Firefly from A to Z: Music, munchies and more in store

More than 90.000 music fans attended the Firefly Music Festival last year. The gates open today at noon. (Delaware State News file photo/Marc Clery)

More than 140 bands playing on nine stages in four days. That’s what the Firefly Music Festival has become in dear old Dover, Delaware, in this, its sixth year.

This year’s music lineup contains a Nobel Prize winner and an Oscar winner along with a boatload of Grammy awardees.

The event started Thursday night at 5 p.m. when the gates opened to the masses and will close around midnight Sunday.

Last year, 90,000 people traversed the grounds and officials say they are ready for the same amount this year.

As has been the custom in this space for the last several years, here’s an alphabetical look at some of the highlights, musical and otherwise, of this year’s Firefly.

A — AFI, which stands for A Fire Inside, is a California rock band, which has released 10 studio albums, 10 EPs and a live album over the course of the last 16 years.

They first hit the top of the charts with the album, “Sing the Sorrow” in 2003, which peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 and remained on the chart for 51 weeks, becoming the group’s best-selling release. The singles “Girl’s Not Grey” and “Silver and Cold”, peaked at No. 7 on the America’s Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart.

Their seventh album, “Decemberunderground,” in 2006, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and featured the hit singles “Miss Murder” and “Love Like Winter”.

They play today at 4 on the Main Stage.

AFI, which stands for A Fire Inside, plays the Firefly Music Festival Main Stage today at 4 p.m. (Submitted photo/Jiro Schneider)

B — For those of a certain age, Bob Dylan may be the only act that is recognizable this year.

The 76-year-old music legend became a leader in the fight for civil rights and the anti-war movement in the 1960s with his songs “Blowin in the Wind” and “The Times They Are A-Changin’.”

He’s crossed the musical spectrum ever since in a variety of different genres. His latest album, “Triplicate,” comprises 30 recordings from the Great American Songbook, including “As Time Goes By” and “Stormy Weather.”

Mr. Dylan, who was awarded a Nobel Prize for Literature last year, is in a bit of hot water these days for alleged plagiarism in parts of his recent Nobel lecture. It will be interesting to see if he addresses those concerns Saturday night at 8:30 on the Main Stage.

C — Chance the Rapper, a singer/songwriter, and record producer from Chicago, gained recognition with the release of his second mixtape, “Acid Rap” in 2013.

In May of last year, he released his third mixtape “Coloring Book” to critical acclaim, going on to win three Grammy awards, including one for Best Rap Album.

He’s part of a Saturday night that will see a record three headliners. His set gets underway in the wee hours of Sunday morning at 12:30 on the Backyard Stage. He previously played Firefly in 2014.

D — DJ Jazzy Jeff, known for his partnership with megastar Will Smith, won’t have too far of a drive as he’s now a resident of Bear.

The West Philadelphia native first hit it big with Mr. Smith as they formed the duo DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince with Jeff on the turntable and Will on the microphone.

They received their first Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance in 1989 for “Parents Just Don’t Understand,” and “Summertime” earned them their second Grammy in 1991.

He continues to tour the world and is also an acclaimed record producer. Jazzy Jeff plays The Pavilion at 5:15 p.m. Saturday.

E — Festivalgoers will find a host of good eats this year.

Around 50 food kiosks await the host of hungry music fans. Local folks will recognize venues like Doc Magrogan’s and Grotto Pizza but have other options to choose from, including Vietnamese, Indian, Creole, dumplings, noodles, seafood, pretzels and much more.

As with all of the merchandise and food areas, Firefly is cashless this year. So make sure you have your credit or debit card. You can also use Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay or Square Cash.

F — Firefly is priding itself on bing the first fan-curated music festival, taking ideas from musicgoers and putting them into action.

The first attraction inspired by fans is The Fort.

The multi-level bar, built with recycled materials, boasts yard games, food trucks, and upper-level viewing decks to The Lawn and Porch stages. The Fort is the newest addition The Woodlands.

Electronic dance music duo Galantis plays the Backyard Stage Saturday night. (Submitted photo/Katharina Naess)

G — The Grammy-nominated Swedish dance music duo Galantis, consists of producers and DJs Christian Karlsson and Linus Eklöw.

The group’s debut album, “Pharmacy” was released in June of 2015. It reached No. 1 on the Billboard Dance album chart on the strength of hit singles like “Peanut Butter Jelly” and “Runaway (U & I).” It went gold in three countries and has streaming numbers upwards of 430 million.

In April of 2016, the pair released the single “No Money,” which became their first single to debut on the US Billboard Hot 100. In August, they released the standalone single “Make Me Feel” for the soundtrack to Netflix’s original film, “XOXO”.

They play the Backyard Stage at 9:45 p.m. Saturday.

H — Hamilton Leithauser is an American singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He is the former lead vocalist of the indie rock band The Walkmen, with whom he recorded seven studio albums.

In 2016, he formed Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam with Rostam Batmanglij, formerly of Vampire Weekend, a Firefly veteran group. They released the single “A 1000 Times” in July 2016 and their debut album, “I Had a Dream That You Were Mine,” was released in September.

He performs Sunday at 4 p.m. on the Lawn Stage.

I — Denver’s Illenium, aka Nick Miller, made his official debut into the electronic dance music world in 2013 with the release of his self-titled EP, although he had been working at it since 2008.

In February of 2016, he released his debut studio album, “Ashes.” The album peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums chart and at No. 19 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart.

He’ll be in The Pavilion Sunday at 5:45 p.m.

J — Jared Leto is the first person to receive an Oscar to appear at Firefly. He’ll be here with his band Thirty Seconds to Mars.

Mr. Leto, who won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2013 for “Dallas Buyers’ Club,” fronts the progressive rock band that is also comprised of his older brother Shannon Leto and Tomo Milicevic.

They have sold over 5 million albums worldwide and the band’s videos have more than 300 million views on YouTube.

They will play Sunday night at 6:45 on the Main Stage.

K — Kesha has been going strong since the release of her debut album “Animal” in 2010. That year she was declared Billboard’s Hot 100 Artist and her debut single, “TiK ToK,” was named Billboard’s No. 1 Hot 100 Song.

She has had eight consecutive Top 10 hits, including four No. 1 singles, which also included “Timber,” a multi-platinum award-winning collaboration with Pitbull.

She has written all of her own music, as well as songs for artists including Britney Spears, Ariana Grande, The Veronicas and Miley Cyrus.

Kesha recently hit the news when comedian Jerry Seinfeld refused to hug her at a red carpet event. Her last time in Kent County was in 2014 when she played the Delaware State Fair.

She performs on the Lawn Stage Saturday at 9:45 p.m.

L — A non-traditional rapper, Lil Dicky’s first commercial album, “Professional Rapper,” debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 200 and No. 1 on both the comedy and rap charts in 2015.

He came to prominence in 2013 with the release of the music video to his song “Ex-Boyfriend,” which went viral with more than 1 million views on YouTube in 24 hours.

He hits the Lawn Stage tonight at 7.

The British rock trio Muse plays Firefly Sunday night at 9:15. (Submitted photo/Gavin Bond)

M — Headliner Muse closes out the Main Stage Sunday at 9:15.

The English rock band consists of Matt Bellamy, Dominic Howard and Chris Wolstenholme. Their last album, “Drones,” was released in June of 2015 and debuted at No. 1 in 21 countries around the world. It was their first No. 1 album in the United States. The album spawned the No. 1 hit “Dead Inside,” and the band went on to win its second Grammy Award for Best Rock Album in February of 2016.

They have released seven studio albums, selling upwards of 20 million albums since their debut in 1994.

N — The New Zealand indie electronica band The Naked and Famous made a splash in 2010 with their album “Passive Me, Aggressive You,” with hit singles such as “Young Blood,” “Punching In A Dream and Girls Like You.”

Their followup album “In Rolling Waves” was released in 2013, followed up by “Simple Forms” in 2016.

They play Saturday at 7:15 p.m. on the Lawn Stage.

O — Known for their imaginative music videos, the power-pop quartet OK Go won a Grammy Award in 2007 for their video “Here It Goes Again.”

Their fourth and most recent album “Hungry Ghosts” was released in 2014 on their own label Paracadute.

OK Go will play tonight at 9:30 on the Lawn Stage.

P — The electronica dance duo, who also dabbles in hip hop, Phantogram has released three studio albums “Eyelid Movies” in 2009, “Voices” in 2014 and “Three” in 2016), four EPs and eight singles.

They are set for Sunday at 8:15 p.m. on the Backyard Stage.

Q — Hip-hop DJs Quitehype, of Philadelphia, will wrap up the first Northeast Rising Showcase in the campgrounds.

The showcase will feature musical acts from the area 150 miles around Dover. Thirteen acts will play both Saturday and Sunday in the campgrounds. Saturday, they will set up in the North Hub and Sunday in the South Hub.

The schedule starts at 10 a.m. both days and wraps up with Quitehype at 6 p.m.

R — Busta Rhymes, the veteran rapper and music producer, is known for his off-the-grid style and intricate performance patter. He has received 11 Grammy Award nominations for his music.

Hits include “Woo Hah!! Got You All in Check”, “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See”, “Dangerous”, “Gimme Some More”, “What’s It Gonna Be?” with Janet Jackson and “I Know What You Want” with Mariah Carey.

He performs Sunday on the Main Stage at 1 p.m.

S — StubHub Live: The Coffee House will feature intimate sets from main stage acts throughout the weekend. From O.A.R., Bob Moses and Hamilton Leithauser to Salt Cathedrals and Magic Giant, a total of 15 acts will take to the coffee house stage throughout the festival’s four days.

Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots performs during the 2014 Firefly Music Festival. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

T — Twenty One Pilots is back for the third time and this year as a headliner.

The indie-pop duo exploded in 2015 with their album “Blurryface,” which generated a series of hits, including “Tear In My Heart,” “Ride,” the crossover smash, “Stressed Out,” which reached No. 1 on the Alternative Songs, Pop Songs and Adult Pop Song charts while earning Platinum certifications in Australia, Canada, Finland, Italy and the Netherlands.

The Grammy Award-winning band is the first rock act in 25 years to land three top-five songs on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart in one year.

They perform tonight at 10:45 on the Main Stage.

U — Ultimate Frisbee and a variety of sports will be yours to play this weekend as Firefly will offer three-hour mini tournaments this year.

Capture the Flag and kickball are also on the agenda. Wednesday and Thursday saw soccer and flag football.

You can register your team or yourself at or just show up and see if there is still room to play.

V — VIP passes are still available for $699 for the weekend or $249 for a one-day pass.

Passes include VIP viewing at all stages, private restrooms, exclusive dining options available for purchase, access to VIP hospitality tent at The Lawn, private cash bars and all areas available to general admission.

W — The Grammy Award-winning R&B singer The Weeknd’s ‘Trilogy” album reached platinum status in the U.S. and Canada in 2013 and debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard Top 200.

In 2015, he released his critically-acclaimed album “Beauty Behind The Madness,” which featured hit singles such as “The Hills”, “Can’t Feel My Face” and “Earned It.” It debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200.

The headliner plays the Main Stage Saturday night at 11.

X — With his mix of electronic pop, hip-hop and soul music, Quinn XCII had a big 2016. In January of last year, his collaboration with ayokay, “Kings of Summer,” soared to No. 1 on the Spotify Global Viral Chart where it spent three weeks. His follow-up collaboration with producer Illenium, also at Firefly this year, “With You,” also went No. 1 on the HypeMachine Popular Chart and reached No. 20 on the Spotify Global Viral Chart.

He will play the Porch Stage Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

Y — Youth is on the mind of Firefly producer Red Frog Events, which has partnered with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital since 2010, raising over $13 million.

In January 2013, Red Frog Events committed to raising $25 million for St. Jude and obtained naming rights to the “St. Jude Red Frog Events Proton Therapy Center” that was completed in 2015 in Memphis.

Festivalgoers can donate to the cause throughout the grounds.

Z — Looking for zzzzs? Formerly called The Hammock Hangout, The Nook is a place to relax with an area nestled in the woods.

Guests are invited to set up their own hammocks, grab one that’s already set up or take advantage of the new seating options.

Gates open today through Sunday at noon and close at 2 a.m. tonight and Saturday and midnight Sunday.

General admission passes are still available at $129 for a single day and start at $319 for the weekend.

To get tickets and see the whole schedule, visit

Now showing

New this weekend in theaters is the underwater suspense-thriller “47 Meters Down,” the Tupac Shakur biopic “All Eyez on Me,” the animated “Cars 3D” and the comedy “Rough Night.”

New on download and DVD starting Tuesday is the family film “A Dog’s Purpose,” “Life” with Jake Gyllenhaal and “Sleepless” with Jamie Foxx.

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