Words by Audra Tracy | Photos by Joe Papeo

Tucked away down the back-roads of Dover, Delaware you’ll find a small city of die-hard music fans. They gather together for 3 days each summer to dance and to sing in worship of the gods of rock n roll. And at this year’s Firefly Music Festival, the gods were good. Very good.

2012’s inaugural celebration turned so many heads that both the audience and acreage doubled in size this time around. And featuring performances by Django Django, Twenty One Pilots, Dr. Dog, Ellie Goulding, Public Enemy, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, Day One of the 2013 event made for an enlightened congregation…

Django, Django

“We’re Django, Django, nice to meet you!”, lead singer Vincent Neff proclaimed as he and his band dug into their afternoon set on the main stage. Footloose fans piled up front to hear songs off the Edinburgh-based act’s debut self-titled LP, an indie rock odyssey that sounds sort of like what would happen if Franz Ferdinand got locked in a room full of Casios. Any band that can pull off a triple-synth throwdown mid-set can come and party with us anytime, and DD definitely delivered on catchy songs like ‘Waveforms’ and the breakthrough hit, ‘Default’.

Twenty One Pilots

Music festivals are a place for intrepid explorers. Some may explore their love for all-day drinking, while others are on a search for their next favorite artist. Wandering the festival grounds can lead you to stumble upon bands like Twenty One Pilots, who made sure to leave an impression during Day 1. Word spread all the way from the far stage that these crazy kids from Columbus were a sight to behold – most notably when lead singer Tyler Joseph climbed 40+ feet to the top of the entire rig of The Backyard. You probably want to keep an eye on these guys…

Dr. Dog

Philly’s own Dr. Dog crossed a few state lines to face a great big turnout on the main stage during a late afternoon set of humble harmonizing. The quintet seemed to fill most of the performance with material off the 2012 LP Be the Void including singalongs like ‘Old Black Hole’, ‘Do The Trick’ ‘Heavy Light’, and ‘How Long Must I Wait’. But even long time fans felt fulfilled by the end, when the good Dr. broke out oldies like ‘The Beach’, ‘Hang On’, and ‘The Way The Lazy Do’.

Ellie Goulding

Ladies love Ellie Goulding, and they packed the Lawn Stage on Friday evening to catch a glimpse of the UK’s latest shooting star. Making her big Delaware debut, Ms. Goulding had quite an affect on the afternoon audience. Mega-fans wept with pure adoration as the songstress got sweet on tunes like ‘Lights’, ‘Under the Sheets’, and of course her latest smash hit, ‘Anything Can Happen’.

Public Enemy

All the hip-hop heads of Firefly rejoiced as these recent Rock & Roll Hall of Famers stormed the Backyard Stage on Friday. ‘Put your fist in the air!’, Chuck D egged on an eager audience as he, Flavor Flav, and their crew cracked their set wide open with the eternal crowd-pleaser, ‘Bring the Noise’. Boasting arguably the loudest performance of Day 1, Public Enemy kept the energy cookin’ as they played their classic 1988 LP It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, from front to back.

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Every band on the line-up (or ever) could learn a thing or two from Friday’s headliners, Red Hot Chili Peppers. This is a band that’s enjoyed so much fame and fortune that they could easily ‘phone it in’ and collect their checks at the gate. But when the West Coast superstars hit the main stage, you could feel the fire burning in their eyes – they were more than ready to bring the house down. Like seasoned athletes, Anthony Kiedis, Flea, & Co. sweat their way through hits like ‘Around the World’, ‘Dani California’,’Otherside’, and fittingly, ‘Can’t Stop’. The true testament to a Red Hot set? When the applause is louder than the amps.

See scenes from Day 2 here, and stay tuned for full coverage of Day 3!



TheWaster.com | Firefly 2013