“Helloooo Delaware! This is our first time here!” It was a phrase shouted out over and over again by many of the bands performing at Firefly Music Festival in Dover this past weekend. It was also, more than likely, a sentiment shared by 80 percent of the audience, judging from the amount of cheers elicited in answer to the “who’s from out of town?” call. But Delaware, and Dover in particular, did a fine job in inviting music-lovers into their backyard for three days and playing host to the inaugural Firefly Music Festival.
With a line-up that included The Killers, Jack White, The Black Keys, John Legend, Lupe Fiasco, Girl Talk, Young the Giant, Yeasayer, Modest Mouse, The Flaming Lips and oh-so-many more, the organizers showed they were serious about making an impression on the US music festival scene and creating an event that would sit alongside annual showdowns like Bonnaroo, Sasquatch and Lollapalooza.
The 3-day event drew an estimated 30 000 revellers to the Woodlands – an 87-acres spot just behind Dover’s International Speedway, where four stages were set up for the event. It was a lovely setting, complete with shaded woody areas for hammock-laying and tree-gazing, and the amenities were well taken care of. But it was, as it should be, all about the music.
Day One saw the likes of John Legend making sweet sounds with his soul-infused band, OK GO! thrilled the audience with their energetic set, and Walk the Moon’s show was high-octane and full of love, complete with their hit single, Anna Sun. Silversun Pickups played the Backyard Stage, and to finish the day on a high – Jack White took to the main stage with his dapper-looking band (even his stage-hands were dressed in bowler hats) and performed while the audience got drenched in the rain. To see the interaction between him and his band-mates – especially drummer Daru Jones was a highlight within a highlight. The whole show was worth getting frizzy hair for.
The highlight of Day Two was undoubtedly the Killers performing together again, after about a two-year mini-hiatus while band members pursued solo projects. It was an uplifting set which lasted over an hour and half as they played their hits and also three new tracks, Runaways, the recently-released single, as well as From Here on Out and Flesh & Bone. All have those familiar soaring choruses the Killers are known for. Opening with Somebody Told Me and Smile Like You Mean It, the group continued to thrill the audience with hit singles like Mr. Brightside, Human, All These Things That I’ve Done and When You Were Young – all of which the audience sung along enthusiastically to leaving lead singer Brandon Flowers stating: “Delaware…who would have thought?” Oh, and the fireworks and confetti were a nice goosebump-inducing touch.
Day Three had a slightly more chilled vibe to it, with The Head and the Heart playing a gorgeously-paced set that included Lost in My Mind. But sets by Girl Talk and Tinie Tempah, as well as the party that spilled out of the stage when The Flaming Lips performed, made this a Sunday Funday to remember. The Black Keys closed out the night and the festival, with some brotherly rock ‘n roll swag.
The Flaming Lips
Young the Giant
The stand-out music performances, the lush setting and great amenities, together with the on-time schedule of the line-up as well as the friendliness of the people (even the security guards are nice), makes this a festival worth travelling to Delaware for. Even if it is your first time.