Firefly band The Heydaze set for June Jam

The New York-based pop band The Heydaze will perform at Saturday’s June Jam in Houston and at the Firefly Music Festival in Dover on June 17.  (Submitted photo)

The New York-based pop band The Heydaze will perform at Saturday’s June Jam in Houston and at the Firefly Music Festival in Dover on June 17. (Submitted photo)

If local music fans don’t know who The Heydaze are now, they will in the coming week.

The New York-based pop quartet is set to headline Saturday’s June Jam in Houston and will play next weekend’s Firefly Music Festival at the Woodlands of Dover International Speedway.

The Heydaze combine quirky lyrics with catchy guitar riffs and snappy hooks to create a sound it calls “Windows Down, Stereo Up” music.

After building a following at the University of Pennsylvania with songs it put on Sound Cloud and YouTube, such as “Little Bandit” and “Arnold Palmer,” The Heydaze released a four-song self-titled EP last summer. It caught the attention of Island Records, which signed them to a deal in the fall.

The band started when lead singer and guitarist Jesse Fink met fellow Penn student and guitarist Andrew Spellman and they started writing songs together.

Best Bets logo CLEAR copySoon after, they met bassist Alexander Glantz and in 2013, The Heydaze — named after the annual Hey Day at Penn, a tradition that marks the moment when juniors “move up” to seniors following the last day of classes — was born.

Smaller acoustic shows came first but then larger venues followed after the success of its recordings.

Drummer Tyler Matte eventually joined the band and the sound was complete.

“We got together in stages but I think it’s all really meshed well,” said Mr. Fink in a phone interview Tuesday afternoon.

“We all have different musical influences but there are overlaps which make the whole thing work.”

With the popularity of the band came some hard decisions as Mr. Fink dropped out of Penn after his junior year and Mr. Glantz after his freshman term.

Mr. Fink said that didn’t set well with the folks at first.

“They were tentative initially. But all of our parents are really supportive and really believe in this project,” he said.

“By the end of my junior year there came a point where I had to decide if this was going to be my profession or if we’re all just doing it as a small hobby.

“For me to take it seriously, it needed to be my primary responsibility without having tons of other things to worry about.”

The front man of the group said he never really thought of himself as a lead singer.

“Andrew really found my voice. He kind of located this ability in me to be a lead singer and brought it out,” Mr. Fink said.

Aside from selling out its own shows, The Heydaze have toured nationally in the last year with singer Jesse McCartney and the pop duo Timeflies.

While 2015 was the most successful for The Heydaze, 2016 is all about “taking the next step,” said Mr. Fink.

“After we were signed by (Island Records), we spent time in New York and Los Angeles writing with talented people and working with a bunch of producers to get our set super tight.”

The band has two new songs on a forthcoming albums that it will perform at both Delaware shows. One is called “Hurt Like Hell” and the other is “Easier.”

Headlining June Jam, The Heydaze will play from 8:15 to 10 p.m. Although the crowd is expected to be around 2,000 at June Jam and perhaps 10 times that at Firefly, Mr. Fink said the energy will be the same at both.

“We don’t look at June Jam as a small gig at all. We’re not taking it lightly, and look to put on a great show,” he said.

At Firefly, The Heydaze will play The Porch Stage from 3 to 3:45 p.m. June 17.

While it will be front and center at June Jam, the band will find itself at Firefly as one of more than 100 acts.

“There are upsides to both situations,” Mr. Fink said.

“Headlining is a ton of fun. But it’s definitely cool and magical when you are playing in front of bunch of people who don’t know who you are and you can win them over. That’s the most satisfying thing you can do.

“So it’s a cool juxtaposition to be headlining June Jam and be an opener at Firefly.”

The Heydaze will be the first Firefly band to play June Jam.

“(June Jam president) Bob Hartley reached out to (former Firefly director) Greg Bostrom and said ‘What’s the chance of seeing one of your bands come in early and play June Jam?,’ ” said June Jam vice president Lynn Fowler.

“I contacted several bands from the Firefly lineup and The Heydaze met our criteria and were happy to hit our area and perform for us.”

Firefly will be the band’s first major festival and the members are looking forward to it.

“I’ve always admired Firefly for the way it combined these rock and alternative bands with (those having) pop sensibilities,” Mr. Fink said.

“I’ve always regarded the lineup as one of the best of the major festivals.”

The four-day Firefly Music Festival gets underway Thursday and will feature headliners Florence + The Machine, Mumford and Sons, Kings of Leon and Deadmau5.

Tickets, of the four-day and one-day variety, are available at fireflyfestival.com.

June Jam lineup

Saturday’s 38th annual June Jam sets up shop at the G&R Campground with a lineup of country, Southern rock, blues and more.

Dover rockers Shades of August kick things off at noon followed by local country band Mason Dixon at 1 p.m.; the Rush tribute band kRush takes the stage at 2 p.m. with the Junior Jammers at 3 and country’s Robbie Booth at 3:30 p.m.

The afternoon continues with Sussex County’s own lower case blues at 4:45 and Southern rock’s Smokin Gunnz at 5:45. The classic rock group Kategory 5 plays at 7 just before The Heydaze.

The family-friendly picnic setting will offer games, raffles, 50/50s and vendors while helping to raise money for local charitable organizations.

“The June Jam organization and our volunteers have provided support throughout the year for Toys for Tots, Special Olympics, Code Purple, an individual with breast cancer, two house fire victims, an individual with severe intestinal issues, Kent County Tourism, Friends of Delaware Veterans, Gals that Give and Technology Student Association,” Ms. Fowler said.

“Our plan is to donate year round to local organizations and individuals in need.”

Tickets, at $35, can be purchased at the gate. The campground is at 4075 Gun and Rod Club Road in Houston.

Smyrna at Night

Before June Jam and Firefly, the third annual Smyrna at Night blasts off tonight bigger than ever before.

Twenty-eight acts will perform in 10 stages across the Kent County town starting at 5:15 p.m. until 10.

Nalani and Sarina will be one of the headliners for Smyrna at Night. (Submitted photo)

Nalani and Sarina will be one of the headliners for Smyrna at Night. (Submitted photo)

The free, family-friendly event will feature food trucks, outdoor games, craft vendors, beer and spirits, restaurant specials, a biergarten and more.

Pittsburgh-based Lovebettie, lower case blues, Washington indie-folk band Wylder and New Jersey pop-rock sister duo Nalani and Sarina will be the headliners for the one-night event.

Venues include the Smyrna Opera House, Sheridan’s Irish Pub, Oddfellows Cafe, Painted Stave Distilling, Blue Earl Brewery and more.

Due to the anticipated large crowd, parking will be very limited. Officials suggest parking at North Smyrna Elementary School.

Cultural Arts Gala Monday

Staying in Smyrna, The Inn at Duck Creek Cultural Arts Gala to benefit the Smyrna Opera House and the Smyrna Museum will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday.

This will be a tented event on North Main Street in the historic district.

The night will include a four-course gourmet dinner, tastings by Blue Earl Brewing, Harvest Ridge and Painted Stave, a live auction and musical entertainment by the Brothers Stonesifer.

Ron and Ellen Sayers will be honored for their support of the community.

Tickets are $100.

For more information on sponsorship opportunities, volunteering or to be placed on the mailing list to receive an invitation for the event, telephone (302) 653-6449 or email qcsjr@comcast.net.

Battle of the Relationships

If laughs are more your thing, Liberty Comedy’s Battle of the Relationships presents three stand-up comedians in three different life phases — single, married and post-married — at the Schwartz Center for the Arts at 7:30 tonight.

The show features Shaun Eli, Nick Griffin, who has appeared on
“Late Night with David Letterman” 11 times, and Ophira Eisenberg, who has her own show on NPR called “Ask Me Another.”

Tickets are $24-$30 and can be purchased by visiting schwartzcenter.com, calling 678-5152 or the box office at 226 S. State St.

Now showing

New in theaters this weekend is the sci-fi fantasy film “Warcraft 3D,” the comedy adventure sequel “Now You See Me 2,” the horror sequel “The Conjuring 2” and the re-release of the film “Ali.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is the epic “London Has Fallen,” the Olympic-themed “Eddie the Eagle,” the religious film “The Young Messiah,” sci-fi’s “10 Cloverfield Lane” and the Sally Field romantic comedy “Hello, My Name Is Doris.”

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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