Things to do at Firefly
A Firefly Portrait -- The Vibe, the Atmosphere, the Feel
Imagine a place right in the middle of the East Coast’s sweet spot, but somehow far removed from any sense of congestion or chaos.
Imagine a setting that’s made up of grassy country fields, edged by cool stands of tall trees.
Now imagine that this place will soon be transformed over the course of a long summer weekend into the undisputed center of the music world, filled with full-day rosters of top-name bands, a startling array of offbeat leisure diversions, and 65,000 happy, hollering, harmonious fans.
Here at the annual Firefly Music Festival, it’s hard not to feel the communal energy and happy-hippie vibe that pervades this 87-acre site known as The Woodlands. If you've been wonderng what the Firefly Music Festival is like? You'll discover that fans come from every state and from across the ocean, are eager to set up camp and settle in for a four-day escape into a musical nirvana that embraces everything from hip-hop to retro-pop to hardcore.
In the campgrounds nestled along the festival ground’s edges, barbecues glow and beverages flow. Strangers become friends, while old friends grow even closer, nestled together on folding chairs under stars and moon. This is what “glamping” is about – the finer side of camping, with the rough edges smoothed down.
Soon, with the noontime hour approaching, it’s literally time to face the music; the only question is which way to turn. The festival’s 100+ bands are spaced out through the course of four days and spread out across 7 nearby stages, giving fans endless options for satisfying their musical mojo.
Once the music starts, the Firefly Music Festival gives fans the chance to listen in their own way, at their own pace, in their own space. Some prefer to hang back from the crowd and savor all the room they have to groove. Others crave in-your-face intensity, working their way up close to the front and moshing the day away. Sightlines to the stages are open and plentiful; big video screens on either side deliver an experience that’s bigger than life. Sound levels are gratifyingly punchy, and thoughtful placement of the stages limits sonic overlap.
Between bands, fans notice that Firefly is a music festival that puts an emphasis on the “festival” side of the equation. It’s an event that is undeniably all about the music, but music doesn’t have to be what’s it’s all about. In the woodline between stages, happy diversions appear: The cool shade of a Hammock Hangout; the air-conditioned refuge of the game arcade; the techno-fueled vibe of the Heineken Domes.
Fans refresh and recharge with the help of a cool Firefly Ale from Delaware's Dogfish Head at The Brewery, or a bite to eat from one of the dozens of food vendors serving everything from Korean barbecue tacos to vegan fare. Others make their way back to their tents for some mid-concert rest-and-recuperation.
“You’ve gotta take it easy at some point, and find some shade,” recommended first-time Firefly fan Mitch Donnellson of Chevy Chase, Md.
Then, eventually – inevitably – everyone is drawn back to the music, to the crowds, to the happy sense that, just for this moment, life has been united by song.