Next big thing: Firefly festival features nearly 50 bands

Tim Bracken,

WASHINGTON – In 1969, a little festival called Woodstock changed the way we think of outdoor concerts. Forty three years later, music festivals continue to draw thousands of attendees.

Multi-day events have become a great way for concert-goers to see their favorite big-name bands — and discover a whole new wave of up-and-comers.

In July, the next big music festival descends on the Woodlands of Dover International Speedway in Delaware. The Firefly Music Festival runs July 20-22 and will feature nearly 50 bands:

  • The Killers
  • The Black Keys
  • Jack White
  • Death Cab for Cutie
  • John Legend
  • Bassnectar
  • The Flaming Lips
  • Passion Pit
  • Cake
  • Lupe Fiasco
  • Girl Talk
  • Silversun Pickups
  • Young the Giant
  • OK Go
  • Michael Franti & Spearhead
  • Cold War Kids
  • Fitz and the Tantrums
  • Tinie Tempah
  • The Wallflowers
  • Chiddy Bang
  • The Head and the Heart
  • Grouplove
  • Trampled By Turtles
  • Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires
  • Bombay Bicycle Club
  • Mayer Hawthorne & The County
  • Cults
  • Graffiti6
  • Allen Stone
  • Walk the Moon
  • Ra Ra Riot
  • Policia
  • Blind Pilot
  • The Felice Brothers
  • Heartless Bastards
  • Mariachi El Bronx
  • Matt Costa
  • J Roddy Walston and the Business
  • Reptar
  • Imagine Dragons
  • Kids These Days
  • Penguin Prison
  • Moon Taxi
  • Turf War
  • Lower Case Blues

The first-ever Firefly Festival promises to be a less overwhelming alternative to heavyweights like Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza, which usually have between 100 and 200 bands on their rosters. But don’t go thinking that this will be a small event. There will be lots of food and attractions on the 87-acre Woodlands grounds, including hot air balloon rides, a vintage-themed arcade, and an interactive art gallery.

Thousands of “Early Bird” passes went on sale April 5 and sold out in minutes.

Regular three-day passes are still available for $218, and include access to all shows at the festival.

Attendees will be able to camp on site, park recreational vehicles, and even purchase a “glamorous camping” package, which includes real beds, furniture, private showers, and an air- conditioned lounge.

A portion of ticket sales will be donated to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

For those who don’t feel like driving to the event, the Rock & Bus shuttle will offer round-trip service to Firefly from the District, Alexandria, Annandale, Springfield, Annapolis and Baltimore.

Another way to experience the festival is through volunteer work. Firefly is still looking for volunteers to help with everything from food service to parking patrol.

Music festivals have come a long way since Woodstock — they are safer, cleaner, and more complex — but the experience of hearing dozens of favorite bands in one place continues to be a simple formula for success.

Firefly brings that formula much closer to home for East Coast musicphiles.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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