Dover band Cypher Clique has a blast kicking off Firefly

DOVER — Tony Blakeman and his group of friends were some of the first people in line, which seemed like it would never end, as attendees patiently waited for the gates to open at 5 p.m. Thursday for the Firefly Music Festival.

“We’ve been here since 2:30 p.m.,” Mr. Blackman said.

Firefly organizers announced last week they had hit the sold-out mark of 90,000 attendees.

“This is my first time, but I’m expecting a great time,” Mr. Blakeman said. “I get to share this experience with my friends. We get to create memories with each other.”

Christine Grayton wasn’t so lucky, as she ran through the massive crowd and gave everyone high-fives while taking her place in the back of the line.

“Everyone seems so down,” Ms. Grayton said.

Ms. Grayton, from Wenham, Mass., said she loves the atmosphere.

“This is my third year,” Ms. Grayton said. “You don’t know anybody, but yet everyone is like family. Everyone is your friend.

“You can introduce yourself and everyone is family for three or four days and then you part ways. Everyone is bonded for their love of music.”

More than 100 groups are set to play across seven stages on the sprawling Woodlands at Dover International Speedway.

The lineup includes headliners Paul McCartney, The Killers and Kings of Leon.

At 5:30 p.m. Dover-based hip-hop group Cypher Clique kicked off the event at the Backyard Stage.

The rap trio consists of Michael Thomas, 24, (aka Mic Anthony); Jamal James, 26, (Relay); and Daryl James, 23, (D-Major).

“One word to describe the feeling is ‘sheesh,’ ” Mr. Thomas said. “It felt great to start the show off. It was perfect. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. We got to set the tone, in a sense.”

The group performed for 30 minutes, and Daryl James said he wasn’t nervous at all.

“We did this plenty of times,” Daryl James said. “It was a great adrenaline rush. We had a live band and that enhanced everything for us.”

Mr. Thomas agreed.

“It made everything sound 10 times better,” he said. “The internet is a great place. My friend and I have known each other since the third grade, and he contacted me on Twitter and just causally said that I should have a live band for Firefly.”

“I told the rest of the group and we were all with it,” Mr. Thomas added.

Jamal James said it  was a great feeling performing for their hometown crowd.

“I was looking into the crowd and saw a couple of people that I knew,” Jamal James said. “When we started getting into our set, more and more people showed up out of nowhere.

“It was more people than I expected. Everyone seemed as though they were having a good time. We had a lot of crowd participation.”

Anthony Berbar and Julian Sponseller never heard of the group before attending the event, but listened to all of their songs during their drive from Ohio.

“We looked at who was performing the first day and decided who we wanted to check out,” Mr. Berbar said. “We listened to their songs on the way here and enjoyed their music. They seem really cool, so we knew we had to check them out.”

Mr. Thomas said that makes him feel honored.

“That’s crazy to me,” Mr. Thomas said. “Who knows how many more people were out there in the same type of situation that don’t even know us. This was just great exposure for us.”

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