First Big Barrel Country Music Festival set to begin

25dsn Big Barrell Setup 001

Setup for this weekend’s Big Barrel Country Music Festival continued in earnest Wednesday morning at the Woodlands of Dover International Speedway. (Delaware State News photo by Dave Chambers)

DOVER — A new music festival — this one with a country flair — is moving into Dover.

Just three days after crowds cleared out from the Firefly Music Festival, campers are set to start checking in today at noon for the Big Barrel Country Music Festival.

Big Barrel runs Friday through Sunday in the Woodlands at Dover International Speedway.

Thirty-nine artists are booked to play across two stages, including headliners Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood, who will close out the festival Friday through Sunday nights, respectively.

The festival is produced and promoted by Red Frog Events, the creators of the Firefly Music Festival.

Miranda Lambert will headline the Big Barrel Country Music Festival on Saturday night. (Submitted photo)

Miranda Lambert will headline the Big Barrel Country Music Festival on Saturday night. (Submitted photo)

In 2014, Red Frog also partnered with Goldenvoice, the creators of Stagecoach Country Music Festival and Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

Greg Bostrom, the festival director for Firefly and Big Barrel, said that he’s expecting 30,000 to 35,000 people at the new music festival.

“That should put it as big or a little bigger than the first Firefly (in 2012),” he said.

Three years later, the Firefly Music Festival drew an estimated 90,000 people to the Woodlands this year.

The festival ran Thursday through Sunday and featured more than 100 artists across seven stages.

“We definitely want to grow (Big Barrel),” Mr. Bostrom said. “Just as we wanted Firefly to be the East Coast premier music festival in terms of the rock genre, we think the same thing can happen for Big Barrel.”

Big Barrel will use the northern part of Firefly’s wooded festival grounds and some of its infrastructure, including the Firefly Main Stage and the Pavilion Stage — now the Big Barrel Stage and the Wildwood Stage.

“A lot of things are the same. We want to focus on the experience. We want to be more than the music. We want people to be comfortable,” Mr. Bostrom said.

“But if we look at just the divide between genres certainly there’s people who listen to country and listen to rock.

“There’s also groups that are specifically country fans. They might want different things than a Firefly fan wants.”

Additional artists include Jake Owen, Chris Young, Gary Allan, Kacey Musgraves and Sturgill Simpson, who also performed at last weekend’s Firefly, along with veteran performers such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Merle Haggard and Loretta Lynn.

Along with three days of country music’s top performers, the festival features a variety of new attractions, including a dance hall, BBQ pit and a marketplace with a variety of western goods.

The Harvest Moon Dance Hall, which will be in the same spot as the Dogfish Head brewery tent at Firefly, offers country line dancing and cold drinks at the Barn Burner Saloon inside.

ALLOWED ITEMS Backpacks, bags or purses smaller than 16-incy by 16-inch by 8-inch Soft folding chairs (No beach loungers or banquet chairs) Digital Cameras (non-professional) Film Cameras (non-professional) Disposable Cameras Ear Plugs Empty Water Containers (plastic bottles, bladders, aluminum bottles allowed) Fanny Packs Cigarettes (smoking is not allowed in festival tents) GoPros Hats Lighters Small Beach Towels Blankets Sunscreen Lotion (no aerosol)

ALLOWED ITEMS
Backpacks, bags or purses smaller than 16-incy by 16-inch by 8-inch
Soft folding chairs (No beach loungers or banquet chairs)
Digital Cameras (non-professional)
Film Cameras (non-professional)
Disposable Cameras
Ear Plugs
Empty Water Containers (plastic bottles, bladders, aluminum bottles allowed)
Fanny Packs
Cigarettes (smoking is not allowed in festival tents)
GoPros
Hats
Lighters
Small Beach Towels
Blankets
Sunscreen Lotion (no aerosol)

The festival will also feature a family area, with kid-friendly activities and open space for children to enjoy, and a petting zoo with pigs, goats, cows and sheep.

“I think you can expect a lot of the things people have come to love about Firefly,” Mr. Bostrom said.

“An immaculate venue — one of the best places to music in the United State, I’m convinced — a focus on the experience of attending and sort of personal detail and being more than just the music. We want all those things for Big Barrel.”

The organizers of Big Barrel also benefit from four Firefly festivals under their belts, he said.

“It’s really hard to even enumerate all the things that we’ve learned,” he said.

“It’s from the minute detail of how to manage the lines and the traffic to, ‘How do we manage the site itself?’ And how do we manage growth, ticketing? All those things. It’s hard to list out the things that we’ve learned. But definitely the four years of experience are going to be a huge factor in our planning for this event.

“We’re really excited about the response the community has had,” Mr. Bostrom said. “We’re excited about the planning for this year and we think it can really continue to grow.”

Big Barrel opens each day at 12:30 p.m. with the music starting at 1:30, 1:40 and 1:50 p.m. Friday through Sunday, respectively.

Gates close at midnight each day.

Three-day general admission passes cost $149 and are free for those 8 and under.

For reserved seating in front of the Big Barrel Stage, which includes a souvenir seat, and access to the standing pit, the closest viewing area to the stage, three-day passes cost $499.

Camping options include Corral Club, which includes a private air-conditioned tent, RV packages and tent camping. Payment plans are available.

Organizers will also be selling three-day festival and camping passes throughout the weekend. They will be available at the will call location at Delaware Technical Community College in Dover.

For more information, visit bigbarrel.com, call 888-512-SHOW, or email info@frontgatetickets.com.

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