The forth annual Firefly Music Festival took place June 18 through 21 at The Woodlands in Dover, DE as 90,000 tickets were sold for the four-day event. Artists heading to The Woodlands included headliners Paul McCartney and The Killers as well as Morrissey, Snoop Dogg, Foster the People, Bastille, Modest Mouse, Zedd, Hozier, Empire of the Sun and Kid Cudi. Nearly 100 additional acts performed across seven stages. Met with inches of rain during the night and blistering heat during the day, festival fans were not discouraged from enjoying over 40 hours of live entertainment.
Aimee Voshell String of Dover, DE attended the festival for the first time this year, camping with friends and family. Her favorite performance for the week was Snoop Dogg as she stated that “he really knew how to work the crowd.”
“I really enjoyed just seeing it all. The people, the food, the bands, it was all just exciting to be a part of it,” stated String. “For me, the best part was just sharing this experience with my friends. What I will remember most about this weekend is all of the laughter and dancing. It was an incredibly fun experience.”
Many people, young and old, were excited for the performance of Sir Paul McCartney on Friday night. He did not disappoint as large crowds circled the main stage for an almost three-hour performance that covered over 50 years of music from The Beatles, Wings and his solo career. Kenney Workman, of Milford, DE, and his partner Rosanne Pack spent all four days at the festival and stated that “the best [performance] was Sir Paul. Besides 2.5 hours of great music, the visuals and pyrotechnic were spectacular.”
Workman and Pack also enjoyed a number of performances including AWOL Nation, Foster the People, Cage the Elephant, and Snoop Dog. “This is our second year at Firefly and what I enjoy the most is hearing music that we may not be familiar with and the chance to connect with friends and have a good time,” said Workman.
On Saturday, music fans enjoyed performances including Foster the People and Sublime with Rome but missed the headliner Kings of Leon as their act was cancelled due to the threat of incoming severe weather. Approximately thirty minutes before the headliner’s Firefly debut, event organizers informed the 90,000 plus attendees and staff that they would all need to “evacuate the festival grounds and seek shelter.” The severe weather included torrential downpour, flooding and isolate thunderstorms as some weather stations even reported the possibility of tornadoes. Fans exited the festival among the sea of people in what can be described a fairly organized fashion. Festival goer Shelby DiCostanzo, of Milford, and her husband Kevin were among the tens of thousands of fans exiting the venue at once.
“It was an intense experience which became scary when we realized both exits were mobbed. In that moment we had to accept that we were trapped on the grounds for at least a half hour more,” said Shelby. “If VIP didn’t start letting people through to exit, we would have been stuck in storms in the middle of a field.”
The additional acts for the evening were also cancelled as the severe weather alerts remained through 5am Sunday morning. On Sunday, the festival grounds had major flooding but that did not discourage individuals from seeing performances by Snoop Dogg,The Killers and over 30 additional artists.
Event organizers and the State of Delaware are excited to evaluate the economic impact of this year’s Firefly Music Festival as last year the festival contributed more than $68 million to the regional economy and created the equivalent of 579 full‐time jobs in 2014, according to a study conducted by the Center for Applied Business and Economic Research, part of the Alfred Lerner College of Business at the University of Delaware. In addition, state, local and federal tax contributions as a result of toast year’s event at Dover International Speedway totaled $9.9 million.