The 3rd installment of Firefly Music Festival is now in the books and it did not disappoint. With 124 acts across 7 stages, Firefly has truly grown into an A-class festival and continues to get bigger.The event drew 80,000 attendees from all 50 states (20,000 more than 2013) but what truly separates Firefly from other festivals is the location. Tucked away amongst the trees behind the Dover International Speedway is the 300 acre plot of land called, “The Woodlands”, where the event took place. Topping the bill this year were the Foo Fighters, Outkast and Jack Johnson. The lineup was solid from top to bottom and offered a variety of different genres of music with throwbacks like Weezer/Third Eye Blind/Beck to current rock stars, Imagine Dragons and Arctic Monkeys. Firefly, known for being more of a Indie Rock/Rock festival, did an excellent job of bringing in some of the World's best electronic acts such as Pretty Lights, Martin Garrix, Cash Cash, Big Gigantic and Girl Talk. I had the privilege of witnessing as many of the acts as humanly possibly along with the tens of thousands of music lovers. I cant wait to share my Firefly experience with you.
Most of performers on day 1 were more on the mellow side but that changed quickly at 10:30 when the Remix Artist Collective (better known as RAC) hit the stage. They closed out the first night on the smaller, more intimate Forest stage against indie rock favorites, Local Natives, who were performing on the Backyard Stage. They really got the crowd movin and grovin playing re-interpretative rock/electronica/dance remixes of artists such as Two Door Cinema Club, The Temper Trap, Lana Del Rey and Phoenix, just to name a few. RAC also played several original tracks ending with their hit,”Let go” featuring Kele and MNDR. It was a perfect way to end day 1 and prepare for the rest of the weekend.
Those who were looking to jump around before the Foo Fighters performed on the Main stage at 9:45pm found themselves at the Porch Stage at 8:45pm for an hour long set from A-Trak. It was a solid set that showcased his amazing ability to scratch on the turntables. The crowd showed a great energy throughout the set and A-Trak's hype man made sure the crowd kept moving. Everyone really went off when he dropped Duck Sauce's, “Barbara Streisand”. Other highlights of the set included him playing his latest collaboration featuring Milo & Otis called, “Out the Speakers” and the oldie but goodie remix, “Heads Will Roll” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Cash Cash closed out Friday on the Porch Stage from 1:10 – 2:00am. Although they only had 50 minutes to work with, they packed in all the hits, mash-ups and bootlegs to the crowds delight. Some of the tracks played in the set included their remixes of Icona Pop's “All Night”,Hardwell's “Dare You”, and Krewella's “Alive”. The set ended with the trio playing the smash hit, “Take Me Home”. This was easily one of my favorite sets from the weekend.
Outkast ruled the headlines Saturday as they had an energetic set that had the crowd hooked from the start. The set started with a bang as they opened up with, “B.O.B”. It was the perfect opener to get the crowd excited. They blew through most Outkast hits (Ms Jackson, Aquemini, Rosa Parks) before Big Boi and Andre 3000 played the hits from the Spearboxx/The Love Below albums. As the set was nearing the end, they finished off the rest of the Outkast hits (Roses and So Fresh, So Clean) and ended with “The Whole World”. It was absolutely amazing seeing Outkast perform. Once the set ended, most people headed toward the Backyard Stage on the other side of The Woodlands to see Pretty Lights and keep the party going to 2am. Pretty Lights (aka Derek Vincent Smith) lived up to his name, lighting up the night sky with an absolutely breathtaking laser display. Early in the set, Dominic Lalli from Big Gigantic, graced the stage with saxophone in hand to perform “Finally Moving”, which was a fantastic version of an already amazing song. Pretty Lights kept the beats bumping and the crowed moving until the last drop. I highly recommend seeing him if you have not already.
As the 4th and final day of Firefly was nearing the end, a massive crowd was beginning to form at the Porch Stage for Martin Garrix. Just minutes before his set was scheduled to start, a white limo arrived behind the stage and out came the 18 year old Garrix, who appeared with a smile on his face. He began to walk toward the stage, gave a look toward the crowd and gave me a thumbs up after i yelled his name. Finally, it was time for the set to begin and Martin killed it. From the first to last song, the crowd was absolutely insane. In fact, at one point he managed to get everyone in the crowd to sit down and jump up on his command when he yelled for the 1,2,3 JUMP! He called it, “The Official Firefly Sit down”. It was truly an amazing sight to see and be apart of. Martin played most of his hits and some awesome bootleg mixes. He also played an unreleased track with Afrojack called, “Turn up the speakers”, which he debuted at Ultra this year. The highlight of the set for me was when he played “Goldskies” because the sun was setting in the background making it a magical picturesque moment. After the set ended, Martin walked off stage back towards the limo where he was dropped off. I yelled for his name again but this time he came over and i was able to get a couple pictures with him. He is a such genuinely nice guy who truly stays humble despite all the hype and fame surrounding him.
Closing out Firefly on the Backyard Stage was the duo Big Gigantic, made up of Dominic Lalli on the Saxophone, and Jeremy Salken on drums. The instrumental livetronica group was the perfect way to end the festival in my opinion. Song after song, the crowd threw whatever glow sticks they had in the air when the beat would drop. The set was supposed to end at 11pm but Big Gigantic was allowed to play an extra 15 minutes. During that time they definitely made the most of it, and kept the crowd moving to the beat. The set concluded with their remix of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' “Cant Hold Us”, then Dominic snapped a picture of the crowd, and just like that Firefly Music Fest was over…until next year (June 18-21, 2015).
Firefly Music Fest was an amazing experience that i will never forget, but it was more than just the music. It was the atmosphere of the Woodlands, it was all the activities in the festival grounds, the food, the camping and much much more. I met a lot of very nice people over the 4 days and was able build memories with these people which i will always have.
Thank you Firefly…Until next time.