This past weekend, I attended the second annual Firefly Music Festival in Dover, DE—just a two-hour drive from Baltimore. One of the nicest things about the festival was its close proximity, and avoiding a plane ride or 12-hour road trip to get there.
The festival itself was extremely well organized. Signage and parking were easy to find. Additionally, ticket holders were allowed to bring in any empty water bottle or thermos and, once inside, could fill them up at free, filtered water stations. It was such a nice alternative to buying $4 Dasani waters all day to keep hydrated.
On the other side of the coin, there was a lovely, shaded DogFish Head brewery if attendees wanted to beat the heat and grab a brew (we loved the seasonal Festina Peche). Besides the brewery, there were several areas to rest in between acts, including a hammock hangout, a vineyard, and a coffeehouse. Anyone who's gone to a multi-day festival can appreciate these shaded, quieter areas. Another nice touch was a farmers' market for campers to buy fresh produce.
But onto the important part: the music. I enjoyed pretty much every act I saw, but there were obviously some standouts. Saturday kicked off with Vancouver duo Japandroids, whose noisy garage rock certainly woke up any bleary-eyed campers. The band had actually played The Ottobar the night before and concluded their U.S. tour at Firefly. While I had seen them a few times before, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, pictured, were pretty amazing. Though lead singer Karen O's voice is ethereal, her performance was anything but—as she swung the mic, jumped on amps, and generally proved to be a powerhouse.
My favorite performance was probably the Alabama Shakes. This southern rock four piece is led masterfully by Brittany Howard, whose bluesy guitar and vocals mesmerized the entire crowd. Of course, there was Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, who closed down Saturday night. Petty, who seemed much younger than his 62 years, stuck to the classics for the young festival go-ers. The super moon during his set was an added bonus. "You know we've got this crazy moon up there," Petty told the crowd. "That's got to be good for music."
It's abundantly clear after this weekend that the fast-growing Firefly Festival is good for music, as well.