Eilish, Rage Against the Machine and Halsey to headline Firefly Music Festival

Billie Eilish, who won five Grammy awards Sunday night, will headline this year’s Firefly Music Festival. (TNS photo)

DOVER — Multi Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Billie Eilish, rock group Rage Against the Machine, Halsey, R&B singer Khalid, Blink 182, the Eastern Shore’s own Maggie Rogers, Cage the Elephant, DJ Illenium and rappers Run the Jewels will headline this year’s Firefly Music Festival, officials announced Tuesday.

The Firefly Music Festival will take place over six stages June 18–21 at the Woodlands of Dover.

Ms. Eilish, 18, made history at the 62nd annual Grammy Awards Sunday night by becoming the first woman to take home the four biggest awards: album (for “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”), song, record (both for “Bad Guy”) and best new artist. She also won best pop vocal album, also for “When We All Fall Asleep ….”

Cage the Elephant, a Kentucky-based rock band, also took home an award with best rock album for “Social Cues.” They won the same Grammy in 2017 for the album “Tell Me I’m Pretty.”

Although Ms. Eilish is now the hottest star in music today, Sean O’Connell, vice president of programming for Firefly, says he has had his eye on her for the last couple of years.

“I saw her in a small venue almost two years ago to the day and she blew my mind,” Mr. O’Connell said Tuesday.

“And then I saw her at a music festival in Montreal where she was competing with a lot of big names and she had 1,000 people in the audience before she had even dropped an album. People had just heard whispers about her.

“And she was rock ‘n’ roll all the way for 45 minutes and the volume didn’t drop for one song. Plus she was running around on a cast at the time doing God knows what kind of damage to her leg. She has been a headliner in my book for a long time.”

Rage Against the Machine last played live in 2011 but are reuniting starting this spring for a string of shows, which also includes the Coachella festival in April.

Musicians Zack De La Rocha, left, and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine perform during the Coachella Music Festival in 2007. The band reunites this year after not playing live since 2011. (TNS photo)

Ms. Rogers, a native of Easton, Maryland, went to St. Andrew’s School in Middletown. Firefly will be the only East Coast stop on her tour. On Tuesday, she posted on her Instagram story a photo of the Firefly poster with a line that said “I’m coming home.”

The singer-songwriter was nominated for Best New Artist at this year’s Grammys, losing out to Ms. Eilish. She hit it big last year with her first studio album “Heard it in a Past Life” in 2009 as it went to No. 2 on the Billboard U.S. chart.

She previously played Firefly in 2017 where she was listed considerably lower on the list.

Halsey had a No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 with “Hopeless Fountain Kingdom” in 2017, as well as two No. 2 albums with “Badlands” in 2015 and “Manic” this year.

Her hits include “Closer”, a collaboration with The Chainsmokers; “Without Me”; and “Bad at Love.”

She was the musical guest this past weekend on “Saturday Night Live.”

Other names on the lineup include David Lee Roth, Scottish synth-pop band Chvrches, The Struts, Blink-182, DJ Diplo and rappers Lil’ Dicky and Big Boi.

Mr. O’Connell said he’s very happy with the total group of artists.

“The reaction has been incredible. It’s always hard to put the lineup into context while you’re working on it. It’s been shared and liked more than last year already. It’s going to be a massive year for us,” he said.

“Rage and Billie were a couple of the top targets that we had. It was a long process and there were times they went away and came back so we’re thrilled. We’re a big believer in this lineup. We are music fans first and foremost and we’re thrilled.”

It’s a varied lineup this year, which “checks off a lot of boxes,” Mr. O’Connell said.

“You have stars like Halsey, Khalid and Maggie Rogers who will headline. Our audience loves Cage the Elephant and we knew going after David Lee Roth singing Van Halen songs would make it the biggest singalong Dover, Delaware, has ever seen.”

Although this year’s lineup does seem to have a big of everything, Mr. O’Connell says it’s really all about the music, no matter what kind it is.

“You have acts further down the list like The Band Camino or White Reaper who are making great music.,” he said.

Maggie Rogers, right, embraces Brandi Carlile before a performance at the 2018 Newport Folk Festival. Ms. Rogers, a native of Easton, Maryland and graduate of St. Andrew’s School in Middletown, will be making her second appearance at Firefly this year. (TNS photo)

“And folks need to check out Meute, who is an 11-piece German marching band who rock. It’s just all about whoever is making really great music.”

Fan reaction was predominately positive on the Facebook’s Firefly Fan Page Tuesday.

“They have two female headliners — a lot of people have been wanting that,” said Bob Warburton.

“Billie is the hottest act in the world right now, two days off crushing at the Grammys. Halsey is fresh off hosting “SNL” on Saturday. Oh yeah, one of the most powerful live bands of all time. Rage will rock the Woodlands like no previous act, and will catapult to one of the top performances in Firefly history along with Sir Paul and the Foo Fighters. Plenty of good rock undercards for me. We are not going back to rock centric festivals anymore. Times have changed. So with that in mind, I am very pleased.”

Alexandra O’Loughlin Gorry agreed.

“This, in my opinion (as a veteran (Firefly-er from the first year when it was held in July) this is the best lineup they’ve had in the past few years,” she said.

“Yeah there’s some good names but that’s bound to happen every year. Compare it to lineups even up to 2018 and this is really sad and unimpressive,” wrote Emma Cloutier.

But Tim Carlson said to each his own.

“I love it. Definitely caters to my taste. Others are entitled to their own opinions,” he wrote.

Performance times and dates were not announced Tuesday.

Ticket presale begins Friday at 10 a.m. with tickets on sale to the general public beginning Monday on FireflyFestival.com. Visit the Firefly website to register and receive a unique code for early access.

Four-day general admission tickets start at $299. A VIP pass starts at $699 while Super VIP starts at $2,499. In the past, one-day passes have gone on sale closer to the dates of the festival. The only year that did not happen was 2015 when Paul McCartney performed.

This is the ninth year for Firefly, which will return to a four-day schedule this year after going back to three days in 2019 after it was purchased by AEG Presents from Red Frog Events.

In past years, Firefly has featured acts such as Tom Petty, Foo Fighters, John Legend, Jack White and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Last year’s festival saw rock act Panic at the Disco! and hip-hop artists Travis Scott and Post Malone as headliners.

Firefly Music Festival 2020 Lineup in alphabetical order:

Anna Lunoe
Avi Kaplan
Big Boi
Big Wild
Billie Eilish
Boys Noize
Bryce Vine
Cage the Elephant
Cash Cash
Cat Dealers
Choir! Choir! Choir!
Cold War Kids
Conan Gray
Cub Sport
David Lee Roth
Devon Gilfillian
Dominic Fike
Don Toliver
Eliza & The Delusionals
Haiku Hands
Illiterate Light
JJ Wilde
Kali Uchis
Leif Vollebekk
Lil Dicky
Lil Tecca
Loud Luxury
Maggie Rogers
Matt Maeson
Neon Trees
Noah Cyrus
Noga Erez
Omar Apollo
Petit Biscuit
Rage Against the Machine
Rainbow Kitten Surprise
RL Grime
Run the Jewels
Space Jesus
Sub Urban
Sudan Archives
The Band Camino
The Districts
The Glorious Sons
The Regrettes
The Struts
The Unlikely Candidates
Tove Lo
Trevor Daniel
Whipped Cream
White Reaper
99 Neighbors