The Firefly Festival kicks off on Friday in Dover for its first year as an official Coachella sibling (Coachella’s parent company, AEG Presents, bought Firefly last July). It’s an extra bit of cachet that adds credibility to claims that Firefly is the premiere East Coast music festival.
If you want a last-minute $7,200 Super Duper VIP package (the one where you and a partner skip the camping and spend nights at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino with all the amenities), you’re out of luck. But there are still General Admission and regular VIP tickets available, starting at around $150 for a one-day GA pass, including fees.
The music lineup is lengthy, with headliners Travis Scott, Panic! At the Disco and Post Malone — but the music is just an aspect, not the whole event. If you’re still complaining that Firefly will never top that year it had Paul McCartney, you might be missing the concept: In a Forbes Firefly 2019 piece featuring cofounder and Festival Director Stephanie Mezzano, it’s stressed that the event is a fully immersive experience, with a lot of its focus on the camping and whimsical outdoor areas designed for relaxation.
Looking at the attractions, it’s almost like if Disneyland were based entirely on “Fantasia.” A slightly corporate version of “Fantasia.”
This year, the glow-in-the dark “Brilliant Beacons” pathway leads attendees away from the stage and toward the new Firefly Bazaar, where folks can — of course — shop for things like artsy jewelry and trinkets, and have “art experiences.” There’s a Malibu Rum “Beach House” and the Thicket, where you can do silent disco in the woods instead of fighting the crowds at the Main Stage (which is not exactly the most Instagrammable of experiences).
There are intramural sports, panels, volunteer opportunities and a community art project. There’s “Glamping” (yes, that’s glam camping).
You can treat it like a concert if you want — or you can follow the Firefly brand’s lead and escape completely from reality for the weekend.
(Can’t afford Firefly? Join the club and hang out at the free Ladybug Festival on Market Street in Wilmington on July 18 and 19, featuring the Ladybugs of Soul and 100 other artists.)