Review: 2016 Firefly Music Festival


The Woodlands of Dover, Delaware were alive and kicking this past weekend for the 5th Firefly Music Festival – and it was better than ever!  Each year (except for year 3 when my sister got married the same weekend), I’ve made the quick trip up Rt. 13 and the Eastern Shore to spend the weekend with a few thousand of my closest musical brothers and sisters.  We gather to listen to some of the best music around and enjoy some great food and fare the first state has to offer.  For the past 5 years, the great team at Red Frog compiles a great cornucopia of musicians – both well-established and up and coming – and spreads them out over 6 stages of all settings.  From the main stage where headliners Kings Of Leon, Florence and the Machine and Mumford and Sons ruled the night to the intimate Treehouse stage when you could see a band perform an acoustic set hours after the came off a main stage such as Grouplove.

There were some notable changes at this year’s festival that proved to be very positive and well-liked by the crowd.  My two favorites changes were the complete overall of the StubHub Coffee House stage and the larger, open-aired Dogfish Head Brewery tent.  ff2016dogfish

The StubHub Coffee House was out in the open with a great stage surrounded by several coffee trucks and a great design-your-own-mug tent.  One of the best performances of the entire festival was at the Coffee House Saturday night as Silversun Pickups packed the house with an awesome acoustic set.  The staff from StubHub were absolutely awesome and very helpful and accommodating that made it easy for me to keep coming back and enjoy the intimate sets.  Dogfish Head Brewery took the walls down this year to make it easier for the thirsty crowd to still hear the main stage bands and feel the energy of the festival.  They tapped their festival-only brew, Firefly Ale, as well as some daily special ff2016coffeetappings and passed out their very popular headbands.

The music, as always, was top notch and didn’t disappoint.  Civil Twilight gave an awesome performance at the StubHub Coffee House and Ellie Goulding blew me away with her set on the main stage.  Norfolk’s Major and The Monbacks kicked things off Saturday morning at the Southwest Hub stage next to the racetrack.  It was a great spot for the band as they were literally playing in front of the entrance to the festival.  A great crowd turned the corner to see the Monbacks perform and they were definitely pleased with their decision.  Boston’s Quilt performed three sets Saturday and I caught their first one on the lawn stage – awesome sound and a band to be on the lookout for.  Silversun Pickups definitely stole the show for me (Click here for their Talkin’ Tunes).  They were a late addition playing just an acoustic set at the StubHub Coffee House and they rocked it!

A big shoutout to the staff of Red Frog Events – the company that puts on Firefly – for their tireless effort in putting on this first class event.  There is a reason why this continues to be my favorite festival and they are the big reason why.  If you missed Firefly this year, you need to go in 2017 – tickets start to go on-sale this week. Grab a few friends and head up the Eastern Shore for a short 3 1/2 drive.  Between the music, the food, the crafts and the hammocks, there really isn’t any reason not to go!  See you next year.