The Carolina Rebellion Festival laid out its spread of bands, food, and beautiful weather to the delight of over 60,000 fans.

Carolina Rebellion featured two days, four stages, and over 40 bands. The temperature was near 80 without a drop of rain. A polar opposite from the double emergency evacuations the previous weekend at the Welcome to Rockville Festival in Florida. Dry and dusty was the Rebellion, but plenty of drink and food to keep any music fan content.

After two years as a brand ambassador and chef for Jagermeister, New York chef Chris Santos brought his unique blend of barbecue to Charlotte, North Carolina for the Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion Festival. Developing Jagermeister based recipes for clients, business functions, and promotions Santos was asked to participate in the Rebellion festival to showcase some of those efforts for the fans at the festival. As a lifelong metal and rock music fan himself, the decision was an easy one.

In an interview a few days before the event Santos took a few minutes to answer some questions about festivals, Carolina barbecue, what the festival goers can expect, and even who he hopes to see this weekend at Rebellion.

NRR: How to you see the festival experience from a business perspective for those outside the music industry?
Chris Santos: I’m going to be there primarily to spread the gospel of Jagermeister which is a great and natural partner to the rock and metal bands that are going to be there, and the fan base that’s going to be there. I’m also going to be selling my barbecue sauce there and it will be marketing in a rock and roll way. I think as long as you are pairing within a festival, it can really work. My experience in recent festivals is that food is a big part of it, with food trucks and a lot of local favorites, as well as bringing in a lot of craft beers and specialty spirits such as Jagermeister and the response has been really tremendous. I think it just really adds value to the fans price of admission.
NRR: Do you yourself attend music festivals as a fan and if so, who do you hope to see at this year’s Carolina Rebellion Festival?
Chris Santos: Oh yes. I’m a lifelong heavy metal fan. I’m 44 but musically I’m still 14. So I go to as many shows as I can and for this festival, there’s a lot of bands I want to see. It’s embarrassing to say that I’ve never seen Cheap Trick, so I’m excited to see them. And on the token any chance to see Slayer and Marilyn Manson especially outdoors is a special kind of experience. So those three are at the top of my list, but most of the bill I’m super excited about.
NRR: Have any of the musicians here in attendance already experienced the Chris Santos Jagermeister barbeque?
Chris Santos: Sure yeah. Slayer, Korn, Chevelle, and Halestorm to name a few have been to the New York restaurant and I have Jagermeister to thank for introducing me to so many musicians through its various sponsorship. And I am sure by then end of the weekend I will meet more and they will experience the barbecue as well and new friendships like those I already have with Slayer and Halestorm will be formed.
NRR: The Carolinas are known for their unique type of barbecue. How does a chef from New York win them over?
Chris Santos: I think that flavor trumps everything. I’m not trying to go down there and say that I’m better than anything that can be found down there…that would be ridiculous…I wouldn’t even pretend to think that I can compete with the tried and true recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. What I can say is that I do something a little bit different that sort of embraces the idea behind what you guys do, but it is different. At the end of the day, flavor wins out all the time.
NRR: How has the Jagermeister glaze been received among your New York customer base?
Chris Santos: When Jagermeister first approached me to start developing a menu and start cooking to show that there could be something other than just an ice-cold shot. And I pretty much assumed I would have some measures of success but I didn’t really quite realize just how successful it would be. There are a lot of flavor notes in it like orange, cinnamon, allspice, and licorice and if you work off that and use that as a foundation, you can usually make some great dishes. With the natural sugar in it, I found that it can make a great barbecue sauce, a great steak marinade, and it’s really great for things you prepare over an open fire. I ended up with Jagermeister items on my menu and they do very well. People love ’em.
NRR: What can fans expect at the Carolina Rebellion Jagermeister tent?
Chris Santos: I think they can expect that, with the combination of music and food, I am a really fun guy. My TV personality can seem a little different but I am a fun, regular guy.
NRR: Who is your favorite band…here at the Rebellion or not?
Chris Santos: I just had a long, alcohol-fueled discussion the other day about this very question, but I would have to say that historically it would have to be Faith No More. Actually a close call between them and the Deftones for me, but Faith No More takes it by a smidge.

A chef with a penchant for metal music and festival for the masses. The Jagermeister tent smokey with the grills clearly had a fan base as the lines were as long as those packing into the neighboring stage to see such bands as Hatebreed, Tremonti, Lola Black, and In Flames. The smoke from the grills matched the dust of the venue as the 60,000 in attendance traversed the grounds from stage to stage to enjoy all the music.

Headliners for Saturday included Marilyn Manson, Rise Against, and Korn, with Sunday being Godsmack, Slayer, and Slipknot. During the two-day festival, the bands in attendance also included: Exodus, Butcher Babies, In This Moment, Halestorm, Sammy Hagar & The Circle, Hollywood Undead, Chevelle, We Are Harlot, Papa Roach, Starset, The Pretty Reckless, Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators, Young Guns, Breaking Benjamin, Suicidal Tendencies, Queensryche, Cheap Trick, Testament, Beartooth, Periphery, Motionless In White, Of Mice And Men, Nonpoint, Scott Weiland & the Wildabouts, Islander, Stars In Stereo, Jackyl, and Sons Of Texas.

The music was loud, the food was abundant, and the drinks were cold. Along with a large variety of vendors and even a ferris wheel, it was an easy way to lose yourself for two long days. As the festivals continue to grow, and fans continue to sell them out,  you can probably expect to see promoters continue to provide more space and more entertainment to an ever-growing fans wanting to spend two, and sometimes three days rocking out to so many bands.

Carolina Rebellion
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Chef Chris Santos
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About The Author

Photojournalist

Photography has always been part of my life. From the days of film back in the early 80s to present day digital. The view has always been the same...to capture an emotion, a moment, a feeling, or provoke a thought. Since the early days I’ve had the opportunity to capture sports, weddings, architectural details, wildlife, automobiles, landscapes, concerts, and portraits. Be it an album cover, advertisement, newspaper, magazine, gallery, or social media, my greatest joy comes from knowing someone loves my work enough to place it in their own home. That is true satisfaction...knowing that I have touched something deep inside another person’s soul. I am a native Floridian currently residing in St. Augustine, Florida. A proud graduate of Flagler College and a lover of music and small details that go unnoticed by most, I continue to explore the reaches of my own mind through writing, photography, and constant introspection.

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