The Firefly Music Festival is far from the only must-see music event that will get Delaware visitors moving this year. Spring and summer bring an array of offerings from the top of the state to the bottom, ranging from rock to jazz to funk, in venues both large and small.
For a fun (and free) week of smooth, sophisticated listening, Wilmington’s DuPont Clifford Brown Jazz Festival is the place to be June 19-22. For a more intimate (and frequently frenetic) experience, head south to Delaware’s laid-back beach towns, where national acts are a regular treat each summer.
In typical Delaware style, this year’s beach lineup features a who’s-who of well-known acts, all playing in settings that promise up-close-and-awe-struck experience. The scene is especially intense at Dewey Beach’s legendary music destination, the Bottle & Cork, where fans can catch Kevin Bacon and The Bacon Brothers (May 30); George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic (June 21-22); Kellie Pickler (July 25); and Shooter Jennings (July 30).
Things get country-fied in a big way starting in June, when the Harrington Raceway and Casino hosts the Rascal Flatts (June 1) followed by the Delaware State Fair hosting its annual slate of Nashville’s best, including Luke Bryan (July 18), Trace Adkins (July 21) and Dierks Bentley (July 23), along with Christian Rock performers MercyMe (July 19), singer Victoria Justice (July 20), and comedian Jeff Dunham (July 23).
Tucked along the coast in Fenwick Island, the Freeman Stage at Bayside brings a summer-long onslaught of marquee acts, including Lyle Lovett & His Acoustic Group (July 10); Sheryl Crow (July 14); Darius Rucker (Aug. 8); Michael McDonald (Aug. 10); and Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo (Aug. 13).
Farther north in Wilmington (a quick trip from Baltimore and Philly), music fans are fortunate to have both the Grand Opera House and the World Cafe Live at the Queen, both cozy venues that boast a name-dropping summer lineup. At the Grand, Melissa Etheridge rolls into town on June 26; and at the Queen, there’s a steady stream of classic acts, including The English Beat and the Bullbuckers (May 3) and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (May 7).
And the music plays on: On July 18, Wilmington’s Ladybug Music Festival showcases some of the region’s top female musicians; and on Aug. 2-4, the city hosts its annual outdoor Riverfront Blues Festival, situated by the banks of the Christina River just a quick trip from some of Wilmington’s hippest new restaurants and activities.