Delaware continues five-year love affair with Firefly

Governor Jack Markell makes remarks at a press conference on the second day of Firefly 2016 in Dover. (Special to the Delaware State News/Doug Curran)

Governor Jack Markell makes remarks at a press conference on the second day of Firefly 2016 in Dover. (Special to the Delaware State News/Doug Curran)

DOVER –– Firefly Music Festival organizers joined state and local officials Friday to celebrate the start of the festival’s fifth year.

“You guys are a great company and take the fun wherever you go,” said Gov. Jack Markell about Red Frog Events, the parent company of Firefly. “You’re exactly the kind of organization any state would want to associate themselves with.”

As he’s done for the past couple years, Gov. Markell plans to spend the weekend at the Woodlands of Dover

Stephanie Mezzano, COO of Red Frog Events, producers of the Firefly Music Festival, talks about the event. (Special to the Delaware State News/Doug Curran)

Stephanie Mezzano, COO of Red Frog Events, producers of the Firefly Music Festival, talks about the event. (Special to the Delaware State News/Doug Curran)

International Speedway with his family.

“It’s an absolutely huge year for Firefly,” said Red Frog CEO Stephanie Mezzano. “We’ve continued to invest in this property and the Woodlands are better than ever.”

Festival-goers seemed happy about the recent upgrades.

“It’s a really cool place to hang out and gives you a chance to get out of the sun,” said Dover resident and second-year festival attendee Diane Coddling of the expanded Treehouse Stage.

The Treehouse has always been a smaller stage set in the woods. But due to its popularity in previous years, festival organizers made the decision to make it a permanent stage and create a larger area for people to enjoy the music.

“It’s still a quiet and private area, which really allows you to enjoy the shows,” Ms. Coddling added.

The most visually striking additions are two art installations –– a blue structure to create some shade and a neon green tube just for visual effect.

“The tube looks really amazing at night,” said Cindy Reed of Oregon.

She has always been a festival fan and recently got a job that’s allowed her to travel the country helping with festival setups.

“I’ve been to a lot of festivals and these art installations are great, but I’d definitely like to see more,” she said. “They have a good visual effect and also do a lot to break up all the open space here. For the most part, it’s a giant field.”

Festival-goers Liam Murphy and Cindy Reed took a break from the heat and sun on Friday, relaxing in the shade provided by a new art installation at Firefly. (Delaware State News/Ashton Brown)

Festival-goers Liam Murphy and Cindy Reed took a break from the heat and sun on Friday, relaxing in the shade provided by a new art installation at Firefly. (Delaware State News/Ashton Brown)

But she did appreciate the shade offered by the blue installation, which integrated benches as well for attendees to take a load off.

As with any festival, spirits play a large part and Firefly has expanded the drinking experience with a larger and enhanced Beercade.

The tent features more activities, including arcade games, classic games and cornhole.

“I actually played some pinball today,” said Rachel Tutelli of Long Island, New York. She is attending the festival with three of her siblings. “We were here last year and they didn’t have cornhole, so that’s been a lot of fun too.”

Ms. Tutelli and her family also took advantage of the outdoor seating, drinking and relaxing while holding up their Frank Reynolds character totem from the TV show “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” to be easily spotted by friends.

Linda Parkowski, executive director of Delaware Tourism, said Firefly is giving millenials –– people like those of the Tutelli family –– the chance to get to know Delaware and potentially pique an interest that could cause them to come back for events other than Firefly.

Delaware’s marketing demographic had formerly been older adults. But, Ms. Parkowski said now the demographic spans from 25 to 55.

“We’re hoping these visitors have the opportunity to discover and explore Delaware,” she said.

Today at Firefly

Today will see the music going until 2 a.m. when DJ and producer Deadmau5 performs on the Main Stage starting at 12:45 a.m. Rock trio Pepper will also perform until 2 a.m. on The Backyard Stage starting at 1:15 a.m.

The day of music kicks off at 12:30 p.m. with Strangers You Know on The Lawn Stage and Pvris on The Backyard.

Main Stage headliners today will be Chairlift, Catfish and The Bottlemen, Chvrches, Death Cab for Cutie, Florence + The Machine at 10:15 followed by Deadmau5.

Other highlights of the day include rappers Fetty Wap and A$AP Rocky on The Backyard Stage with St. Lucia preceding Pepper at 11:45 p.m.

St. Lucia will also do a DJ set at The Treehouse Stage at 7:45 p.m.

Yahoo.com will be streaming selected sets throughout the weekend.

Gates open at noon with single-day passes available at fireflyfestival.com.

Linda Parkowski, executive director of Delaware Tourism, is glad to see Firefly. (Special to the Delaware State News/Doug Curran)

Linda Parkowski, executive director of Delaware Tourism, is glad to see Firefly. (Special to the Delaware State News/Doug Curran)

Reach staff writer Ashton Brown at abrown@newszap.com. Follow @AshtonReports on Twitter.

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