Words by Cher Dunn | Photo by Joe Papeo
Firefly is one of our favorite festivals every year, and this year’s event is keeping that streak going. There’s something magic about the festival- firstly, the setting. “The Woodlands” of Dover, Delaware are vast, filled with stunning forests and pockets of trees for shade, which Firefly sets up with hammocks overlooking several stages. There were picnic benches, chairs and hammocks set up in VIP you could chill on while watching some of your favorite artists rocking the main stage, or (even better) you could just run up and get up close and personal with your friends to dance to your favorite bands. As you walk to and from the main stages, you cross a massive field lined with food trucks from near and far, with every kind of treat you could think of.
But the best part about the fest – besides the music of course – are the people that go to Firefly. Everyone I’ve encountered the past couple of years are ecstatic music fans: happy to be there, meet and dance with new people, and genuinely look out for each other. It’s a laid back, amazing festival environment and I hope it continues to stay that way. This year’s lineup was “fan-curated” and included The Weeknd, Muse, Twenty One Pilots, The Shins, Thirty Seconds to Mars and many more. Here’s a breakdown of our favorites from each day:
On a day that included artists including K Flay, OAR, and Kaleo, Maggie Rogers’ set was complete magic. Firefly is one of the first festivals she’s been to, as she hails from Eastern Shore, Maryland. This is the start to many festivals she is playing this summer, and it felt like a hometown show for her as many of her friends and family were able to attend. She was even joined on stage by fellow artist, friend, and her NYU classmate Fletcher for a cover of Spice Girls’ “Wannabe”.
Glass Animals were the perfect ending to the opening day of the festival. The gorgeous weather during the day led flawlessly into a warm night lit up by their stage, as they kicked off their set with a bang playing, “Life Itself” from their 2016 release, How To Be A Human Being. The set was a perfect mixture of their two albums and an endless dance party/sing-a-long. The crowd was electric and wouldn’t let them leave without an encore – and the band obliged by returning for two more songs including fan favorite, “Pork Soda”.
Day Two’s lineup included headliners Twenty One Pilots, Flume, Weezer and Miike Snow, but we were most excited about AFI and Franz Ferdinand. Both bands proved the heat was no match for what they were bringing with their live set. AFI matched their vocal acrobatics with an insane performance kicking off with “Girl’s Not Grey” and ending with their classic “Miss Murder”.
Franz Ferdinand played to a massive crowd gathering around the main stage to hear tracks off their 2004 self-titled debut album including “The Dark of the Matinee”, which started off their set. Favorites “Do You Want To” from their 2005 album You Could Have It So Much Better, “No You Girls” from 2009’s Tonight, as well as new tracks off their upcoming album including “Huck and Jim”, “Always Ascending” and “Paper Cages” also filled the set. Even with a new additions to the band’s line-up, Franz Ferdinand proved that their music and live shows are a giant dance party you don’t want to miss, festival or not.
Day Three hosted huge headliners: Bob Dylan, Chance The Rapper and The Weeknd. With so many great artists to catch it was exciting running from stage to stage, and genre to genre – taking in some Bob Dylan, then Galantis and Cashmere Cat, before catching an epic performance from The Weeknd, who performed a hauntingly beautiful set to a massive crowd. He started his show off with “Starboy”, then followed by flying through the hits including “Often”, “Wicked Games”, “Earned It” and “Can’t Feel My Face” before ending his set with “I Feel It Coming”.
The Weeknd sounded perfect vocally, not to mention the great additional backup vocals provided by the Firefly crowd, who sang every word back to him while dancing into the night. This unforgettable headlinging set felt like the kick-start to the night, which continued with performances from Chance The Rapper and White Panda until 2am.
The last the day of the festival featured an epic send-off from top acts like Muse, The Shins, Thirty Seconds To Mars, and Dillon Francis. One of our favorite shows of the day was Bishop Briggs’ set on The Forest Stage. A super-sweaty dance party took place under the shade of the trees in the forest for her electrifying, bass-heavy gig. Bishop Briggs needs to be on your radar now – you do not want to miss her live in a city near you.
Bleachers rocked the afternoon into next year’s Firefly Festival with a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way”, and our favorite Bleachers tracks “I Wanna Get Better” and “Don’t Take The Money”. Thirty Seconds To Mars added some rock and roll heat to start off the night, thrilling a massive crowd on the Firefly Stage. The Shins soundtracked the sunset with favorites including “Caring Is Creepy”, to “Simple Song”, “New Slang” and ended with “Sleeping Lessons” which included a mini-cover of Tom Petty’s “American Girl” seamlessly sewed into the track.
Firefly 2017 ended with a electric set from Muse and a massive dance party with seemingly thousands of glow sticks firing off through the crowd during Dillon Francis’ fiery finale. Needless to say, we can’t wait for next year.
Stay tuned for more photos coming soon!
TheWaster.com | Dover