By DNC In-house WBT Reporter
Late afternoon storms forced an early end to the uptown CarolinaFest block party kicking off the Democratic National Convention.
James Taylor, whose scheduled hour-long concert was the finale of the daylong festival, ended his set after two songs.
The festival was delayed earlier in the afternoon as a wave of storms rolled through uptown. Performers returned to the stage, only to have a second set of storms force the cancellation.
It was a soggy end to a party that had thousands standing shoulder to shoulder on five-blocks of Tryon Street.
"We're having an awesome time," said Mickey Cantor, who came up from Atlanta.
Many took the city's advice and used the LYNX light rail line to the festival. "Like a can of sardines," said one man emptying out of a cramped train at the Stonewall Street station.
Mayor Anthony Foxx began the party by boasting of Charlotte's hosting of the convention - and President Obama.
"I believe in my heart and soul that President Obama is the right leader for this country," Foxx told the cheering crowd.
Earlier, Foxx told reporters at a news conference North Carolina "will be tight this year," but remains a state Obama "can absolutely win."
The three-day convention gavels to order Tuesday. Convention organizers said speakers would focus on strengthening America's middle-class.
A few blocks from the uptown block party, Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman, opened a GOP "war room" at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
"The thrill and pixie dust of the Barack Obama presidency is gone," Priebus said at a news conference.