The campers have left but the memories of Firefly 2014 will linger forever. Better yet, you can start planning your Firefly 2015 experience today.
RELATED: By the numbers
A record-breaking 80,000 music fans crowded into nearly 300 acres annually known as The Woodlands (the Dover International Speedway grounds for the locals)during the Firefly Music Festival last weekend.
It’s a mind-boggling number, especially considering that just two years ago, the fledgling festival brought in just 30, 000. Most mind-boggling of all was that 50,000 of those fans were on-site and camping by Thursday’s opening night.
“We believe that Firefly is officially in the big leagues,” said Firefly Music Festival Director Greg Bostrom, likely referring to some of the other large festivals like Coachella in California and Bonnaroo in Tennessee. “Our theme for this year is bigger and better.”
It was definitely bigger. No longer a three-day music event featuring less than 100 acts across four stages, organizers announced earlier this year that Firefly 2014 would be 4 days long and feature well more than 100 acts across seven stages.
Dave Grohl’s Foo Fighters, Outkast, Imagine Dragons, Beck, Jack Johnson and The Lumineers headlined a lineup that included 119 other acts.
Across the board, most fans were pleased with the whole lineup.
“I prefer how they did the lineup, with a few really big names and a lot of up and coming, lesser-known artists,” said Brooke Adams, who took advantage of the RV camping and arrived on Wednesday. “It draws a more diverse crowd and, in my opinion, makes the event even more about the music rather than a giant frat party. I’d like to see them continue to improve upon it next year by throwing in some indie R&B and more cool 1990’s bands. Maybe even some randoms that would simultaneously appeal to a slightly older crowd and hipsters. I vote Lionel Ritchie for that one.”
Depending on whom you asked, the award for best performance at the festival could have gone any number of ways. New Jersey resident B.J. Biedebach was originally stoked to see Dave Grohl but was ultimately most impressed with the Twenty One Pilots performance he caught Saturday afternoon.
“It was the best show I’ve ever seen,” he said without hesitation. “Seriously. They were worth every penny I spent on my ticket.”
“I came specifically to see Foo Fighters,” said Carl McMinn, a portly, petite chap from Houstin, Texas. "But, there are so many bands on the lineup that I’m stoked to see. This is what I work for.”
Depending on when Firefliers bought their tickets, general admission packages ranged from $149 for early bird buyers to $299 for latecomers. Many fans took advantage of a February deal that broke the $299 ticket up into three more manageable payments while 1,400 people opted to volunteer at the festival so they could attend for free.
Adams isn’t interested in attending for free. Her plan is to save her pennies for the VIP package.
“I want to be able to see the bands without having to deal with the people jungles,” Adams explained, referring to the massive crowds constantly milling around the many amenities available for everyone. “I’m here for the music first and festival experience second so if we can get decent viewing without all the dirt, pot smoke and pushing and shoving, I’m down for it.”
VIP just isn’t an option for everyone. Celines Valerio, who attended with her sister and two cousins, was one of those volunteers who could be seen picking up trash, serving water or manning various stations.
“Festival life is expensive,” she said. “So, if you can get in for free, you should do whatever you need to do. It wasn’t long hours and I’ve gotten to do more than I would have otherwise. I would do it again.”
She will get her chance. A couple of hours into the first full day of music, Bostrom announced at a press conference that Firefly isn’t going anywhere for a while.
"We want to let you in on a little secret," Bostrom said at Friday’s on-site press conference. "We're going to be back next year. You can't get rid of us that easy."
The dates for Firefly 2015 will be Thursday, June 18 through Sunday, June 21. Pre-sale tickets will go on sale Wednesday for $199 for general admission packages. A lineup announcement likely will not be announced until early 2015.