So, I originally had some other posts scheduled for this week, but I wanted to tell you guys about my trip to Firefly Music Festival while it was all still fresh.
For those of you that know me, you know that I’m pretty unabashedly obsessed with this festival. It happens around the second or third week of June annually, at The Woodlands in Dover, Delaware.
Saying I’ve compared it to Christmas would not be a lie.
It started back in 2011, but I’ve been going every summer since 2014 when the Foo Fighters, Outkast and Jack Johnson headlined. Without getting too mushy, it was definitely a weekend that changed my life and made me fall so much harder in love with live music.
Over the years of trial and error, we learned a thing or two about how (and how not) to camp for 5 days without, you know, dying of starvation or heat. When I’d tell people I was sleeping on the ground in Delaware, in 90 degree weather for five nights, an almost resounding response was, “well it’s nice knowing you.”
But for one reason or another, we keep coming back. Through the many highs and many lows, a group of us decide to pack our cars to the brim with coolers, tents, beer, and each other, and make that four hour drive to escape from reality for just a few days a year. We leave our problems, inhibitions, and judgements at the gate and dive into the little utopia the people at Red Frog Events so lovingly create for us year after year.
If you’ve never been to a multi-day music festival, it might be hard to understand just how far your energy and stamina have to stretch to survive from first to last set (a feat I almost never conquer). Between the lack of sleep, intense heat, and the abundance of ice cold beer, the long weekend often blurs together. So much happens in that span of time, and every year I try my absolute hardest to take it all in.
There’s no way a blog post with a couple of photos could even begin to describe what it was like being there, how amazing the performances were, and how wonderful it is to be there with friends old and new. But I’ll try and indulge that just a little with some of my favorite parts of the festival, to give you guys a little taste of Firefly.
Let me begin this by saying that there was absolutely NO show that I did not enjoy at Firefly - there hardly ever is year to year. Aside from any unfortunate technical difficulties, artists play their hearts out, and being in the crowd with other fans is indescribable. I do, however, want to point out how amazing DREAMERS where at their Friday afternoon set at The Coffee House.
This stage is definitely one of, if not the smallest, and lets you get really close to the mucisians, which is awesome. There were a few bands who played this stage alone, but it also acts as a secondary stage where a bigger band will play a stripped down or shorter set. I was so happy DREAMERS did two, because there was no was I was making it into the festival by 1:00 for the first one in the ridiculous heat.
Their song "Sweet Disaster" is one I immediately fell in love with when I heard it on AltNation this past year, and I'm so happy I got to hear this band live.
Bishop Briggs is the next performance that I really wanted to mention. This, like DREAMERS at The Coffee House, was her smaller performance. This set was at my absolute favorite Firefly stage, The Treehouse, which is also much smaller and seems so far away from the rest of the festival, tucked into the surrounding Woodlands.
If you haven't listened to her, DO IT RIGHT NOW. I was lucky enough to see her at Pandora Live a few months ago, and while I didn't think it was possible, she got better. She has the most unbelievable vocal range and such a unique sound - songs you can dance to, bob your head to, or scream along with. I have a feeling she's going to become one of those endearing alt-rock acts that blow up the world like Twenty One Pilots did (and I am so there for it).
An honorable mention I'd like to include before my last "favorite" show, is the Malibu Beach House, right near the Main Stage and the Pavilion. This pop-up bar was actually added last year when Malibu became one of the sponsors, and to my delight, returned once more!
There are two levels and two actual bars in this roped off area, so crowds and lines were really minimal, from what I saw. They served up ice cold, tropical drinks under the cover of a tin roof where you could relax and cool off under a few of their fans, or like, do the limbo with other drunk festival goers if that's your thing.
(It was my thing)
Now I'm not going to lie - the drinks were insanely expensive. Like, rooftop in NYC expensive. But I kind of threw caution to the wind and enjoyed a few Dark and Stormies on their upper deck that gave a perfect view of the Main Stage. I had split up with my friends at this point, so I got a chance to hang out with a bunch of new people and watch AFI perform from that awesome spot.
I can honestly say I've never been moved by a musical performance the way I had by Sir Sly's set at The Porch stage on Sunday, just a few hours before the festival closed its gates. Like a lot of the smaller bands that played at Firefly this year, I'd only really discovered them a couple months ago, so I was amazed at what an experience their set was.
Like most performers, frontman Landon Jacobs began with a few songs we all knew, a few songs we danced along with, then drastically changed pace. He introduced this next song as a tribute to his mom, who'd recently passed, and one that he'd never played in front of an audience until now.
It was such a beautiful song, and while I tried my best to hold it together, I totally lost it when the crowd erupted in applause midway through, and he choked back tears as well. Without sounding too hippy-ish, it was one of those "power of music" kind of moments that reminded me why people come to these kind of events. I'd like to think it's the feeling the creators had in mind when they first conceptualized Firefly.
I can only guess that his emotional performance paired with the looming sadness of this weekend coming to an end is what really made it memorable. I can't put a word to how it made me feel - it was such an intense mix of emotions - but I know it's something that will stay with me forever.
I barely even scraped the surface of how amazing this weekend was, and I feel like I'd just be wasting my time trying to accurately paint a picture of it for you. I guess all I can really say is that, as long as you go in with an open mind and you're ready to sweat, sleep on the ground, and blow out your ear drums in the name of music, you can't miss it.
Until next year!