by Caroline Sanchez
Dover, Delaware could not have asked for a more beautiful weekend to host the East Coast’s newest music attraction. Now in its second year, the three-day Firefly Music Festival took over 87 acres of land at the Dover International Speedway, turning The Woodlands around the racetrack into the stomping grounds of 60,000 concert-goers, complete with four stages—Firefly Main Stage, The Lawn, The Porch, and The Backyard—a free Arcade tent, The Vineyard, The Brewery, and some of today’s most anticipated musical acts.
My adventure started at 3AM on Friday morning when, after arriving on the festival grounds and assuming there would be a Bonnaroo-sized line for camping check-in, my entourage and I were redirected to the local Home Depot parking lot to wait with the other early risers. Despite the under-informed security guards, getting to the campsite was easy once check-in started and in a matter of an hour, the grassy fields were transformed into full throttle tent-city.
When the main festival grounds opened at noon, I was lucky enough to catch Django Django and Dr. Dog on the Main Stage, where I was able to get backstage for a good view of the crowd.
The back-to-back sets were a high-energy way to start the weekend, prepping the audience for the later Ellie Goulding and Calvin Harris sets on The Lawn stage. I appreciated the backing band that Ellie brought with her; it was a refreshing contrast to the DJ I expected. The vocals were hard to decipher over the other instruments, however, making it less of the show than I anticipated. Whatever the audience didn’t get from Goulding was redeemed by Calvin Harris: the sound and the light show were top-notch, catching everyone’s attention—even the Chili Pepper super-fans who stopped to watch on their way to the main attraction.
Similar to their Bonnaroo set from last year, the Peppers took on the Friday-night headlining slot in front of a crowd that varied in age rather drastically. I credit them for being a band that reaches past their generation so gracefully; many other groups aren’t able to achieve a fanbase as diverse as the Chili Peppers, no matter how catchy their tunes. Everything was in place for a spectacular performance: the sun had set, the crowd had gathered, but somehow, the famed rockers missed their mark. Maybe it was my state of exhaustion or my memory of the incredible Bonnaroo performance from last year, but Friday night’s performance didn’t live up to the exciting Chili Peppers I remember from MTV in the ‘90s.