Photo: Derrick Freske
Photo: Derrick Freske

Firefly 2017 Bigger than Ever

There’s never been a dearth of great talent at Firefly, as hundreds of musicians head out to Delaware’s Woodlands of Dover International Speedway every year to take part in one of the summer’s most exciting music festivals. But for the 2017 event, taking part June 15-18, organizers wanted to up the excitement even more.

“Our biggest thing is that we are going to have five headliners this year, as opposed to just three in the past,” says Stephanie Mezzano, Firefly’s vice president of operations and business development. “The talent is as strong as ever and there’s so many new experiences that will make this year’s festival the best-ever.”

The headliners are The Weeknd, Twenty One Pilots, Muse, Chance the Rapper and Bob Dylan—a collection of top acts that are in the musical stratosphere. Of course, those acts are just the tip of the iceberg. Musicians from all genres that will appeal to all ages will be performing throughout the four-day-festival, including favorites such as Flume, Weezer, Busta Rhymes, 30 Seconds To Mars, Dillon Francis and The Shins.

In total, there will be 140-plus bands on 11 Firefly stages this year, including The Rambler, a new roving stage for pop-up shows and a Toyota-branded Music Den Stage.

“What’s also exciting is that we are introducing ideas from our first ‘fan-curated’ poll, where concertgoers were able to go online and pick attractions, name eateries, choose merchandise and even design parts of the festival site,” Mezzano says. “Those changes include a multi-level patio with acoustic performances, more food trucks, and new experiences. People wanted more options, more exciting food, more cocktails and we paid attention to those wishes with some great offerings.”

Another difference this year is that the festival has gone cashless. Vendors will be accepting credit cards, Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Wallet, or one can get a prepaid card at a convenience store and load it up ahead of time.

“The environment of Firefly is so amazing. As soon as artists take to the stage, they are surrounded by trees and all they see are thousands of fans and trees all around them in a beautiful landscape,” Mezzano says. “There’s 70,000 fans enjoying a relaxed summer weekend and there’s so much energy throughout the entire festival. Artists feed off that and that makes some incredible performances.”

Following her debut with her number one Spotify viral track “War Paint,” pop artist Fletcher (pictured above) will be making her first appearance at Firefly this week.

“Fans can expect good vibes, good music, and a really good time,” Fletcher says. “I want people to come, dance, sing along with me and just be present in the moment. It’s all positive vibes.”

The young singer was recently called the “Jennifer Lawrence of Music” by People Magazine, and Entertainment Weekly called her one of “10 artists who will rule 2017.” Still, she understands that many attendees probably don’t know her yet.

“My music has such an anthemic, feel-good vibe about it, so I think people will just be walking by and want to check out the set if they like what they hear,” she says. “I’m just excited to be in such a fun environment where good people come together for good music.”

Also on tap for its first Firefly appearance is the Philadelphia-bred sextet, Cold Roses, who will soon be releasing its second album, Escape to Anywhere.

“We’re definitely going to turn up the heat and bring the noise for this performance. Our set is during the ‘morning shift,’ so we need to make sure that we wake everyone up, get them boogying and feeling good,” says Rob Clancy, lead singer, guitar and songwriter for the band.

“We’ll be playing a handful of songs from our upcoming record, as well as songs from our previous record, No Silence In The City. We also may debut a brand new song that we have never played live yet.”

Although the band has played some smaller festivals, it’s never played to the magnitude of Firefly and all involved are really looking forward to the experience.

“It’s a little hard to comprehend that we’re playing the same festival as some of the greatest bands and musicians in the world,” Clancy says. “If you told me a year ago that we would be on the same festival as Bob Dylan, I probably would have fainted after giving you a hug.”

For more information about bands, tickets or the festival, visit here.

Firefly Festival: Dover International Speedway, Dover, Delaware; www.fireflyfestival.com