Fans of live music enjoy an embarrassment of riches each summer, as the largest concert promoters in the world put on a wide array of jam-packed outdoor festivals. Many people tour the country, hopping from one to the other, joining thousands of other die-hards in the enjoyment of dozens of top-tier acts. Until now, not one of those massive festivals ever happened in the state of Delaware. But thanks to Red Frog Events, that’s no longer the case. And considering how well the first ever Firefly Music Festival went last weekend, it appears residents of the town of Dover, Delaware can anticipate an annual re-occurrence. More than 30,000 fans flooded The Woodlands at Dover, a field and smattering of woods just a half-mile away from the Dover Downs Casino. And word from fans and bloggers who were in attendance was unanimously positive.
No dissection of a music festival can start without taking a look at the lineup, and Firefly certainly didn’t disappoint. Although it can often take fledgling fests a few years to attract marquee talent, this event featured The Black Keys, The Killers and Jack White as the headliners for each night. That’s a lot of star power right there. But the lineup also included indie music mainstays like Cake, The Flaming Lips, Cold War Kids and Death Cab for Cutie, as well as new popular acts like Fitz and the Tantrums, Walk the Moon and Grouplove, meaning there was a little something for everyone.
The design of the stages was also more than up to the task, which is no small achievement. It can be very difficult to feature all of those bands while insuring that tens of thousands of people have steady access, but Red Frog Events set up four stages to accommodate all of that music. Word is the sound quality was strong, after a bit of an issue early in Jack White’s set, and no one had to wait very long for access to the grounds.
Of course, most of the partying at music festivals happens well away from the stages, inside the campgrounds. And the logistics there were equally well conceived. The campsite was kept clean and in good shape, and was laid out close enough to the entrance to the festival area that no one had to walk very far. There was also a luxury camping area, for those that could handle the significant price tag. Security was consistent, but didn’t hassle those just there to have a good time, and the campground turned into a real party as the nights continued.
Even though Dover, Delaware has never held a music festival before, the town took to the insanity like seasoned veterans. Locals were abuzz, and business owners loved the increase in revenues the festival-goers brought into the area. It is a college town, so there were plenty of bars and restaurants to keep fans that stayed in hotels off site quite happy. The Casino saw a spike in business as well, and actually hosted the concert’s after-party. All in all, with an enthusiastic local populace and easy access from New York City, Philadelphia and area airports, it’s clear the event may have found the perfect long-term home. It’s always going to be tough to compete with places like the Red Rocks amphitheater, with a natural beauty that keeps people coming back, but the real live fireflies that dotted the concert grounds each night were just as spectacular a sight, and should bring back even more people for next year’s Firefly Music Festival.