Firefly concert organizers ordered the evacuation of the concert grounds around 10 p.m. as severe weather moved into the Dover area.
Flashes of lightning had begun to light up the sky as people began an orderly procession to the gates. Loudspeaker announcements and messages on video screens alerted the crowd, one festival-goer said, while staffers went through the video arcade and eating places, telling people they to head for their cars.
The crowd moved without panicking, although loud yells erupted every time lightning flashed. Every few minutes, people broke into the chorus of The Beatles' "Let It Be," as they continued toward the exits.
At the waiting area for shuttles to a parking area on Lewis Road -- also used as parking for the media -- people crowded onto the few available buses. Most, including the Dover Post’s reporter, elected to walk the roughly one-mile trek back to their cars.
Many were disappointed with the early end to the night's concerts.
"It really sucks, man," said Will Harris of Milford. "The concert was getting really good."
The band Kid Cudi was due to start when the evacuation order came, Harris said.
"I'm just sad we had to miss it," he said. "I hope it gets rescheduled."
Hope Corbin also was disappointed. "It sucks, it really sucks," the Annapolis, Md. resident said. "We wanted to see the Kings of Leon and now we can't. What makes it worse is, we have to go back to what -- tents? They’re not any safer than being out here."
But John El Baz seemed to accept the situation. "I've been to festivals where this has happened before," he said. "You just have to roll with it."
The National Weather Service has put a severe thunderstorm watch in effect until 1 a.m.