What’s It Like to Produce a Massive Music Festival Such as Carolina Rebellion?

Interview with Gary Spivack
Senior VP of Festival Talent/Danny Wimmer Presents
Carolina Rebellion
Concord, North Carolina
May 5, 6, and 7, 2017

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Clockwise from Top Left: Alter Bridge, Saint Asonia, Disturbed, Gemini Syndrome, Stitched Up Heart, Pop Evil — Photos by Nici Lucas

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Carolina Rebellion 2017 Lineup

What do you get when you combine three days, four stages, 60-plus bands, and at least 80,000 people? You get the one and only Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion in Concord, North Carolina, the Mid-Atlantic’s biggest rock festival. Held at NASCAR’s Charlotte Motor Speedway, the Carolina Rebellion is a compilation of exceptional bands performing for three days while fans rock the days away.

The 2017 Carolina Rebellion represents the seventh year of this annual event which began in 2011 as a one-day event, on three stages, with about twenty bands. Since then, the festivals’ producers, Danny Wimmer Presents and AEG Live, have grown the event to the massive awesomeness that it is today.

Have you ever thought about what it might take to pull an event like this together? Think about it: securing the bands, acquiring food and drink vendors, implementing the stages, campgrounds, and parking lots, advertising, selling tickets, and assuredly a thousand other tasks to make this huge event all come together. The preparation might be almost larger than the event itself!

To get insight into some behind-the-scenes of the Carolina Rebellion, Adventure Music Life reached out to Gary Spivack, Senior VP of Festival Talent/Danny Wimmer Presents. Check out the interview with Gary and some pics of artists who have performed at the Carolina Rebellion festivals in recent years.

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Left to Right: Gary Spivack/Danny Wimmer Presents, Danny Wimmer/Danny Wimmer Presents, and Joe Litvag/AEG Presents. Photo by Chad Martel.

How is the Carolina Rebellion organized and what does it take to create a festival like this? How does it all come about?
It takes a village…a 365 day a year siege to put it together. We are literally building a city for a long weekend of music, food, beverage and all forms of entertainment for the ticket buyer. We felt the Carolinas were a truly underserved market for a rock festival, and we wanted to supply that to the great rock fans of the entire southeast region.

What is the ultimate role of a festival producer? Securing the artists, schedule, sponsors, venue, vendors, press… Essentially everything? 
Each partner and each executive wears – proudly – multiple hats to make sure everything is executed at Carolina Rebellion. We have a saying, “Never too big to drive the bus.” Meaning, never think you are too big for any job here. We are all equals.

What was the inspiration that started Rock On The Range, leading to Carolina Rebellion (and other similar festivals)? 
There are great festivals around the country and around the world. We started Rock On The Range, just like we wanted to start Carolina Rebellion, because we honestly felt the area, the region and the rock fans were being underserved. We wanted to serve them a great, unforgettable weekend – every year – of the best rock ‘n’ roll and entertainment possible.

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Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion

How would you entice attendance and/or describe to someone who has never heard of Carolina Rebellion? 
It was our goal from day one (and we feel we have achieved this goal) to make the Carolina Rebellion the single best rock ‘n’ roll destination music festival not only in the Carolinas, but in the entire Southeast. We are constantly looking for ways to raise our own bar to make the Rebellion better each and every year.

What is the most exciting or rewarding aspect to being a festival producer?
To watch this “village,” this city that we build come to life. To look out on day one in the late afternoon on one of the stages and see the sea of people. The rock fans that have come from everywhere to converge in Concord, NC to be a part of this beautiful madness…the Rebellion.

Once Carolina Rebellion is planned, secured, and the show begins, when can a festival producer breathe a sigh of relief for a job well done?
We allow ourselves to celebrate, breathe and exhale around 11:01pm on Sunday night at Rebellion. We are serious about what we do. About how we treat the fans, the bands, the staff, and everyone who attends the Carolina Rebellion. It’s our job to make sure everyone around us has fun, has their best experience of the year. Life is hard. We want people who paid their hard-earned dollars, who bought a ticket to Rebellion, to have a “vacation.” A vacation of music, music, great food and drink, great secondary entertainment, and more music.

How does a person become a festival producer? What led you, personally, to this role?
First and foremost, we are music fans. Just like that person who bought a ticket to Rebellion. We are fans, just like that rebel. And we love the community of rock ‘n’ roll. It has an “other side of the tracks” mentality. The underserved, the forgotten voice. We want to make sure that the thousands upon thousands of rock fans know that there is a festival for them, and we want all to come to be a part of it.

Is a love of music a must for a festival producer? Who are some of your favorite artists?
We love rock ‘n’ roll, and bands that have great songs, that believe in their art, and love their fans. Bands such as Metallica, Tool, Rage Against The Machine, Nine Inch Nails, Foo Fighters, Jack White, Slipknot, Avenged Sevenfold, Korn, Five Finger Death Punch, Shinedown, Disturbed, Papa Roach, Chevelle…and so many more. Rock ‘n’ roll is alive and vibrant. Rock is not dead…not by a longshot.

What’s it like to attend the event? Check back in a couple of weeks to find out!

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Myles Kennedy of Alter Bridge, to perform at Carolina Rebellion this year

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Mark Tremonti of Alter Bridge, to perform at Carolina Rebellion this year

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Adam Gontier of Saint Asonia, a previous Carolina Rebellion performer

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Leigh Kakaty of Pop Evil, a previous Carolina Rebellion performer

carolina rebellion adventure music life nici lucas

Hayley Cramer of Pop Evil, a previous Carolina Rebellion performer

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Dan Donegan of Disturbed, a previous Carolina Rebellion performer

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Alecia ‘Mixi’ Demner of Stitched Up Heart, a previous Carolina Rebellion performer

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Aaron Nordstrom of Gemini Syndrome, a previous Carolina Rebellion performer

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Ed Roland of Collective Soul, a previous Carolina Rebellion performer

 

4 comments on “What’s It Like to Produce a Massive Music Festival Such as Carolina Rebellion?

  1. What an interesting article about a massive undertaking that’s done each year! These festival producers are true fans and must really enjoy seeing this “beautiful madness” they have created. The pictures are awesome!!

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