How did Firefly stack up against the competition?

Tim Bracken,

DOVER, Del. – Music fans from across the U.S. and even from Canada flocked to the Dover International Speedway last weekend for the inaugural Firefly Music Festival.

First-time music festivals often receive low marks on things, such as stage layout, food services, and staff shortages.

So, with a lineup that included top-tier acts such as The Flaming Lips, John Legend, Ok Go, Jack White and The Killers, how did Firefly stack up against the competition?

Audience reactions were overwhelmingly positive to the festival that was billed as “the East Coast’s premier music experience.”

“I did not have high expectations for this to go well,” one concert-goer says.

“It’s super-clean, they have so many volunteers, so many staff…I think they’re doing a fantastic job.”

According to attendees, Firefly’s minimal shortcomings were associated with the small number of cellphone charging stations, water stations and food offerings.

“The American palate has developed beyond hot dogs, burgers, and chicken fingers,” another concert-goer says.

Check out a video from this year’s festival

The wooded area around the Dover Speedway was converted into a campground area, providing a mini-Woodstock atmosphere. The concert itself was an alternative to mega-festivals like Bonnaroo and Coachella.

“We can say from our perspective that Firefly appears to have been a great success,” says Delaware Tourism Director Linda Parkowski. Officials expected between 30,000 and 40,000 Firefly attendees per day.

Only two days after the festival ended, it was announced that Firefly will return to Dover in 2013.

Parkowski says that the event “rivaled some of the best music festivals the industry offers.

“We’re thrilled to see the festival will be returning, and we’re hoping it brings back those who attended this year’s event and draws some new guests in 2013 as well,” Parkowski writes to WTOP in an email.

Firefly’s charity of choice is Music Gives to St. Jude Kids, which raises money to help children living with cancer.

Jason Thomas Gordon, grandson of the St. Jude Hospital founder, was on hand to represent the organization.

“We’re here reaching out to music fans and all these bands, and asking them to take part in saving children’s lives,” Gordon says. “It’s unlike any other music festival out there. We’re really lucky.”

“Right now, when you think

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up