Like it or not, the 2021 Firefly Festival is happening, a full-scale, four-day event at The Woodlands in Dover. Starting this Thursday, the music fest will feature major acts including Lizzo, Megan Thee Stallion, The Killers and Billie Eilish, as well as escapist activities and the return of Dogfish Head’s Firefly Ale.
If you plan to go, you’ll need to be vaccinated for COVID-19 or show proof of a negative COVID-19 test, which were the same rules in effect for Lollapalooza 2021 in Chicago over the summer. That event drew nearly 400,000 people, and the requirements worked well. Although around 200 attendees tested positive for COVID-19 in the two weeks after the event, that came out to .05%, with most of them vaccinated and at low risk for serious illness. It was declared not a superspreader event.
Around 50,000 people attended the last Firefly Festival in 2019, so while we’re not looking at Lollapalooza numbers, it’s still a big event, and there’s still some risk. If a similar level of infection happens at Firefly as Lollapalooza, 25 people will test positive for COVID-19 after the event — not a major risk, but not nothing.
The fact that we even have to make these risk assessments can be challenging to our mental health. Firefly, like many other large multi-day festivals, offers access to several nonprofit agencies that offer services and educational materials at its “The Good Hub.”
The seven nonprofits include several that are based in Delaware:
- Mental Edge, a modern-approach outpatient mental health office in Dover
- YWCA Delaware’s Sexual Assault Response Center, providing services including medical and legal help, counseling and support groups throughout Delaware
- CAMP Rehoboth, a nonprofit community service organization dedicated to creating a positive environment inclusive of all sexual orientations and gender identities in Rehoboth Beach and its related communities
- Code Purple Kent County opens shelters for houseless people in the community when temperatures drop to below freezing, and offers employment and housing assistance year-round
- Harmonium, part of SoberFly, offers support and camaraderie for festival-goers who are substance-free, primarily those who are recovering from addiction
- HeadCount, a grassroots org that promotes voter registration through music, culture and digital media
- KultureCity, creating sensory accessibility and inclusion for those with invisible disabilities such as autism, PTSD, anxiety and ADHD