Handy Tips For 2017's Carolina Rebellion

Handy Tips For 2017's Carolina Rebellion

Photos by Gary Carota

The 7th Annual Carolina Rebellion is weeks away, set to take place May 5-7 at the Rock City Campgrounds in Concord, NC. For years, I daydreamed of attending the biggest rock festival in the Mid-Atlantic and last year finally got the balls to go – alone. Little did I know 2016 would turn out to witness a record of 90,000 attendees.

What makes this year different than the rest?

"With a well-mixed lineup of veteran rock legends, top rated up and coming acts, and many of today's favorite rock and metal bands, Carolina Rebellion is once again in 2017, poised to have another record-breaking year, inching ever closer to that 100,000 in attendance mark. With over 90,000 in attendance in 2016, Carolina Rebellion has now solidified its place as the 2nd largest rock festival in the entire country, behind Rock on The Range in Ohio. This year promises a little something for everyone, with performances by Def Leppard, Soundgarden, Avenged Sevenfold, Korn, The Offspring, and A Perfect Circle as this year's headliners," Gary Carota, promoter, and manager of The Carolina Rebellion Fan Zone.

Whether you’re a seasoned Rebellion vet or new to the festival, it’s time to get revved up and ready. General Admission tickets are still available, but VIP and camping packages are sold out according to the official event website. Here’s a bit of what’s happening this year, what to expect, and what I learned from my experience.

There are four stages for simultaneous shows, and the biggest dilemma is deciding whether you want to finish the set out at one stage or leave early to book it across the grounds in time for the next artist.

On Friday, catch major acts Soundgarden, A Perfect Circle, Mastodon and Pierce the Veil and don’t miss Highly Suspect, Volumes and Wage War earlier in the day. Saturday brings variety with Def Leppard, Korn, Sum 41, Chevelle, In Flames, The Pretty Reckless and MGK. Sunday will be a true blowout thanks to Avenged Sevenfold, The Offspring, Volbeat, Papa Roach, Seether, Beartooth, and Fozzy.

Against my better judgment, I crowd surfed midway through Five Finger Death Punch’s set last year and busted my ass. I was dropped and left with contusions, muscle sprains, and bragging rights. One of the nicest guys around made sure I was alright and offered a piggy back ride to the gates. Luckily my medical bills were less than my passes, so I had no regrets (minus the fact that I missed all of Sunday’s shows and stayed home).

From what I’ve heard, the last day is always the best, so pace your energy and enthusiasm so you don’t end up like I did.

Speaking of advice, here are do’s and don’ts:

1. DO pick a party partner - even if you’re attending alone, pair up with at least one person you find trustworthy to watch your six and guard your stuff while you grab drinks or scope out prime vantage points.

2. DON’T arrive late – Living in Charlotte, I waited until the last minute to leave home and arrive at the venue. Plenty of parking was available, but if you wanna be close to the action give yourself more than enough time to get through the gates and get settled.

3. DO travel light – Creativity is key. Tying an oversized flannel shirt around my waist gave me something to sit on and kept me warm when the Carolina night cooled down. If you simply can’t survive without your stuff, rent a personal locker to stow valuables and even charge your phone!

4. DON’T limit yourself – You never know what new show buddies you could make. I was surprised to see rockers from a diversity of backgrounds and ages from 5-year-olds and 55-year-olds! Rebellion greeted me with the same warmth and good vibes that I’ve experienced at less intense festivals. Staff and fans strive to keep each other in good spirits, and most importantly, safe.

5. DO bring plenty of cash - As with most shows and festivals, cash is king and everything costs a little more than usual. Chances are you’ll want merch from your favorite bands and you sure as hell will need drinks (and food) to sustain all that moshing and headbangin’. You can find all types of sweet and savory snacks at the Pig Out Village from Carolina BBQ and roasted turkey legs to Philly Cheesesteaks and Pizza. Rest assured that several vendors offer vegan and vegetarian options, too.

6. DON’T forget to stay connectedThe Carolina Rebellion Fan Zone is the official fan page of the event and a great source for updates and giveaways.

Share these tips with your crew of rebels and stay tuned for more exclusive coverage from Bullet Music on one of the biggest rock festivals in the country.

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