“This is our first show in Delaware” was probably the most common statement for many of the 40-plus acts that were at the Firefly Music Festival held this past weekend in what was known as RV Lot 10 to the NASCAR crowds that attend races at Dover International Speedway. This festival was also Dover Motorsports’ first event of this type and the first music festival for Red Frog Events.
Lastly, it was our first multi-day music festival that we at GCFL have ever attended. I can’t help but to think of the scene in Wayne’s World when they poke fun of there being nothing to say about Delaware other than “Hi we’re in…. Delaware” in an unenthusiastic tone – as if to say “What else is there?” I sort of imagined the artists saying that same phrase when they first step off their tour buses.
So, with all these “first timers” throwing an alternative music festival in the smallest state, anyone would say that is a gamble. Our analysis: it was a hit, though having a casino on the premises played no part in this gamble. It was a great line-up, with the hard work of the behind-the-scenes guys and the execution by the Red Frog staff and partners that made it such a success. I think a little luck with the weather helped, too.
Red Frog Events took a fresh approach to a festival like this – it didn’t look to emulate any other existing one, but instead wanted to brand this festival as its own. Different amenities like the Glamping (glamorous camping), balloon rides and a free arcade were all part of the genius of Red Frog Events. The company even teamed up with local brewery Dogfish Head to create a signature “Firefly Ale” just for the festival.
With a set list that looks like a playlist on Red Frogs’ young executive team iPod, it represented some of today’s hottest acts such as The Killers and The Black Keys, as well as a steady flow of young talent and up -and-comers like Imagine Dragons and Lower Case Blues, with some beat thumping mixes and samples by Bassnectar and Girl Talk to round out the fun.
As I mentioned, it was our first festival. I should say we are veterans of HFStivals and countless shows at all types of venues, but this was our first time attending a multi-day event. We wanted to get the whole experience so we decided to camp. Yep, we roughed it -“sleeping” butt to nut (in very close proximity) to several hundred of our newest, closest friends. This was an experience and felt exactly like being an embedded reporter in the party zone. DubStep pizza late night from one of the half a dozen food trucks that were set up to serve the campers was definitely a popular spot (amazing food too).
Two in the morning is always a good time to get the rundown of every show your neighbors have ever been to, as well as a complete explanation as to why it was the “best show ever.” Of course, there is no better way to cool down after a long weekend of festivaling than with an industrial-size Slip and Slide, complete with enough liquid soap to feel so fresh and so clean (Thanks to the Willey brothers).
The acts and the line-up were amazing. There were some points when trying to decide on which band to see was up for debate with anyone around you. We tend to cover the up-and-comers market and our galleries reflect that, but if I had to hand out some superlatives it might go something like this:
- Best Band to Represent the Local Area – Lower Case Blues.
- Best Most Anticipated Act to See – Imagine Dragons
- Most Eclectic – Felice Brothers.
- Most Surprising Performance – Michael Franti and Spearhead
- Best New Discovery (for me) – Bassnectar
- Best Don’t-Act-Like-It-But-Totally-Are Rock Gods – Death Cab for Cutie
- Best Beer Advocate – Matt Costa
- Insanity (in the best way possible) – Girl Talk
- Best Band There That I Didnt Even See – Flaming Lips
- Best Headliner – Black Keys
Now, these views are strictly my own and I have details and supporting evidence for all these titles, but that may be too much to get into right now. If you’d like to comment, add to or dispute, I welcome the dialogue.
People who attend music festivals on a regular basis would know, and be accustomed to, the attendees of music fests such as Firefly, as a great variety of characters attend. Make sure you check our People Of Firefly photos to see just a sampling of the happy, easy-going attendees of Firefly.
For me there is no greater enjoyment of being able to take in an event like this and to be doing it for the love of covering the narrative of the events taken place. I have a list of memories and quotes in my head that would run like a gag reel from a movie. Little things like promising not to photobomb other media outlets while they interview OK GO, being the only ones drinking beers in the media tent (right before getting ready to interview the event organizers no less), or doing the “Kid n Play” with Natalee while waiting in the photo pit, because for some reason old school rap was playing before Trampled By Turtles performed. But most importantly, we got to meet some great people in the media world and everyone we talked to was polite, respectful and talented, and we hope to see them in the pit some time soon at some other show.
Lastly, but on a similar note, the event organizers at Red Frog Events have a young, professional, and carefree attitude about them. I know that sort of corporate culture starts with the leaders and extends outward. It was visible in all the helpful smiling faces from Red Frog staffers, the professionalism of the Edelman staff ( the PR firm) and even the event security whom were always present to keep things in check, but always there to crack a smile and make a joke.
All of these elements came together beautifully for the weekend of Firefly 2012 and I can’t wait to do it again. Take a look at our view of the entire festival in our photos below. There were some amazing media outlets present to cover this event, some of my favorite pictures were captured by Rolling Stone.