Winterthur Museum and Gardens
Dining & Things to do at Firefly
Besides the Music -- The Amenities of Firefly (food, activities, attractions)
You could spend the better part of four days at the Firefly Music Festival doing nothing but listening to music. You could also spend four days at Firefly and not bother seeing a single band. So, what is there do at the Firefly Music Festival?
There are so many diversions and temptations at this weekend mega-concert that it sometimes seems as much amusement park as music fest. Some of the sideshows seem aptly suited to a sonic celebration. Others seem designed for those times when the endless music and constant sun become too much to bear.
For everyone there, Firefly’s amenities serve to amplify the enjoyment of an already energized experience. Those on a one-day visit will appreciate the opportunity to cram so many offbeat adventures into their stay. Those on a four-day jaunt will be grateful for the amenities of a more normal life that Firefly provides – showers, morning yoga sessions, even ATM machines.
At this ever-growing festival, creature comforts can range from the simple (shade tents); to the extravagant (climate-controlled VIP areas) to the practical (water stations and phone-recharging centers). Many fans instinctively head to the Hammock Hangouts, cool refuges just inside the woodline where Fireflyers regroup and recoup. Others head for the Heineken Domes, a pair of air-conditioned bubble-tents where beer, dance music and laser light shows spell cool relief, while some head skyward on Firefly’s hot-air balloon.
Not all added attractions necessarily have idleness in mind. Free arcade games fill one tent, while bouts of cornhole keep other fans busy between acts. Beach volleyball is the passion that’s pursued just outside the main festival entrance, and few could deny the surreal energy of attending the Headphone Disco, a just-inside-the-woods attraction that features two DJs spinning dance tunes simultaneously.
With their headphones on, fans in search of the right beat can switch with a click from one DJ to the other; with their headphones off, they’re treated to the unforgettable sight of dozens of people grooving and twitching amid the trees, seemingly in total silence.
A short walk away, there’s more familiar forms of relaxation under way in The Brewery, a cavernous tent with a mulch-padded floor, three bars and streaming music videos. Sawhorse-style tables give thirsty fans a place to elbow up to a pint of special-edition Dogfish Head beer, Firefly Ale. The Forest Cinema gives music-drenched concertgoers a chance to enjoy silent black-and-white films in one of the Hammock Hangouts.
“The music is great. The people are great. The Dogfish beer is amazing,” enthused festivalgoer Denise McIsaac, 27, of Boston.
And don’t forget the Gibson Guitar tent, the Garnier Fructis Styling Salon, and the Jack Daniel’s Whiskey Museum. Or the Toyota prize wheel, or the art vendors, or the popular Style your Toms tent, where fans get to unleash their own inner artist by custom-painting a pair of shoes.
And certainly don’t forget the food, which is present at Firefly in startling depth, with a surprisingly international flair. Yes, there are the standards – the hamburgers and hot dogs, the fries and wraps. But the truly tempting items tend toward the offbeat – the Korean BBQ tacos, the chipotle chili, the kale and quinoa salad.
“I was surprised at the food options,” said 24-year-old Sophia Alleman of Rochester, N.Y. “There are some real amazing options for vegans and vegetarians.”
Wash it down with a beverage from the festival bars offering cocktails and icy margaritas as well as beer, pausing perhaps between sips to offer a toast to what could very well be the official Firefly motto: “When the music stops, the fun doesn’t have to end!”