This weekend marked the third installment of Firefly Festival in Dover, De. Each year, the festival has expanded—the once three-day festival has ballooned to four days of music, and the audience has grown from 30,000 people in 2012 to a surprising 80,000 at this year’s festival. With its largest lineup yet (178 bands), Firefly is quickly becoming the east coast’s premiere music festival. Check out some highlight’s from this year’s fest!
7 Best Moments Of Firefly Festival 2014
Foo Fighters Rule the Main Stage
Dave Grohl is the most universally loved rockstar of his generation, and his set with the Foo Fighters this weekend will only solidify that title. The band’s set dug deep into its catalog. Though the Foos did not play any material off their upcoming release, the band did treat the crowd to tracks, like “Big Me,” which have not been played in years.
When the band returned to the stage for an encore, Grohl announced that they would be performing as a bar cover band called The Holy Shits, and proceeded to cover classic rock anthems including Queen and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure” and the Rolling Stones’ “Miss You.” The set closed with a raucous rendition of “Everlong,” but not before Grohl teased a return once the new album comes out.
Trend of the Weekend: Covers
Speaking of covers, the Foo Fighters seemed to spark a trend for the weekend, as several other Firefly artists worked covers into their sets. Just before the Foo Fighters played, the Arctic Monkeys covered parts of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” on the main stage. Other notable covers included Beck covering Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” Imagine Dragons playing “Tom Sawyer” (Rush) and Grouplove taking on Beyonce’s enormous hit, “Drunk In Love.”
Outkast Continues their Comeback Tour
Big Boi and Andre 3000 seem to be improving with every performance on their 20th anniversary tour. Their improved on-stage banter was on display Saturday night at Firefly. After inviting a group of female fans onstage for “Hey Ya!”, one fan caught Andre’s eye: “Whoever makin’ these shorts deserves a Nobel Peace Prize.”
Later, after a quick rant on how the words bitch, slut and whore are not bad words (their opinions, not ours), the duo launched into their hit song, “Roses,” which prompted a massive sing along with an estimated 80,000 fans joining in.
90s Nostalgia Runs Rampant
From the bands on stage to the Bob Saget cutout floating around the crowd, the 90s had an inescapable impact on this year’s Firefly Festival. Nostalgia acts like Third Eye Blind and Weezer drew sizable crowds. During Beck’s set, his early material seemed to get the best responses. After all, this is the “BuzzFeed generation.”
Strong Showing from Young Hip-Hop Acts
This year marked the first time a hip-hop act has headlined Firefly Festival, but the younger hip-hop acts at the festival left quite an impact as well. Vic Mensa was the first hip-hop act of the weekend. Though he held his own stage, a guest appearance from Chance the Rapper sent the crowd into a frenzy, showing solidarity between the two Chicago emcees.
During his own set, Chance the Rapper showed masterful control of the crowd. The weekend’s two biggest trends intersected midway through his set with a cover of the theme song from 90s children show, Arthur.
World Cup Fever Hits Firefly Festival
There was an added enthusiasm during Sunday’s festivities as U.S.A. prepared to take on Portugal in a World Cup match. In a savvy move, Firefly announced that the game would be shown on the jumbotron at the Main Stage. Throngs of star-spangled festivalgoers crowded in to watch, and left somewhat disappointed as the U.S. let up the tying goal in the game’s final seconds. On the bright side, there was still a lot of great live music to check out.
One other emerging trend that we would like to see more of at Firefly was onstage collaboration between festival acts. Bonnaroo has its organized “Super Jams,” but there were a few moments of improvised collaboration at Firefly this year. Cage the Elephant joined Imagine Dragons on stage for “Radioactive,” while the Lumineers assisted Jack Johnson on “Breakdown” and a cover of Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released.”
Article by Jason Schellhardt