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 →


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 →


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

Smallpools | photo by Dylan Eddinger |

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 →


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 →


Firefly On The Fly: Saturday shines with The Killers, Eminem, Lil Wayne, Lucy Dacus, Alex Lahey and more

The Killers | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Saturday is always the longest haul of Firefly weekend, and we took in a huge range of music today. Pop rock four-piece The Aces started us off on the Lawn Stage, with Philly singer-songwriter Ben O’Neill not far behind in the coffeehouse. A doubleheader of Australian rock featuring Middle Kids and Alex Lahey lifted up our afternoon.

Philly rockers Foxtrot and the Get Down performed a rare acoustic set, something they should get in the habit of doing — these songs sound like they were written to be performed in this intimate, elegant way. Continue reading →


Firefly Guide 2018: 20 artists to discover in the Woodlands this week

Firefly 2017 | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Dover, Delaware’s annual Firefly Music Festival kicks off this Thursday, and will jam-pack some 130-plus artists into four days. For a few of those artists, like headliners Eminem and Kendrick Lamar, it’s safe to say that most of the tens of thousands in attendance will be watching. For several of the artists — electropop duo Marian Hill, alternative vets Jimmy Eat World, Alaskan modern rockers Portugal. The Man, 90s R&B hitmaker Warren G — the crowds will be be reliably huge.

But for many of the acts on the bill, the audience might be less automatically robust. It might take a little bit of discovering to see them, and these are often times the most thrilling sets to catch. In the past, this has meant Bishop Briggs playing the intimate confines of the treehouse stage, or Laura Stevenson rocking the Toyota Music Den; it’s been the legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff spinning the hits on a sunny midday, or singer-songwriter Hamilton Leithauser at the Coffeehouse Stage; it’s been rapper Pell rocking a Porch Stage set in the twilight, or Maggie Rogers starting the day off at the Lawn Stage at 1 p.m.

In short, it’s established names in much smaller settings than we expect, or unfamiliar names that we go on to remember. This year, we present you an assortment of artists to discover at all tiers of Firefly 2018 — from newcomers like Cali punks The Regrettes and Philly rapper Tierra Whack each playing two sets on Friday, all the way to acclaimed jazz visionary Kamasi Washington taking to the festival main stage on Sunday. Listen up, pack your sunscreen, stay hydrated, and get ready to explore. – John Vettese

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Firefly announces 2018 daily lineup; adds more artists incl. Kamasi Washington, Tierra Whack

Photo by Joe Del Tufo |

Firefly Music Festival has announced its daily lineup for this year’s festival, annually hosted at The Woodlands in Dover, Delaware. The inaugural festival took place in 2012 as a 3-day festival and has continuously grown with each passing year, creating one of the biggest summer festivals on the East Coast. From the campgrounds to the festival’s main stage, Firefly is a highlight of the summer for many music fans. Continue reading →


Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Arctic Monkeys, The Killers, SZA, Alt-J and more will play Firefly 2018

Kendrick Lamar | via

The seventh annual Firefly Music Festival in Dover, Delaware will feature acclaimed stars of rap and rock, with Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Arctic Monkeys and The Killers in the headlining slots.

The Detroit rapper, otherwise known as Marshall Mathers, released his ninth studio album Revival in 2017, and is making his Firefly debut. Compton’s Lamar is on his second Firefly slot on the strength of last year’s universally praised DAMN. LP – he first appeared in 2013, following good kid, m.A.A.d city. Arctic Monkeys and Killers are returning on players too, having played in 2014 and 2015, respectively. For the former, it’s their first concert in three years (per Pitchfork) and they have an album on the way in 2018 as well.
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Firefly on Film: Reflections of a weekend in the Woodlands on 35mm

Firefly 2017 | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Important thing to remember this festival season: a fifty percent chance of rain is also a fifty percent chance of no rain. It could be a fifty percent chance of scorching sun and dry heat. Reality might not line up with your anticipations, and the best approach is to be prepared for anything and expect the unexpected.

This is something that came up at several intervals last weekend at Delaware’s Firefly Music Festival; I went in expecting to get soaked and instead I got sunburnt, I’d read media murmurs about diminished attendance but found it positively jumpin on Saturday; I thought (from experience at XPNFest a few years back) that Bob Dylan was going to to be insufferable and sad, and he was actually mostly very good — the best thing we can hope for with a Dylan set in 2017, honestly — closing his nearly 90-minute performance with a ripping “Ballad of a Thin Man.” Continue reading →