**I want to start by saying that I did not take any of these pictures. I saved them on my computer as I was browsing Facebook, Twitter, exc and lost track. If you want credit or your photo removed just ask and I will be happy to do so!**
Firefly was one of the most incredible things I have ever experienced. I knew it would be, but still I was unprepared. This weekend I experienced pure ecstasy, and I am not talking about the drug. It was just unreal. Four days spent surrounded by thousands of people with the same love for music.
This is going to be a long one… but aren’t they all?
I never thought I would go to a music festival. The thought kind of intimidated me. You see videos of the crowd and it just looks so overwhelming. I guess I figured if I went I would always be too far away to see the stage since I am so short. I am not an outdoorsy person, so camping seemed like a miserable experience. Plus, how do you decide what bands to see with all those stages. I am sure there were more reasons of why I didn’t think I could handle a festival, but they all are buried now that I have experienced it.
So what changed my mind?
In the last year I have thrown myself in the concert community head first. Talking to so many music and concert lovers from across the US. Their festival experiences began to make me envious. They were also people just like me, if they could do it SURELY I could right?
Then the lineups started to be released. Social media was flooded by my concert friends promoting the festival they were going to and my favorite bands announcing their upcoming shows. It was all unescapable. I even participated in announcing the Bonaroo line up. Then the Firefly line up was announced. The Killers, Bastille, The Griswolds, Walk the Moon, and Awolnation were enough to make me want to go. Then there was this blurred headliner which was rumored to be Paul McCartney. WOW! I was still nervous, could I really handle a four day festival?
When in doubt I always turn to the internet. I found the Firefly Message Board which answered some of my logistical questions. The biggest impact was finding the Firefly Fan Page group on Facebook. The people in this group are just incredible. All of my questions were answered and my doubts were dissolved, I was going to see a Beatle!
I don’t go to concerts with people, because I am a terrible “host” bringing people in to my music world. During a show it is just me and the music. The concert community is one of my favorite things, I love meeting new people with the same loves and passions! When I take someone with me I miss talking to new people and making new friends. I definitely wasn’t going to try to find someone to come with me to a festival and risk missing a show I wanted to see, because they didn’t. Or anything else that could kill my vibe for the weekend. Plus with the facebook group I knew it would be easy to find someone from there to hang out with if I wanted. I even had people from previous concerts thinking about going.
Everything I read in the group told me that camping was the way to go, even though that was the part that intimidated me the most. I had been debating between carefree camping where the tent is already set up for you and glamping where I would have power and AC. I didn’t own any equipment so normal camping was out. The benefit of carefree was that I didn’t need to find a roommate, it would be easy to just roll solo. Glamping was too expensive to not find a roommate and I didn’t want to risk getting screwed and not getting one. One of the friends I made at a previous concert didn’t have anyone to go with, I had the extra space, and the $200 sounded nice so I did break down and get a roommate in carefree. ((Note if you are reading this and thinking about doing carefree camping… 2person carefree camping should only be for ONE! 4 person can handle 2-3. Just my opinion, I enjoyed having someone to get ready with, but it was really tight.))
As soon as I got home from the road with SKW I was a regular stalker on the threads reading the tips and new posts. I was somewhat active on the Facebook group trying to make some connections before the festival. Then I was trying to listen to as many as the bands as possible so I wouldn’t miss anyone on the line up I wanted to see. I made some crazy detailed spreadsheets and became a group favorite for sharing the one I made after the schedule came out. (I even saw my schedule printed and used in the festival by a few people) When it came time to leave I was as prepared as I could be.
I drove up on Wednesday and stayed in Dover Downs that evening. I really wanted to get a full night of sleep before the festival. When I checked in they informed me I received a free room upgrade. So my last night indoors was spent in a penthouse suite. The whole room may have been close to the size of my house. I had two bathrooms, the main had a huge Jacuzzi tub, separate living room, everything was there. It was amazing! Especially since I only paid $200. The door said rates started at $450. I’m sure with the festival it would have been closer to $600+. I got room service for breakfast. Turndown service included bottles of water and Firefly branded chocolates. Such a great experience. I spent some time checking out the grounds and playing some casino games. It was a perfect way to start the festival.
That morning I woke up before my alarm ready to get started. It was raining though so I didn’t bother doing my hair, make up, or any of that. I don’t think I even changed from my pajamas. I don’t remember. I just went down, checked in to claim my tent, and went right back to the hotel. Played a few more slots, had breakfast, showered and got ready. Then it was still gross outside so I stayed in the casino until my camping roommate showed up. I ended up winning about $60-70 playing slots and blackjack. Pretty good stuff.
Unpacking and getting settled at camp is all just a blur. Before I knew it I was walking across the bridge for the first time. I will never forget the feeling of walking in to the woodlands for the first time. Okay, a big part is because it was INSANELY muddy. My feet were soaked before I even saw the first stage. But aside from the elements it really was an almost magical experience. I was there. I made it. I was at a music festival. The excitement in the air was palpable. It didn’t take long before people were introducing themselves to me after recognizing me from the message board or Facebook group. The music started and I knew I was right at home.
I was able to see 40 acts throughout the festival. Some I was able to watch the full thing, some I just stopped while passing through. The vast majority of the sets were absolutely incredible. I wish I could capture exactly how I felt during each set, but there are some things that words just cannot express. For each day I’ll list who I know I saw and if they had any specific memory for me.
Young Rising Sons
Kill them with Color
Ryn Weaver– She was the highlight of Thursday for me. I was already looking forward to seeing her after hearins some of the songs on Spotify. She is even better life! The energy was incredible!
X Ambassadors – I had a really hard time trying to decide between XA, The Kooks, and Tycho. Since Tycho was on the other side of the festival I decided to split my time in between XA and The Kooks. Both performances were incredible! One VIP perk that I had was a short cut between the stages so it was an easy transition after hearing my favorite XA song going over to The Kooks. XA killed it though and reminded me why they are one of my favorites.
That night after the festival I met some great people in the campsite. (I feel like it is worth noting that one was from AUSTRALIA) I talked to them for far too long until I decided it was finally time to get some sleep.
Friday morning I started out the festival in the Dogfish Head tent drinking some Nameste and meeting some of the people from the facebook group and message board. It was great putting faces to names and getting to meet so many great people. It is a pretty fun group we have and I look forward to seeing them in between festivals.
Falls – A friend told me about them and I am so glad they did. The coffeehouse stage was a great way to get out of the sun for a bit and I loved their performance!
Wolf Alice – I was there for the end of this set, but unfortunately I don’t remember much of this set or Echosmith’s. This was when I realized I lost my phone. I am still not sure if I left it in the bathroom or fi someone took it out of my back pocket. I checked lost and found a few times and had my friends text/call it. No luck. I was in panic for a little bit. All I could think about was all the things I needed it for, keeping in touch back home, finding people in the festival, and taking pictures and video while in the festival. I was so distraught, but then before Walk The Moon I decided that I would not let myself spend the next two and a half days missing an object. Losing my phone was not the worst thing that could happen to me. Change your attitude, change your life.
Glass Animals – This was truly one of the highlights of the weekend. I was with some friends from the message board loving life and being completely blown away by the set, or maybe that was the bass. Either way I had no clue how much I would love that set! I ended up getting the setlist from the sound booth and later that night they stood right next to me during Paul McCartney. It was a surreal experience dancing to Paul’s set with the people I just fell in love with on stage. Great guys, tons of fun! (Of course at the end of Paul’s set I had them sign my setlist)
Morrissey – To be honest I only listened while I was getting things from my locker and stopped for a few minutes to say I saw him live lol.
Paul McCartney– What can I say. The man was incredible. The whole experience was like a dream. Hearing 90k people sing Hey Jude was everything I dreamed it would be and more.
ZEDD- Festival highlight. Possibly #1. I was planning to leave after Paul’s first encore, but stayed when I was hanging with Glass Animals because I wanted to get them to sign my setlist. I was not about to interrupt a performance by a Beatle to ask for an autograph that is just rude on so many levels. So after I got my autograph and said goodbye to GA I ran across the festival to Zedd. I made it just in time for the first drop. Some fans organized something called Zedd 5K. They bought 5k glowsticks and we all planned to release them in the air at the first drop. I brought 50 of my own and several others did the same. It probably should have been renamed to 10K or something. (Maybe more?). That set was just me and the music. I ended up pretty close to the front too. I danced so much and I was just lost to the music. All the pain from the day disappeared and I was just on top of the world. When I hear his songs now I still see the lights. I cried tears of joy as I sung along to Beautiful Now. It was all just perfect.
I don’t have a clue what happened back at camp that night. I was on top of the world from Zedd and exhausted from the day so I probably just went to sleep.
I got an early start to the Festival, because I wanted to be barricade or close to it for The Griswolds.
Intergalatix– I only knew one of their songs from Spotify, but I am glad I didn’t miss their set! It was great!
The Griswolds- I have bought tickets for them three times, never went because of the SKW tour. We have a mutual friend. I know several diehards in their fanbase too. I was SO READY for this set. It was AMAZING! I got a setlist and I FINALLY got to meet them afterwards. I got hugs and kisses it was like seeing old friends. In fact they thought we had already met. Social media perk! I was just excited they knew my name and exactly who I was.
Gary Clark Jr – I didn’t expect to end up at this set and I don’t know how I did, but WOW!!!!
Night Terrors of 1927
Foster the People – Blown away. They put on a GREAT show. I didn’t think I was a FtP fan, but I DEFINITELY am now. WOW!
I left Foster the People a few songs early to get to The Chainsmokers. Since I didn’t have the app I didn’t know it was moved to 11:15. I wandered a little bit and grabbed some dinner waiting for Kings of Leon. Before their set started they announced across the festival that a big storm was coming and we had to evacuate. It was a bummer not seeing KOL, but I was more heartbroken missing The Chainsmokers and Steve Aoki.
When I got back to the tent my roommate said she had a few friends in her SUV waiting out the storm. I wasn’t going to join, because I value sleep, BUT I decided to go ahead in the spirit of Firefly. It ended up being a fantastic night! We drank jolly rancher vodka like it was moonshine and just had a great time laughing, talking, eating “animal” crackers, and listening to music.
I didn’t go to sleep until after 4am and they we woke up around 7am. It was a rough one. Sleeping in the back of an SUV with all my stuff and company is difficult. Plus it was raining and to TRY to stay cool the window was cracked. Sleep just wasn’t meant to be. We decided to go on an adventure outside of the festival so we went to McDonalds and Target. The guys in our group stopped talking to me around this time. I’m not sure what happened or if I did something… I think they were just trying to hook up with my roommate though. I was a cockblock by proximity. I let them go their own way for most of the festival seeing how I wasn’t wanted around lol.
Prinze George– I have to give them special mention. I just love this little band so much!
Steve Aoki- Another festival highlight. Seeing Aoki at 2:30 in the afternoon isn’t easy. I was DRENCHED in sweat afterwards, but I had a BLAST! I missed his show when he came to my town in Feb, I won’t make that mistake again. It was INSANE!!!
Bastille – There were some happy tears during this set. Definitely had a few moments where it was just me and the music and nothing else mattered. I love this band very much and I am so thankful I got to see them live.
The Chainsmokers- THIRLLED they rescheduled after their Saturday set was cancelled. I never NEVER danced so hard during a set. I had been in so much pain before and man I felt it after, but that didn’t stop me. I was covered in sweat and there were tears of pure bliss during Let You Go. I ended up the front of the VIP barricade by the end of the set. It was all just perfect. The best possible end to the festival.
My camping roommate decided to drive back that night. I crawled in my tent and passed out with my fannypack still on. Woke up the next morning, packed up, scored from extra tents, said a few goodbyes to the people still around, and drove my neighbor to the bus stop.
I tried to leave names out of the post, because I know there would be people that I would forget and there were some names I just never got. But thank you to everyone who made this experience so special. Thank you to my camping roommate for taking care of me and not letting me sleep in the tent during the storm. Thank you to the people who I shared vodka with as the storm rolled through. Thank you for the people in carefree for your friendship and good vibes to start and end each day. Thank you to the people in the VIP section that have the same taste in music. Finally thank you to the Firefly message board/facebook community. Because of each of you I was prepared before the festival and I had great company throughout the festival.
This past weekend means more to me than this excessively long post can express. It was an incredible weekend and I am so thankful for every moment. I met some great people. I enjoyed some out of this world music. Also important to note I learned I can enjoy life without a cellphone attached. I don’t have any of my own pictures, but other people’s pictures are able to capture the experience sometimes better than I could have. I don’t need twitter and facebook updates to prove that I had a good time. No one except for me would look at the blurry pictures or shakey videos from my iPhone. I can be free…
Until next year Firefly….
**Again… I did not take any of these pictures. I saved them on my computer as I found them so I apologize for not giving proper credit!**