Carolina Rebellion: 2017 Highlights
Cover photo by Benjamin Robson
Highlights of Carolina Rebellion: What You Might Have Missed
The Mid-Atlantic’s biggest rock festival breaks records and expectations
The seventh annual Carolina Rebellion near Charlotte witnessed record attendance of 105,000 festivalgoers, according to The Carolina Rebellion Fan Zone Facebook Page. What’s more unbelievable? The event could have hosted more attendees as it was not sold out.
The extent of organization impressed me, especially with parking, and the replacement of paper tickets with RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chip-enabled wristbands this year proved genius and kept things moving quickly.
Friday was a muddy mess as the Rock City Campgrounds in Concord, NC had gotten soaked from showers on the previous day. Temps remained moderate then turned chilly which is preferable to sweating with absolutely no shade for the entire weekend. Staying warm and dry was not the only challenge with which I was presented.
Boasting over 60 bands in only three days, Rebellion’s overlap in lineup became overwhelming at times. I constantly debated leaving sets early to get a great view of the next great group, but what do you do when you know your favorite songs will be played last? If you’re lucky, the band will open with a hit, as did Highly Suspect with “Lydia”, so you can avoid this dilemma. Swedish melodic death metal group Amon Amarth was my happiest discovery of the day because of their stage presence. We got to see Viking warriors spar with replica swords and shields and most of the band cllimbed aboard the ship to sing or play mid set.
Saturday experienced a slight drizzle mid afternoon. MGK was the most energetic of the small stage performers - I'm pretty sure fans at Rebellion would crowd surf or form a mosh pit for any artist - even a classical composer given the opportunity.
Come Sunday, the grounds had mostly dried out and the sun shone brightly. Nostalgia sank in as I got to see live performances of what was essentially the soundtrack to my high school days : Three Days Grace, Papa Roach, The Offspring and Avenged Sevenfold. (Confession: I still listen to A7X regularly.)
Everything operated smoothly and safely over the weekend. I was surprised by the assortment of vendors and by the presence of certain tents given the genre and mood of the festival. Heavy Grass, self-described as “The Loudest Weed Brand in the World," sold apparel covered in images of cannabis leaves while the Swisher Sweets brand gave away shirts when you took and posted a selfie with their reps and offered deals on cigarillos. A kiosk catering to Dead Heads touted all things tie dye. I did not expect to see such brands at an event geared towards metal lovers and hard rock fans.
Of course, we all saw the headlining acts of A Perfect Circle, Soundgarden, Korn, Def Leppard, The Offspring, and Avenged Sevenfold, and couldn’t miss the prevalent crowd surfing and moshing, but what about those memorable moments off the main stage throughout this rockin’ weekend?
Outfits: It’s more a matter of what wasn’t showcased than what was. I saw a Spider-Man morph suit, Betelgeuse from “Beetlejuice," a slice of bacon, costume, the entire Power Rangers squad, and girls in fishnet stockings paired with tutus. Jeados and micro shorts that read “MOSH” across the rear were popular with the men.
If you weren’t trying to stand out in the mob with your clothing, perhaps attention could be gained from a lack thereof, and I’m not referring to the bikini clad here.
Flashing: Rudimentary signs made from cut out beer boxes simply requested “TITS” and I saw countless ladies oblige and flash their bare chests, a trend unnoticed last year. More comical were the instances when guys dramatically lifted their shirts to elicit cheers and applause from surrounding onlookers. Plenty of people pulled out their phones to Snapchat these moments, but I suggest you use your imagination instead.
Projectile Toilet Paper: I might have just been oblivious, but is this a thing now? Individuals tossed rolls of TP back and forth across crowds and in circle pits.
PBR Graffiti Van: Popular beer brand PBR encouraged rebels to express themselves by grabbing some spray paint (provided) and join in on this group art project. Think organized chaos. After standing to observe and snap photos for mere minutes I had to move on quickly before a paint high set in.
Thanks to Rebellion, the first weekend of May has become a time I look forward to all year, and it's well worth missing out on Cinco De Mayo parties for! I'm grateful that I concluded the festival sans injury and I'm proud to say I resisted the urge to surf this year. 'Til next time - stay metal.