All photography credit: Ken Schuler
(PCM) Bonnaroo had better watch out because without a doubt Firefly Music Festival is certainly giving them a run for their money. From Thursday, 6/19 through Sunday, 6/22 over 80,000 music fans gathered together in The Woodlands in Dover, Delaware to celebrate the spirit of music and camaraderie to create one of the most epic parties the East Coast has even seen.There were truly so many highlights from the weekend that I almost don’t even know where to begin!
Headliners for this year’s festival included Foo Fighters, Outkast, and Jack Johnson along with some stellar performances from artists such as Beck, Arctic Monkeys, The Lumineers, Imagine Dragons, Weezer, Childish Gambino and many, many more!
This is the third consecutive year for Firefly and as an attendee for all three years I can certainly see the many changes that have taken place as the festival continues to grow and expand. A major aspect that Firefly definitely got right this year was the placement of the stages. They once again expanded the grounds of the festival, placing the stages further apart so of course there was far less sound bleed between stages, a problem the festival had dealt with in years past.
With expansion, however, comes distance between the stages and one of my few complaints was the sheer amount of walking that you had to do in order to make the trek from one stage to the other and the amount of dust that was kicked up all around the festival grounds. I heard from several sources throughout the weekend that there are plans to plant grass in those dirt/dust-filled areas, so we can certainly hope that this issue will be remedied before next year’s festival.
Watching bands while hiding behind the protection of bandanna covering your nose and mouth is definitely not the best way to enjoy the show. The dust problem mostly occurred by the newly expanded Firefly Main Stage area of the festival grounds, so if you were spending your time hanging out by the Backyard or Lawn Stages it was definitely not so much of a problem over there.
The festival featured air-conditioned arcades, a coffee house featuring board games and acoustic performances by many of the artist’s, a brewery run by Dogfish Head and campgrounds that include amenities like a farmers market, morning yoga sessions and yes, even another stage. We hear at one point on Saturday night, the set from White Panda extended out into the campground area where they played until 5am! So much for sleep!!
One thing I have always loved about Firefly is the awesome art installations, photo-op set-ups, and little escapes such as the Thicket area and the utterly relaxing Hammock Hangout. They provide a fantastic way to recoup for a few moments before heading off to the next amazing performance of the day. These areas were set up beautifully and were definitely one of my favorite areas to visit during the festival.
Another thing I adore about Firefly Festival is the ability to explore and learn about music from every genre imaginable. This year’s line-up featured rock, pop, hip-hop, EDM and everything in-between. It is an amazing place to discover new bands and new music and there is something for everyone’s taste throughout the weekend.
We adored performances from both Kodaline and Amos Lee on Thursday night, Kongos, New Politics, Hunter Hunted, and Young The Giant on Friday, Bad Things, Twenty One Pilots, Unlikely Candidates, Cage The Elephant, Walk Off The Earth, Johnnyswim, The Wild Feathers and X Amabassadors on Saturday and finally, Dan Croll, The Griswolds,Kawhei, Nonono, and Ziggy Marley on Sunday. It was a true mosaic of music over the course of the weekend and we loved the opportunity to soak it all up!