and tend to their sunburns--basically all the usual signs of a day well spent at a rock show.