When I tell people I spent my Saturday at a music festival in Dover, Delaware, the general response has been “Delaware?!?” But thanks to the Firefly Music Festival, Delaware was actually a really cool place to be this past weekend for multiple reasons, and thanks to Firefly — the forest has never looked so fly — pun intended. Rich hippies unite!
Located in the United States of America’s first state was the first ever Firefly Music Festival, a three-day event, featuring Jack White, The Killers and The Black Keys as the headliners. At the entrance of the festival there was The Lawn Stage that shared its neck of the woods with The Porch Stage. The Firefly Stage (main stage) and The Backyard Stage were on the other side of the venue and could only be accessed by walking through a large forest area filled with decorations and light-up kites. I have a feeling the forest animals felt a little invaded by it all. The only wildlife that could be found on these grounds were all the devoted music lovers.
The venue was decorated very mystically, with glow-in- the-dark kites hanging from tree-to-tree, hot air balloons and lanterns. To compliment the amazing line-up, were amazing activities such as: hot air balloon rides ($20 a person), the chance to customize your own pair of TOMS ($64), an arcade, and an interactive art gallery where you could create a photo flip-book out of recorded video footage (FREE!).
Delaware’s Dogfish Head Craft Brewery served up their very own Firefly Ale, specially brewed for the event and distributed in the comfort of an air-conditioned sports bar tent/ lounge. There was also an onsite Vineyard that featured a wide selection of wines from Napa Valley East. On my way to the festival entrance I noticed a village of perfectly pitched white tents and my first reaction was “oh no is the venue interfering with some sort of Delaware cult?” But luckily I was wrong — this village was the Firefly Glamping (Glamorous Camping) option. I only bought a day-pass for the festival because I had work Friday and a previous commitment to the beach for Sunday, but if not, this Glamping option seemed pretty baller. This option accommodated two people with a queen or twin beds, breakfast buffet, access to private air-conditioned restrooms, and more! All for the wallet emptying price of $1500, a true bargain for those who are trying to keep their dreadlocks on the cleaner side.
Okay enough with describing the amenities and now time for the good and most important stuff: the music. I arrived just in time to catch the end of Grouplove on The Lawn Stage. Their energy was unreal and the audience really came together like one big dry orgy (interesting)— it was literally a group full of love by the time they played their hit “Tongue Tied” and “Colours.” I then hurried over the river and through the woods to The Backyard Stage to catch the end of The Knocks set. I’m generally not a huge fan of electronic music, but The Knocks have formulated the perfect balance of how to use electronics to enhance already established melodies. Can’t wait for their forthcoming EP on A&M/ Octone Records.
Next up on the main stage were Young The Giant, whose energy level stayed as high as the crowd’s beach balls did during the performance. They were smart to close with their hit “My Body” and even had the members of Grouplove join them on stage to help sing and dance. Chiddy Bang and Cake played at the same time, and this is where there was the most unique contrast within the audience. The die-hard ‘90s geek rock fans, who weren’t concerned about getting a good spot for band-on-deck Modest Mouse, traveled all the way across the venue to go watch Cake. I watched Chiddy Bang so that I would be close to the main stage, and to support my fellow Philly natives. It was a tough decision and I still have serious FOMO from it, especially after hearing all the great Cake reviews. Chiddy got the job done though, as him and Xaphoon never fail to entertain.
Modest Mouse owned the main stage and unlike Governor’s Ball, they played their most well known track “Float On.” The show then went on with Lupe Fiasco, who rocked the Backyard Stage in a grey tank top and shorts. He played a lot from Lasers and The Cool. “Go Go Gadget Flow” really got the crowd’s adrenaline going and it was all upbeat from there. The biggest treat was his performance of “Lightwork” (ft/ Ellie Goulding & Bassnectar) – incredible.
And finally it was back to The Firefly stage to see the main attraction: The Killers and yes they absolutely 100% killed it — not to sound cliché. They played all of their classics including “Spaceman,” “Mr. Brightside,” “Somebody Told Me,” “All These Things That I’ve Done,” and more. They also played their new hit “Runaways” which I was lucky enough to capture a video of (video to come post blog). Fireworks went off randomly starting during the song “Human.” Everyone was surprised, even the security guards. It was an amazing addition to their magical performance that ended with an explosion of glitter that covered the majority of the crowd. They were peer pressured back on-stage for an encore performance and they did not disappoint. They closed with “When We Were Young,” which left everyone more than satisfied and of course included more fireworks.
Overall Saturday at Firefly was a success and I will start saving my pennies now because it has already been announced that Firefly 2013 will take place and presale tickets are already available!
Writer + Photographer | Carolyn Gitomer