Firefly music festival headliners bring Coachella vibes to the East Coast

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Firefly music festival headliners bring Coachella vibes to the East Coast

Allyssa DelVecchio / Journal Contributor

Allyssa DelVecchio / Journal Contributor

Allyssa DelVecchio / Journal Contributor

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Fear of missing out — popularly referred to as FOMO — from the seemingly endless social media posts about music festivals are never ending, and as college students, you can’t possibly spend hundreds of dollars every time another festival pops up. However, if you’re looking for the Coachella experience for a cheaper price and a little closer to home, the one music festival that is worth every penny is Firefly Music Festival in Dover, Del.

Since they bought the festival in 2018, the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) has slowly mastered capturing the feeling of Coachella on the opposite side of the nation. However, even though AEG has a demonstrated history in putting on successful and organized festivals, some patrons believe that it lacked the charm it originally had. 

“The Festival didn’t seem as authentic and unique as it did last year,” said Suffolk student, Ashley Pezzella, who attended Firefly for the second time this year. “It was still amazing, but there was something about it that seemed forced in a way.” 

Nevertheless, the extra attractions like the silent disco and butterfly tent the festival added this year were secondary to the incredible lineup they presented, which is mostly due in part to Firefly’s new talent buyer, Alicia Karlin. This year’s headliners were heavily skewed towards rap with Post Malone and Travis Scott headlining Day 2 and 3, respectively, but that does not necessarily mean that the entire festival reflected that. With popular genres from electronic dance music to indie pop, Firefly played tribute to the popular East Coast genres. 

Amazing things have been said about the live performances of Brendon Urie, the lead singer of the Day 1 headliner Panic! At The Disco, but to see him in the flesh was nothing short of magical. Urie hit every remarkable element a good concert should have — which is no surprise given their lasting success since the band formed in 2004. Each time he trilled his voice or sent a coy wink over to the camera, the crowd was sent into such a frenzy you’d think you were at a 2012 One Direction concert. He played songs from his newer albums, while also appealed to the inner-emo in all of us by performing older singles as well. The set list was perfect for newer listeners as well as die-hard fans, especially in conjunction with his Broadway vibrato and anti-religion imagery that truly made us feel like we were all writing sins (not tragedies) together. Though band members have cycled in and out throughout the years, Urie showed throughout the entire performance that he belongs in the spotlight and truly is the greatest showman.

The only criticism for the headliner lineup was Travis Scott, who relied too heavily on the light and set design of his show (which was, to be fair, visually stunning) to make his performance worth watching. But, as a headliner, your job is to bridge the gap between die-hard fans and those who only know one song, not just have a pretty stage to run around on. Travis Scott had only two major radio hits this year with “Antidote” and “Sicko Mode,” so he was already at a major disadvantage. Not everyone knew the majority of his song set list, and the connection he had with the crowd didn’t run as deep as the other two headliner’s performances. It wasn’t even worth staying for the rest of the show because even though the set was chaotically gorgeous with the glowing neon carousel and an 100-foot-tall raggedy teddy bear, his crowd banter was boring, repetitive (there are only so many times one can hear “*insert city*, make some noise!”), and insincere when he tried to connect with the crowd. If you weren’t a Travis Scott super fan, you probably wouldn’t have enjoyed the show. 

Day 3’s headliner, Post Malone, drunkenly came out on stage 10 minutes late on Sunday with a red solo cup in his hand. If this was anyone else, it would be unbelievably unprofessional, but this is something very on-brand with Post Malone and, ironically, added to the performance as a whole. Malone — while being one of the biggest names in rap right now with almost all of his singles getting air-time on major radio stations since “White Iverson” — has a reputation for being a down-to-earth, beer-and-cig-loving 23-year-old. Even when he came on stage, he introduced himself as Austin Richard Post, and how he got a little too tipsy on beer pong before the show— something a great deal of us can relate to. Young Stoney beautifully wrapped up Firefly as a whole with beautiful, yet modest lighting and fog techniques that made the entire stage look hazy, almost like we were all one in a drunken stupor together.

Firefly was an unforgettable experience and is often overlooked, especially in the Northeast with festivals like Boston Calling and Governors Ball overshadowing it. Next summer, for those interested in venturing out of the Northeast, Dover should be your next stop. However, if you’re not keen on camping, though, maybe try a Holiday Inn instead of a tent.

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