I come to you fresh(ly showered, finally) from my first true music festival adventure of this summer (Dover, Delaware’s Firefly Music Festival), and what an adventure it was! Through plenty of mud, sweat, and a few (happy) tears, I’d mark this weekend as a success.
We began the weekend with a car packed full of supplies. So many supplies, in fact, that after a 6 hour drive to the thoroughly rain-soaked camp ground we got stuck in the mud…twice. Despite this, and a second rainstorm which cancelled Saturday night’s headliners, Kings of Leon, and gave way to impromptu mud wrestling in our campground, the weekend was hot, sweaty, and sunny, a left me with many-an-awkward tan-line.
The heat didn’t deter many from taking full advantage of the festival’s 5+ stages, bouncing from show to show with seemingly boundless energy. Luckily for us, the festival did have a few air-conditioned brewery tents, and some shady umbrella stations dispersed throughout the grounds, as well as one pavilion stage. It was at this stage that my parents (yes, parents!) took refuge, listening to DJ after DJ, and only venturing to other stages for a few favorites like Paul McCartney (of Beatles’ mega-fame) and Snoop Dogg (or Snoop Lion, as he is rumored to prefer). In addition to broadening their musical horizons, riding behind the scenes on golf carts (my Dad received ADA access, so they got rides to platforms at each stage set aside for people with disabilities), and making friends with the some of the staff, they spent the festival making mental notes about what to buy to make a festival trip an annual occurrence!
As you know my research has been focused on young adults using festivals as a site for the formation of personal identity. While I took plenty of notes on this topic throughout the weekend, I also noticed a distinct and fairly sizable 30-and-older population enjoying the festival as well. Potentially the result of Paul McCartney’s appearance as Friday’s headliner, this trend has nevertheless caused me to consider the appeal of such events to an older audience, and in what ways festivals play a similar role in their lives. It’s a wide open question for now, but certainly something I’d like to keep in mind as I do more reading this summer.
Though there were a fair share of low moments, which reminded me that this festival is young and as such hasn’t quite worked out all of the kinks, Firefly was an amazing experience. Highlights for me include a beautiful acoustic set from old favorite, Andrew McMahon in the intimate “Coffehouse Stage” setting, a sweaty closing night set by the Killers, which had everyone shouting along with glowsticks flying through the air, and seeing newer favorites Hozier and Borns live.
Though there were plenty of remarkable moments, Paul McCartney’s show of course has to be at the top of the list, with an amazing 2 and a half hour extravaganza. Everyone, performers and fans alike were amazed to be at a festival featuring Paul McCartney, with many wishing him a happy birthday and commenting on his set throughout the weekend. My friend and festival partner Emily had camped out all day to get the center of the first row for Sir Paul, and my mom and I were broadcast (to about 80,000 people!) on the giant screens showcasing the crowd during an over five-minute-long rendition of Hey Jude, the chorus of which carried all the way back to our campsite, where my dad could hear it! Definitely a concert for the books, and for it to come as part of a weekend full of great shows makes it that much sweeter.
Clearly my foray into the field left me with plenty to say, and plenty of memories. That’s why I’m leaving a link to this website, Music Festival Junkies, which I have used to find a thorough list of festivals all over the US and the world. I would strongly encourage you all to find a festival that appeals to you, no matter your age. I bet you won’t regret it!
I’ll be back soon with another update, but for now enjoy this slightly awkward photo of me with the giant festival entry sign! Thanks for reading!