By Grace Dermenjian
With all of this year’s festival announcements coming out, I can’t help but reminisce on my own festival experiences.
Back in September, 2021, I traveled down to Dover, Delaware’s Firefly Music Festival on behalf of WRSU. Headliners like Billie Eilish, The Killers, Tame Impala, and Lizzo brought fans from near and far for a great concert. Unexpected events such as Thursday’s storm delays, getting to meet some incredible artists in the press tent, and being given the opportunity to photograph sets from the pit made Firefly a hectic yet joyful experience. Without proper preparation, Festivals can be a nightmare for attendees – below is my survival guide, as well as why I think you should head to Dover yourself next year. Here is a list of 6 rules to follow when going to Firefly:
Ensuring you are receiving all your nutrients is essential to make it all 4 days. Firefly has everything from fried chicken to authentic burritos that were out of this world. However, Island Noodles, a festival favorite, stole the show with their chicken and vegetable noodles that quickly became a staple for the WRSU crew. It was the perfect combination of protein, carbs, and delicious veggies such as brussels sprouts (my personal favorite) and carrots. When I come back to any east coast festival in the future, I will be looking forward to this savory dish!
2. MAKE NEW FRIENDS
Going into the festival, I was very nervous to see how the environment would be as I did not know what to expect post-pandemic. Turns out that nothing had changed, except for masks and much more hand sanitizer. The media tent was bustling, and definitely had us all grinding on our work. Ourselves and many others spent our days rushing to sets, conducting interviews, downloading photos and simply trying to get as much coverage completed as possible,.. The WRSU crew made some great friends that quickly took us under their wing, showing us the dos and don’ts of how to survive a festival from a media standpoint. Jones, Jackie, and Butch all made the weekend unforgettable and we cannot wait to see them again in the future.
3. SMALLER STAGES ARE A MUST
Smaller artists turned the heads of many and played their hearts out. Artists like Peach Pit, Remi Wolf, and The Happy Fits brought fans, old and new, earlier in the festival days. The Happy Fits, a local New Brunswick band, shook the audience with their charismatic and lighthearted attitude and new spin on Indie Rock with hits like “Too Late” and “Mary” while also performing one of two new songs, “Another Try.” Peach Pit was hands down one of my favorite sets. They brought the energy fans have been anticipating for the past 18 months through Neil Smith (vocals and guitar) crowd surfing and performing a new song – with an upcoming country twist – from their upcoming album.. Lastly, Remi Wolf brought the “stage” down with first performances of hits like “Photo ID”. Dominic Fike surprised Remi fans with a special appearance during her set, making his way through excited fans singing along.
4. ENJOY YOUR FAVORITE BANDS
a. Seeing favorite artists after the 18-month concert drought was truly a needed boost. Headliners like Glass Animals, girl in red, and Sofi Tukker encapsulated audiences with their amazing set designs and glowing personalities. My favorite set of the festival easily became a tie between Sofi Tukker and Cage the Elephant. Cage literally and metaphorically dazzled festival goers with Matt Shultz’s (vocals) disco ball-inspired bodysuit and hits such as“Come a Little Closer”, “Trouble”, and “Mess Around.” I have been a huge follower of Cage the Elephant since childhood so to see how they energetically interacted with the crowd, was one for the books. Sofi Tukker played during sunset at the Main Stage on Sunday, bringing Brazilian inspired beats to the party. We saw them perform shortly after I interviewed them, and they did not disappoint with their first festival performance since the start of the pandemic. During the festival, my heart skipped a beat as Tucker briefly looked down and recognized me post-interview.
5. PREPARE FOR WEATHER
Thursday brought an interesting turn of events for the WRSU crew with a storm hitting Dover Thursday afternoon. This caused a 4 hour delay the fest and much confusion on where we could actually enter. Rest assured, we made friends with some festival staff and were able to check out the grounds before the crowds flocked the fields. We ended up meeting friends of artists, striking up conversation quickly, making both more friends and unforgettable memories.
6. THE WAIT IS WELL WORTH IT
The pandemic has caused a lot of chaos, confusion, and uncertainty for many, but coming back to a festival like Firefly made the rainbow at the end of the storm worth the wait. All the artists that performed brought the energy and vibe that audiences were expecting and more. Making new friends, enjoying new eats, and overall having an experience that exceeded expectations will definitely bring me back to Firefly in the future. I can’t wait until that day comes!