Dover, Rock City

Photo Essay: Firefly Music Festival

Culture By Photo by JG

The Firefly Music Festival announced its lineup Tuesday morning for the June 21-23 extravaganza, which descends upon Dover, DE this year in only its second iteration. The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Tom Petty & the Heart Breakers are main headliners along with co-headliners Vampire Weekend and Foster the People. Add to those a very strong undercard of Dispatch, The Lumineers, Avett Brothers, Calvin Harris, and Matt & Kim to name a few, and you’ve got the makings of an epic weekend, filled with 64 serious acts in all. We highly recommend rounding up your friends and snagging tickets today at noon (hurry up!) when they launch — because we were lucky enough to experience the event last year, and it was an impressive first showing, indeed.

Five Tips From a Last Year’s Fest

Bring baby wipes: While tp was plentiful, after three days of sweating and not showering, econo tp can be a little…rough. Plus it’s a good way to clean up when showers are hard to come by.
…And a refillable water bottle: Save a lot of money on water. More importantly, there’s not much shade at festivals so you’ll get thirsty quick — even more so when you’re drinking some Dogfish Head.
…And a tailgate tent: It’s like a camping ground living room — the hub of the fun outside the festival, and key if it rains.
Consider walkie talkies: When you drop 30,000+ people into a sparsely populated area, you’ll find the cell towers get overloaded real quick. And once you lose your friends amongst all those people you won’t find them again.
Bring lots and lots of sunscreen: 10 hours in the sun drinking beers makes for sunburn like you never want to have. DON’T be that guy.

Chicago-based Red Frog Events (the minds behind Warrior Dash) launched Firefly last year in hopes of bringing the experience of a big, high-end festival (i.e. Coachella or Bonaroo) to the East Coast. Jack White, The Killers, and The Black Keys were all the convincing we needed to make the pilgrimage down the seaboard with some friends, a bunch of tents, a backpack full of camera gear, and a healthy dose of skepticism.

Why skepticism? Well, the unfortunate fact is that while music festivals usually are a good way to pack a lot of music into your summer, they also tend to have quite a few issues. Things such as noisy and dirty camping grounds, inadequate bathrooms and insanely priced food and drinks can turn an interesting outing into a long weekend nightmare. Not one of those things came to fruition at Firefly. The entire weekend was well run, timely, and a hell of a lot of fun. Beer and food was plentiful and reasonably priced (Dogfish Head even brewed a special Firefly beer). Most importantly the porta-potties were everywhere, clean, and well stocked with tp. Details like a shaded hammock grove, air-conditioned Dogfish Head Beer Garden tent and hot air balloon rides just added to the fun. Come Monday morning we had 80 gigs worth of pictures, a lot of good stories, and a healthy dose of respect for Red Frog’s party-throwing acumen.

Logistical stuff notwithstanding, we were there for the music, and we weren’t disappointed. The three main acts lived up to their billing, though Jack White had some sound issues initially. Shows started in the late morning on one of the four stages and continued until around 11pm. Just like this year, the mix of bands was a perfect blend of major names and solid up-and-comers. The Black Keys were everything we’d hoped for, but for pure fun, nobody could touch Greg Gillis, the man behind Girl Talk. For close to two hours he worked the crowd into a dance frenzy playing the second to last set of the entire weekend. Balloons, tp, leaf blowers and confetti guns made it a party more than a concert. “I Got Mine”  by The Black Keys seemed a fitting end to the weekend. We truly did get ours for the three full days.

Tickets are on sale today (Thursday, February 21) at noon. Thank us for the tip on June 24th. In the meantime, take a look at our shots from last summer.