Firefly Music Festival fans are headed into Dover. The first of the 90,000 music fans expected to converge on The Woodlands at Dover International Speedway are being allowed to set up their campers starting Wednesday.
DelDOT and festival officials promise they are ready for the masses.
“The goal is to make sure the fans come in and out without any angst, and not make things difficult for local residents, either,” said Michael Tatoian, speedway president and CEO.
With three years of Firefly experience and years of dealing with NASCAR traffic, most local drivers know what to expect, according to Gene Donaldson of DelDOT’s Transportation Management Center.
“You should stay away from [Route] 13 and this area,” Donaldson said. “But I don’t see it as big traffic issue. The thing to watch is always pedestrians. That’s our biggest concern. We have a lot pedestrians that cross streets and so forth; be very careful if you’re in the area watching for pedestrians.”
Otherwise, Greg Bostrom of organizer Red Frog Events said planning for this year’s festival began almost immediately after last year’s ended – a point attested to by the litany of improvements to operations at the Woodlands this year.
Highlights include expanded 24-hour loading, 12,000 feet of new roads, new lighting, shuttles, and even faster toll booths, with the goal of a 30-second processing time. It all should boil down to a more efficient system on site, potentially alleviating traffic headaches for fans and locals.
•Most of the traffic is expected to arrive from the north.
•Get real-time traffic updates on WTMC 1380 AM and through DelDOT’s iPhone/Android app, a free download. Google “deldot smartphone app.”
•DelDOT personnel and emergency responders will be on hand, driving the roads, looking for disabled vehicles.
In anticipation of heavy traffic, there will be road closures. Leipsic Road and Persimmon Tree Road near the speedway will be closed to through traffic from 10 a.m. on Thursday, June 18 through Sunday evening, June 21.
Weather may also be a concern for festivalgoers, especially with forecasts for weekend rain. But Donaldson says not to worry, since “the [parking] lots do pretty well in water.”
Next up a week later is the Big Barrel Country Music Festival, June 25-27. Officials expect fewer fans and less traffic, but said they’re ready for that too.