By Kimberly Ilkowski
Do yourself a favor and don’t go to Firefly Music Festival. Once you experience how out-of-this-world incredible and overwhelmingly fantastic it is, going back to normal life is a serious downer. Instead of checking which of your favorite bands is playing, you go back to checking your email. Instead of rocking out to live music, you’re stuck with a quick jam session in your car at a red light.
Attend if you dare, but if you do, get ready for the time of your life.
Firefly Music Festival, now in it’s third year, took place at the newly expanded Woodlands at Dover Downs in Dover, Delaware. Die-hard fans and newcomers alike traveled from every state in the country for four days of live outdoor music spanning Thursday, June 19, to Sunday, June 22. The massive grassy fields surrounded by thick forest were transformed into a community of tents, cars, stages, food stands, shops and more to accommodate the nearly 80,000 attendees.
While some people chose to stay in hotels, my friends and I chose to stay at the campground right outside the festival gates. Several days of using porta-potties makes you miss even the nastiest of communal bathrooms at the College.
As far as camping goes, my friends and I are by no means experts. Who could ever forget the most quintessential part of the tent? My friend, Daniel. We ended up having to borrow stakes from the campers around us just to keep our ancient tent from collapsing on us in the middle of the night.
Sleep was not an option here. Quiet hours began at 2 a.m. with DJs blasting popular music until the very last second. Once I was finally able to rest, I was either waking up before the sun came out to get a shower or burning alive when the sun hit our tent every morning around 8 a.m.
Over a hundred acts were spread equally across seven stages including the Main Stage, which featured the festival’s headliners: Foo Fighters, Outkast and Jack Johnson.
Outkast was a wild dance party from start to finish. Keeping our spots in the front was literally painful — imagine nearly 30,000 people packed together like sardines. Luckily, the second Andre 3000 and Big Boi came out to “Bombs Over Baghdad,” everyone got over the claustrophobia and jumped around like there was no tomorrow.
Other acts included the Arctic Monkeys, who thrust their hips and sauntered around stage as vocalist Alex Turner crooned “Do I Wanna Know.”
Grouplove dove head first into the crowd. Twenty One Pilots climbed the stage scaffolding, and Cage the Elephant had a competition with the audience to see who could get the absolute craziest.
Smaller and lesser-known acts also dominated the weekend. It was the perfect place to discover new music. Bands like San Fermin, Bleachers, Basic Vacation and Washed Out were all new on my radar, and each played an impressive show.
The highlight of my weekend was hands-down the Foo Fighters epic, nearly two-and-a-half hour set on Friday night.
Then, after an adrenaline filled, fists-in-the air scream-along, Dave Grohl and company powered through a five-song encore, which included four classic rock covers and one of my favorite Foo songs, “Everlong.” Grohl gave the crowd everything he had, bouncing around the stage the whole night and even coming down the middle barrier to grab a beer.
Firefly was four days of utter bliss for any true music lover. It was filled with joyous music, rowdy crowds and a communal sense of living with music-loving strangers.
You’ll miss living under the stars and the complete and utter lack of responsibility. Heck, I bet you’ll even miss that crazy guy who played acoustic guitar in line for the showers at six in the morning.