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Delaware’s Jea Street Jr. bridges art and activism at Firefly

Jea Street Jr. | photo by Joe del Tufo for WXPN

As the sole Delaware-based band at Firefly, Jea Street Jr. had a lot on his shoulders kicking off the festival from the South Hub as the rain subsided on Friday. Street and his all-star band did not disappoint. With a set billed as Artivism, with activism and social justice embedded in most of the lyrical content, Street connected well with a crowd that grew with each song. Continue reading →

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Firefly On The Fly: Sunday sundown with Vampire Weekend, Hop Along, Car Seat Headrest, Jessie Reyez and more

Vampire Weekend | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

The third and final day of this year’s Firefly Festival was a hot one for audiences and artists alike. Many people were spotted hanging more along the sides of the stage for shade and more than a few artists made comments along the lines of “It’s hot as fuck up here!” While it appeared that the daytime attendance was up on Sunday, the “Super VIP” section was lacking some Super VIPS and many were upgraded to get closer to their favorite artists. Continue reading →

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Firefly On The Fly: Saturday heat from Travis Scott, Death Cab For Cutie, Tank and the Bangas, Little Simz and more

Travis Scott | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

If day one of the Firefly Music Festival was a great experience discovering new artists, day two was time for adjusting expectations. While there were plenty of highlights, some artists that have been talked up as the next big thing did not exactly deliver, while others performed strongly but were slotted on stages and at times that didn’t work. Continue reading →

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Warm up for Car Seat Headrest’s Firefly set with new live album Commit Yourself Completely

Car Seat Headrest | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

Car Seat Headrest has just released Commit Yourself Completely, a 9-track live album featuring versions of the band’s biggest hits from 2016’s critically acclaimed Teens Of Denial and 2018’s Twin Fantasy. The album also features the first recorded cover version of Frank Ocean’s “Ivy,” a staple in the band’s set. Continue reading →

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Firefly Guide 2019: 20 artists to discover in the Woodlands this week

Firefly | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

When it comes to the biggest bands on the bill, Firefly makes things easy — the higher-profile the artist, the fewer people the festival books playing opposite them. It’s at the more emerging artist level that things get all feeding frenzy, and that’s where we come in.

Walking around the greenery of the woodlands and seeing an artist we were only loosely familiar with beforehand playing an intimate set to a tight crowd of devotees — the people who prefer to get up, go out, and seek out music, rather than listen to whatever’s happening off in the distance at the  big stage — is our favorite part of the Firefly experience. Last year, we saw Jade Bird play a tent to maybe 50 people; the previous year, Bishop Briggs delivered a killer set in the tucked-away Treehouse Stage. Both artists are doing pretty well for themselves now.

That’s not to say that every under-the-radar musician on the Firefly lineup is going to blow up in the same way. (Or that every artist playing intimate stages or early set times is necessarily under-the-radar: our love for Philly’s Hop Along is well-documented, and they play two sets on Sunday afternoon.) But not knowing where an artist is headed, and appreciating them for what they bring to their 45 minutes onstage, is an exciting discovery in itself. Here are 20 artists we urge you to discover at the 2019 edition of Firefly.

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Firefly’s campground is getting a lot more chill for 2019

Firefly 2017 | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Whether you’re on an inflatable mattress in a hand-me-down tent or curled up on the couch seat of a cargo van, festival camping is often…well, festival camping.

You’re probably in an open field, or a parking lot with ample green space on the islands. It’s most likely really, really dusty and dry. You might consider investing in a bandana to protect your upper respiratory tract. You’ll try to make friends with that person a couple encampments down who brought the porta-shower. And you’ll hope to whatever higher power you believe in that you don’t wind up with a spot down wind from the port-a-John enclave.

Dover, Delaware’s annual Firefly Festival already tries to make its camping experience as palatable as possible, between programming local and emerging artists on its campground hub stages, offering DJ sets for the sleepless (and keeping them a good distance away from the exhausted), and setting up general store pop ups for first aid, snacks, and other supplies. This year, according to a report in Billboard, the festival is planning even more upgrades to its camping experience so attendees can keep clean, stay relaxed, and live their best lives while also seeing a metric ton of music. Continue reading →

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Firefly 2019’s lineup led by Panic! At The Disco, Travis Scott, Post Malone, with Courtney Barnett, Vampire Weekend, Hop Along on the undercard

from left, Panic! At The Disco | photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN // Travis Scott | photo by Isaiah Spicer for WXPN // Post Malone | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

While Firefly‘s recently-announced 2019 lineup isn’t doing anything to improve the Dover, Delaware festival’s track record of booking overwelmingly male headliners, seeing psychedelic rap visionary Travis Scott take the big-font Saturday-night prime slot is indeed a silver lining, especially in the wake of his ridiculous ASTROWORLD tour stop at the Wells Fargo Center.

Scott is sandwiched between Friday’s appearance from pop punk dramatists Panic! At the Disco and Sunday’s closing set from hip-hop’s voice of suburban ennui, Post Malone, who admittedly has a few catchy songs in his playbook. But as the case is with most festivals of this scale, the true excitement at Firefly lies in its undercard. Continue reading →

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Firefly Bonus Reel: Photos from Smallpools, Foxtrot and the Get Down, Portugal. The Man and more

Smallpools | photo by Dylan Eddinger | dylaneddingerphoto.squarespace.com

A week ago today, we were heading into the Dover Woodlands for our third day covering the annual Firefly Music Festival. We saw dozens of artists, shot hundreds of photos, and are continuing to sort out our thoughts on the experience — more of which we’ll share with you later this week. For now, take a look at some bonus photos from the weekend, shot by The Key’s Dylan Eddinger. Continue reading →

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Firefly On The Fly: Sunday sundown with Kendrick Lamar, SZA, Lord Huron, Kamasi Washington, Warren G and more

Kendrick Lamar | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

We rolled back into Philadelphia last night around 1 a.m., sweaty and exhausted from the final and hottest day of the 2018 Firefly Music Festival. It started with hip-hop — classic West Coast g-funk originator Warren G , whose signature jams “Regulate” and “Summertime in the LBC” played perfectly in the early afternoon — and ended with hip-hop — the Pulitzer Prize winning Kendrick Lamar, whose set was gripping and participatory, if a bit phoned-in (he twice told the crowd “This is my first time here in Delaware,” despite playing Firefly previously in 2013). Continue reading →