DOVER, DE—Firefly Music Festival is the ultimate summer getaway. You are camping there for five days (if you had Wednesday Premiere) with all your friends and some of the greatest bands around. This year’s installment was as close to paradise as you could get, especially because this one was a step up from past years. There were new stages, new art features, and new food vendors—including everyone’s favorite, Chipotle. The new art served as a unique landmark to find your friends after getting lost during someone’s set. The Beercade and Dogfish Head Brewery made an appearance again, providing air conditioning, a place to hang and play free arcade games, and of course beer. The Thicket also made a comeback, where if you needed to tune out the festival, you could tune into a Silent Disco DJ and dance in the woods. What was new was the Malibu Beach House, which provided an aerial view of the festival, cocktails, and free WiFi.
Four days, seven stages, and over 80,000 people—this year was colossal. The main stage held some of music’s biggest names, including Kings Of Leon, who played their first show in six months on Friday. Their headlining status came as no surprise to festival regulars. Last year their set was cancelled due to a freak thunderstorm. Saturday, people watched Florence And The Machine belt her songs while prancing across the stage.
Sunday at sunset, we watched Blink-182 teary-eyed and reminiscent, realizing we were still 13-year-olds with blue hair, parachute pants, and scribbles in our notebook. It is just now that we realize we cannot pull off those pants (what were we thinking?) and instead we scribble in these articles. Crowd surfers made their way to the front while they played old hits and especially during their new single, “Bored To Death.” Although we miss Tom DeLonge’s weird pronunciation of words, we must say that Matt Skiba is an awesome addition.
In other music-related news, Jack Antonoff played an acoustic set at the Coffee House Stage presented by StubHub before heading to his own festival Shadow Of The City at Stone Pony Summer Stage. Grouplove dropped the name of their third full-length album, Big Mess, while also kicking off their fall tour. Mumford & Sons, who were given the longest set of the weekend, closed the festival with their familiar banjo melodies and introducing a new African-inspired sound. Also, we discovered that Earth, Wind, & Fire are still groovy as hell.
Some of the up-and-coming acts included Jack Garrett—a one-man multi-instrumentalist act with a strong voice. Catfish And The Bottlemen had an early set on the main stage, but that did not stop the crowd from coming out. The successful band from the UK played hits off their newly released sophomore album, The Ride. The Struts was another band whose voices radiated through the festival. They played their single “Could’ve Been Me” while everyone threw their hands up in the air. Keep them on your summer watch list.
Firefly did quite well in booking a diverse enough lineup that attracted all kinds of different crowds. There seemed to be a spike in the number of families there were there this year, including kids. Like, really young kids. There were more small children with their cool, rocker or EDM parents walking around with that blue hair we once had. Our camping neighbors were these two awesome couples from Washington D.C. If you are reading this, thanks for helping us set up our canopy and for sharing your glow sticks. While waiting on line for a free Bud Light koozie, we met this retired Air Force Officer from Ohio, who was leaving the festival early to catch the Cavaliers vs. Warriors final. We met this girl from Iowa, and we are now in love with her Etsy shop.
With next year’s dates set for June 15-18 and the presale already sold out, Firefly’s brand keeps growing into one of the best music festivals. With 2016’s lineup released last November, assumingly there are only a few more months until 2017’s emerges. With that being said, you will definitely be seeing us again next year. We might even adult it a level more, and rent an RV. Hopefully patience will hold us over until then. Who would you love to see at The Woodlands?
Show date: June 16-19, 2016