Bass chords rocked the field beside the Rockingham Speedway so hard on Saturday that a large dust cloud blew over the thousands of people gathered there for Carolina Rebellion, the second annual rock music festival that featured popular rock bands like Korn, Evanescence, Staind and Five Finger Death Punch.
No one was spared from the dust and mud ran down sweating, shirtless festival-goers. Free water was available and tents with shade and mist offered relief from the sun and the 90-degree weather. People drank from free water bottles, got free refills and didn’t hesitate to pour it all over themselves.
People sat, laid down and slept on the ground wherever they could find space, while others walked and stood around them.
The heavily tattooed crowd remained positive and excited, and the energy rippled through everyone as bands came on three different stages at different times.
While the main Carolina and Rebellion stages, side by side, hosted big names like Slash, the Jägermeister stage off to the side hosted bands like P.O.D. This kept the crowd circulating the fields.
There were merchandise stalls, and food and beverage stalls offered a variety of refreshments.
“Rockingham, are you ready to rock and roll?” called out a band announcer and the crowd cheered and threw devil horns in the air.
The music was so loud you could hear it in Hoffman and Roberdell. You may have heard it in other parts of the county, too.
The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office was on scene, partnering with Rockingham and Hamlet Police Departments and State Highway Patrol to ensure a safe event for everyone.
“What we saw was an event put on by a first class organization,” said Sheriff James Clemmons Jr. “It was really well organized. The patrons of the event were great. I can’t say anything bad about them. They all enjoyed themselves. For an event with more than 30,000 tickets sold, we only had four minor incidents that were all alcohol-related. Some people just got too close to the bands and had to be escorted out.”
Clemmons said the law enforcement enjoyed working together and remained on scene discretely.
“These people came and paid to enjoy themselves, and we said let’s let them do that. It was just a few people that got a little carried away. It was a really great crowd. They were nice people. Nobody complained. Even those we had to escort out were polite,” said Clemmons. “I’m proud of all my officers and our guys are tired now. Today I got a call from one of my deputies who said he was listening to (the radio) and heard them talking about Carolina Rebellion and complimenting us on our good work.”
Co-executive Producer of Carolina Rebellion for AEG Live, Joe Litvag, said he was at the festival on Saturday.
“I think it went great,” said Litvag. “It was a little hot, but we got through that. The organizing went really well and we were very pleased with the outcome.”
Litvag said this year’s location, Rockingham Speedway, was better than last year’s Charlotte location for several reasons; there was more space, a larger area for parking, and better access from all regions.
“Traffic, parking and long lines were the biggest issues (last year) and I think we dealt with that. We solved all of our problems,” said Litvag.
He said working with the county’s law enforcement, local officials and the Speedway staff was a positive experience and contributes to the event staff’s search for a permanent location for the annual festival. Litvag said the event staff has plans for growth and may even expand into a two or three-day event in future years.
“We look at it as a partnership and keep the local community in mind,” he said. “We’ve been looking for a location we could call home for years to come. The multi-day event has been kind of a vision but we want to do it organically, and not get too big too fast.”
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.