The Firefly Music Festival 2014 Recap

Firefly-Music-Festival-the-LawnCONTRIBUTED BY GUEST AUTHOR ELLIS FREDERICK

It’s summertime, and we all know what that means: it’s festival season. By now, once ridiculous-sounding names like Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza are practically part of your vocabulary. EDC, Burning Man, Pitchfork? You’ve heard of them all. Either you or someone you know has gone to a music festival this summer. We, along with 70,000-80,000 others, were lucky enough to attend Firefly Music Festival, a four-day event in “the Woodlands” of Dover, Delaware. Here’s a run-down of what we saw:

Outkast Was On Fire—In the Middle of Their Set

Almost everyone in the Woodlands was in front of the Main Stage to see Outkast, one of the most anticipated acts of Firefly (and the festival scene in general). Well… not for long. Big Boi and André 3000 have been using the same setlist for every festival they’ve performed at so far this year, so it’s no surprise that they whipped out “Ms. Jackson,” “The Way You Move,” and “Hey Ya!” halfway through their show. But really, why would they do that? Sure, their diehards were going to stick around. The casual festivalgoers, though, immediately retracted their attention. Outkast performed “Roses” and “So Fresh, So Clean” closer to the end of their set, but by then, Firefly attendees were either making their way to their tents or heading to the Backyard stage to snag a good spot for Pretty Lights. This was not an Outkast concert. Outkast themselves seemed to forget that.

Weezer Is Still Relevant, and They Are Awesome

Who wasn’t at Weezer’s set on the fourth and final day of this festival? With a one-hour time slot in the afternoon on the Main Stage, these pop-punk veterans had almost all eyes on them. And they killed it. Weezer is one of those bands that start playing a song and, all of a sudden, you realize you know every damn word. The four-piece band glided through their fourteen-song set with many of their hits from the past twenty-two years, like “My Name Is Jonas,” “Island In the Sun,” “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To,” and “Buddy Holly.” These guys knew what they were doing, and they owned every second they had on stage. No one left that set dissatisfied. Props.

Jack Johnson vs. Childish Gambino

THE ULTIMATE—and the only notable—SET TIME CONFLICT SHOWDOWN. Childish Gambino has been an unlucky festival act to say the least. At Governors’ Ball, he was slotted to perform at the same time as The Strokes. The Strokes. He held his own at Gov Ball, drawing in a larger-than-expected crowd against the recently reunited rockers. Fortunately for Gambino, his demographic doesn’t match Jack Johnson’s at all, thus splitting Firefly’s attendees down the middle. Johnson had a tranquil, calm set as expected, bringing out The Lumineers (who performed earlier that day) for two songs on the Main Stage. For those seeing Childish Gambino at the Lawn stage, it was quite the opposite. There was smoke. There was fire. There were crowd-surfers. Noting that it was a Sunday, Gambino laughed and said to his audience, “Y’all are turnt.”

Artists You Need to Check Out

One of my favorite performances this weekend came from psychedelic-southern rock band White Denim. Taking on the Porch stage for a late-night set, these Texas natives showed us they’re worth the buzz. The musicianship is unreal. White Denim is the kind of band that can go into a jam session with one of their songs without being self-indulgent. The crisp-sounding guitars. The steady, complex drumming. The soulful vocals. Each individual part created one larger gem. Their whole set just felt right. We’d see them again in an instant.

Another up-and-comer we loved was NONONO, a pop trio from Sweden that’s fortunate enough to have their single “Pumpin’ Blood” playing pretty much everywhere these days. While lead singer Stina Wäppling needs to work on her stage presence (as well as her English), this band has a great live set filled with some wonderfully written songs. When this band gets big—believe us, they will—you’ll be glad you checked them out.

Accolades

Most Irrelevant: A Great Big World

Firefly must’ve booked A Great Big World at the height of their “Say Something” success. We actually don’t know a single person who saw their performance. Yikes.

Most Precious (and Awkward): Jake Bugg

“He’s such a nugget!” said my friend when we first walked up to the Backyard stage on Sunday afternoon. Indeed, Jake Bugg is a little guy. His folk-rock music sounded great. As for his stage presence, we don’t know. He didn’t utter a word in between his songs.

Most Embarrassing: Cash Cash

EDM group Cash Cash started a chant during their 1-2 a.m. set: “When I say ‘Cash,’ you say ‘Cash.’” That’s all we have to say about that.

Best Throwback: Third Eye Blind

We’re disqualifying Outkast since they were a headliner, so the obvious winner is Third Eye Blind. “Semi-Charmed Life?” “Jumper?” Of course we were singing along. Those doo-doo-doos are infectious.

Best. Period.: Foo Fighters

Foo Fighters were the undisputable stars of Firefly. They could play any songs and maintain all the attention they were given. Indeed, they played plenty of covers alongside their hits for over two hours. Dave Grohl and crew showed their crowd what it meant to be a great rock band.

Other Acts We Loved

Local Natives, Hunter Hunted, Arctic Monkeys, Girl Talk, Cage the Elephant, Tegan and Sara, X Ambassadors, City & Colour Firefly, you wore us out in the best way possible. Until next time.

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