Joe Litvag Talks "Carolina Rebellion"
Wed, 02 May 2012 08:18:25
On Saturday May 5, 2012, Carolina Rebellion will take over the Rockingham Speedway.
The festival boasts some of the best and brightest acts in modern hard rock and heavy metal including Korn, Shinedown, Staind, Five Finger Death Punch, Slash, Evanescence, and many more. Coming hot off the heels of last weekend's Welcome to Rockville, Carolina Rebellion is truly a dream for modern rock fans Fueled by Monster Energy, this is a lineup for the ages, and it's not to be missed.
ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino sat down with Joe Litvag, co-executive producer of Carolina Rebellion for AEG Live in this exclusive interview…
In your opinion, what separates Carolina Rebellion from other festivals?
Honestly, no two standalone festivals are alike. That’s what differentiates them from the average amphitheatre tour. Each one is a separate, living and breathing thing. In the case of Carolina Rebellion, it’s many things. It’s the specific artists, it’s the location, and it’s the camping. All of those things make Rebellion a little bit different from any other.
How do you go about choosing the lineup?
The lineup is truly something that we spend a lot of time on. Once the festival ends, we immediately go to work on kicking around talent ideas for the next year. There is a group of five of us from AEG Live and Right Arm Entertainment that offer our opinions, and we also listen closely to our whole festival team, as well as to the fans. The master list probably starts with over 100 artists, and over the course of many months we narrow it down to a workable number. Headliners usually come first for us, and then we focus on filling out the rest of the bill with mid-level and young acts that will complement those headliners. When all is said and done, it takes us a good 8-9 months of discussion to get the lineup finalized.
Does the Rockingham Speedway add a certain vibe to the festival?
We think so, yes. Finding the right site for a festival is a key component to success. We had a great green space last year in the Charlotte metro area, but we found that we were somewhat hamstrung in some key areas including traffic, parking and festival entry, due to the location. Because of what we learned, we knew we needed to find a new home for Rebellion. We spent months searching all over North and South Carolina and ultimately settled on the green space at Rockingham Speedway because of its central location between many of our major markets, ease of entry from multiple access roads, and the ability to grow the festival in future years with camping, multiple festival days, etc.
Is there a song you can't wait to hear from one of the band's performing?
I don’t know if there is a specific song per se, but there are several bands that I am really looking forward to seeing. Personally I’m a big fan of Shinedown, Five Finger Death Punch, Halestorm, and Volbeat, so those will all be exciting for me. However, I really do love watching everyone, from the smallest acts to the headliners. It plays a big part in how we, as producers and promoters, learn about the talent and the fan reaction to the talent.
How have things evolved this year on the festival?
2011 was our inaugural year, so we learned a great deal and have made a lot of changes in addition to the site. Our belief is that the fan experience will be even better this year with more room to move, more on-site parking, a large VIP area and many more concession stands, among other things. But the biggest step that we’ve taken is adding the camping experience to Rebellion. Since our new home is located over an hour or more away from Charlotte, Raleigh, etc., we wanted to give the fans an opportunity to spend the weekend with us at the Rebellion Campground located next to the festival site. Fortunately, our camping packages are sold out, so there are a lot of people taking us up on the idea. It should be a lot of fun.
What was the first festival you ever attended?
For me, being a Midwestern guy, it was Monsters of Rock with Van Halen and Metallica in Kansas City in 1988. I was just going into college and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. After seeing that show, I knew I had to get into the live music business to be a part of what was happening on stage. It was an incredible day, and one of the most fulfilling things for me is that 20-plus years later I get to work as a producer and promoter with those bands I saw that day and of course many, many others.
What's next for Carolina Rebellion?
First things first, we are 100% focused on having a memorable and safe weekend this weekend in Rockingham. Once the festival is over, we will start our process again for 2013. I think there is a decent chance that we will expand to two days in 2013, and at a minimum we will work on growing the site even more and adding more camping. It’s hard to predict the future, especially with a living, breathing thing like a festival, so we will just stay focused on delivering for the fans and the bands, and the rest will come to us naturally.
Will you be there on Saturday?