Firefly from A to Z: More than just McCartney

About 90.000 people are expected at this weekend's sold-out Firefly Music Festival at the Woodlands of Dover International Speedway. (Delaware State News file photo)

About 90.000 people are expected at this weekend’s sold-out Firefly Music Festival at the Woodlands of Dover International Speedway. (Delaware State News file photo)

In its fourth year, this weekend’s Firefly Music Festival, which started Thursday night and begins today in earnest when gates open at noon, promises to be the biggest yet.

With about 130 acts on seven stages and a first-time sellout crowd of 90,000 people expected, the festival is growing by leaps and bounds every year.

The addition this year of Sir Paul McCartney playing at 10 tonight goes a long way in selling out the four-day affair.

With the music legend giving perhaps the biggest concert Delaware has ever seen comes folks attending Firefly who in previous years wouldn’t have considered joining in the mass of musical humanity that is descending on Dover this weekend.

With that in mind, we present our annual A to Z guide to Firefly to get you up to date on who’s playing this year and what to expect as you traverse the Woodlands of Dover International Speedway over the next few days.

A — Awolnation is an independent electronic rock band fronted and formed by Aaron Bruno.

Best Bets logo CLEAR copyThe group’s first studio album “Megalithic Symphony” in 2011 spent 111 weeks on the Billboard magazine Top 200 album chart and was certified gold. Its hit single, “Sail,” totaled nearly 6 million in sales while becoming the second longest-charting song on Billboard’s all-genre Hot 100 singles chart.

Awolnation produced a follow-up album in March titled “Run.” Following tonight’s show at 6:45 on The Lawn stage, the band opens for The Rolling Stones Saturday night in Pittsburgh.

B — Bastille, a British indie pop band, came out with its first album, “Bad Blood” in 2013 and produced the megahit “Pompeii,” along with “Bad Blood” and “Laughter Lines.”

Bastille, named after the July 14 Bastille Day birthday of its founder Dan Smith, recently took on a fifth member for a string of festival dates, including Firefly, and has started to perform songs from its upcoming next album.

Bastille will play on the main Firefly stage at 6:45 p.m. Sunday.

C — Kentucky rock band Cage the Elephant, known for it energetic live performances, formed in 2006 and its first self-titled album in 2008 found success.

The band’s second album, “Thank You, Happy Birthday,” released in 2011, debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard album charts and produced the No. 1 alternative hit “Shake Me Down.”

The band’s third album “Melophobia” earned them a Grammy Award nomination this year for Best Alternative Music Album, producing the hits “Come a Little Closer” and “Cigarette Daydreams.”

Cage the Elephant performs on the main stage today at 5:45 p.m.

D — The Dirty Heads, a California band that combines reggae, hip-hop and punk, had a breakout 2008 album “Any Port In The Storm” which included the chart-topping “Lay Me Down.” The track had a run for 11 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard charts.

That debut was followed by “Cabin By The Sea” in 2012 and then a 2013 acoustic album “Home – Phantoms Of Summer.” The group’s 2014 album “Sound of Change” debuted at No. 1 on the U.S. Alternative chart and No. 2 on the U.S. Rock chart.

The Dirty Heads play at 7:15 p.m. Saturday on The Backyard stage.

E — Echosmith, another California band, is composed of four siblings: Graham, Sydney, Noah and Jamie Sierota performing rock-pop tunes.

They are best known for their 2013 hit song “Cool Kids,” which reached No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100. Their latest hit “Bright,” was released earlier this year and received considerable airplay.

Firefly audiences will have two chances to catch them today — at 3:30 p.m. on The Lawn Stage and then at 8:30 p.m. in the more stripped-down setting of The Coffeehouse.

F — Foster the People is a returnee to the Firefly roster, having co-headlined the final night of the festival in 2013 with Vampire Weekend.

Early in 2011 they released a self-titled EP that featured their mega-hit song “Pumped Up Kicks”.

Later that summer the band released its debut record, “Torches,” and in 2012 they took home the Billboard Music Awards’ Top Rock Song award and were nominated for a host of others honors.

In 2014, Foster the People returned with their sophomore album, “Supermodel.” At the band’s 2013 Firefly show, they played four songs off of the record.

Foster the People plays Saturday at 8:15 p.m. on the main Firefly stage.

G — Gary Clark Jr., a native of Austin, Texas, uses deep blues influence with classic hip-hop and contemporary soul to create his unique sound.

In 2010, he was the only young newcomer to be selected by Eric Clapton to perform at the Crossroads Guitar Festival, where he performed with Doyle Bramhall II and Sheryl Crow.

He has gone on to win Blues Music Awards in 2014 and 2015 in the Contemporary Blues Male Artist of the Year category and worked with last year’s Firefly headliner Foo Fighters on their 2014 album “Sonic Highways.”

Mr. Clark performs on the Firefly stage Saturday at 3:45 p.m.

19dsn Hozier

Hozier

H — Hozier, aka Andrew Hozier-Byrne of Ireland, is another blues-based artist who has hit it big this year with the chart-topper “Take Me to Church.” As of May, the song has sold 4,100,000 copies in the U.S.

His 2014 self-titled album has had four other singles come off of it, none reaching the popularity of the first for U.S. audiences but all doing very well in Ireland.

Hozier plays Sunday on The Lawn stage at 5:45 p.m.

I — Hailing from Sydney, Australia, longtime friends Kristian Attard and Serg Dimitrijevic form Intergalactix, an electronic music duo who have just started to come into their own.

For the past several years, they have been working behind the scenes with artists such as Good Charlotte, Jason Mraz, Heart and Earth Wind & Fire.

They start things off Saturday at 12:15 p.m. on The Backyard stage but will also perform today at 11 a.m. on one of the Hub stages outside the grounds.

J — Joe Pug, aka Joseph Pugliese, is a folk singer-songwriter from Greenbelt, Maryland.

After touring with Steve Earle in 2009, Pug was signed by Nashville indie label Lightning Rod Records and released the album “Messenger” in 2010. After moving to Austin, Texas, he released the album “The Great Despiser” in 2012.

His work has been compared to that of Bob Dylan and John Prine.

He plays The Lawn stage Saturday at 12:45 p.m.

K — Kings of Leon and The Killers headline Saturday and Sunday on the main stage, respectively.

Kings of Leon, an Oklahoma band, combines Southern rock and blues sound with a bit of arena rock of late, to rocket to the top of the charts.

Kings of Leon

Kings of Leon

With the release of “Only by the Night” in 2008 the band hit it big in the United States. The singles “Sex on Fire,” “Use Somebody” and “Notion” all peaked at No. 1 on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart.

The album was its first Platinum-selling album in the United States.

Its most-recent album, “Mechanical Bull” was released in 2013.

The Killers are a repeat headliner, playing the Saturday night of Firefly’s 2012 debut year.

The Las Vegas rockers have released four chart-topping studio albums, starting in 2004 with “Hot Fuss” until 2012’s “Battle Born,” selling 22 million albums worldwide.

Their hits include “Mr. Brightside,” “Somebody Told Me” and “When You Were Young.”

Kings of Leon play at 10:30 p.m. Saturday while The Killers perform at 9:15 p.m. Sunday.

L — Rapper Logic was born Sir Robert Bryson Hall II in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

He has garnered a massive Internet following and is a member of the rap group RattPack. He has released four official mixtapes, with the most recent being the critically acclaimed

“Young Sinatra: Welcome to Forever.” He released his debut album “Under Pressure” in 2014.

Logic plays today at 3:30 p.m. on The Backyard stage.

M —  British singer Morrissey gained fame in the 1980s as the lyricist and vocalist of the college-staple band The Smiths.

The often-mercurial performer, known for his sometimes bleak and moody lyrics, has had solo success since The Smiths’ breakup in 1987.

Although he continued to tour, Morrissey failed to record an album from 1998 to 2003. His return to the studio in 2004 produced the album “You Are the Quarry,” which peaked at No. 11 on the U.S. Billboard charts.

Morrissey plays at 7:45 tonight on the main stage.

N — In what could be the most creative name of this year’s Firefly lot, Night Terrors of 1927 is a pop duo from Los Angeles.

In 2014, the pair released a single featuring Canadian pop duo Tegan and Sara, and in January they released their first album titled “Everything’s Coming up Roses.”

Night Terrors plays The Forest stage Saturday at 4:45 p.m.

O — Odesza, an American electronic music duo from Seattle, was formed in 2012 shortly before Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight graduated from Western Washington University.

Its first album, “Summer’s Gone,” was released in 2012 to much acclaim. Following that, Odesza released its first EP in 2013, “My Friends Never Die,” followed by their second LP, “In Return,” in 2014.

They perform today on The Pavilion stage at 5:45.

P — We’ll go with Sir Paul McCartney for this one. The most anticipated concert in Firefly and Dover history comes a day after his 73rd birthday.

The mega-set is officially slated for 10 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., however his just-completed European leg of the current

Sir Paul McCartney

Sir Paul McCartney

Get Out Tour saw shows going longer than that.

His last concert on June 11 at Stade de France in Saint-Denis, France, had him performing a whopping 43 songs, relying heavily on Beatles material but also Wings songs and a collection of his solo work.

It figures to be one massive sing-along in Dover tonight.

Q — Quiet can be found at Firefly. There are a number of Hammock Hangouts throughout the festival grounds to grab a break from all of the fun and perhaps catch some winks in the wooded setting.

R — Run the Jewels is a hip-hop duo formed by New York City-based rapper/music producer El-P and Atlanta-based rapper Killer Mike in 2013.

They released their self-titled debut studio album as a free digital download in 2013. Last year, they put out “Run the Jewels 2”.

In January, they opened for Jack White, who headlined Firefly the first night of the first year, at Madison Square Garden and have been on the festival circuit this year, performing at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in April, the Boston Calling Music Festival and Big Guava Music Festival in May and the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival earlier this month.

They have been performing of late with Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and will play tonight at 9 on The Pavilion stage.

S — Hip-hop legend Snoop Dogg comes to Firefly this weekend known to music and non-music fans alike.

Having sold more than 35 million albums worldwide, Snoop Dogg is just as well-known as a movie and TV actor and reality star.

His 13th studio album “Bush” was released last month. Produced by Pharrell Williams, Mr. Williams also is heard on the first single to come from the album “Peaches N Cream,” released in March.
Snoop Dogg plays The Lawn stage at 8 p.m. Sunday.

T — Electro-pop Swedish artist Tove Lo, born Ebba Tove Elsa Nilsson, found success with the release of her debut studio album “Queen of the Clouds” in 2014. I opened at No. 14 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart. The album spawned the single, “Habits (Stay High),” which peaked at No. 3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. In addition to her solo work, she has co-written a number of songs for other singers, including Ellie Goulding’s 2015 song “Love Me Like You Do.”

She will perform Sunday at 8:15 p.m. on The Pavilion stage.

U — Umbrellas — you can’t take them into the festival ground so make sure you have other ways to protect yourself in case it rains.

The wet stuff is in the forecast in varying degrees throughout the weekend. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that the good weather streak that Firefly has been on since its inception continues.

V — Vacationer, based out of Philadelphia and Brooklyn, New York, released its first album in 2012 on called “Gone.” It reached No. 42 on the Top Heatseekers chart in the U.S. The band toured throughout 2012 and early 2013 with other artists such as Asteroids Galaxy Tour, Bombay Bicycle Club, Tennis, The Naked and Famous, Body Language and Niki and the Dove.

Last year, it released its second studio album, “Relief,” which charted at No. 10 on the Top Heatseekers chart.

The band performs at 8:15 Saturday on The Porch stage.

W — Walk the Moon, an indie rock band based out of Cincinnati, derives its name from The Police hit “Walking on the Moon.”

The pop quartet released its second major-label studio album, “Talking Is Hard,” last December. The album included its biggest hit so far, “Shut Up and Dance,” which charted at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Rock Songs chart and Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart.

It also is known for its 2012 alternative hit “Anna Sun”.

Walk the Moon plays today at 5 p.m. on The Lawn stage.

X — (E)xtra music will also be heard at two stages near the speedway, an area Firefly calls The Hub. The stages, called The Clearing and The Westwood, will have morning acts lasting until noon for campers.

The stages were also used for a few acts Wednesday night for premier campers, so technically the festival really now could be referred to as having five days of music.

Y — Yum. Food will be available throughout the grounds. This year, officials are saying to expect healthier options as vegetarian and vegan menu items will be available. No matter your tastes, Firefly will have you covered.

Z — Zedd is another returning act to Firefly, having performed in 2013.
Anton Zavlaski, or Zedd, is big in the electronic dance house music world. He is known for the songs “Clarity,” and “Break Free”, a tune which peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs.

He also won a Grammy award for Best Dance Recording for “Clarity”.

Zedd gets a post-McCartney spot at 12:30 a.m. early Saturday on The Backyard stage.

Now that you’re armed with this primer, get out and earn your Firefly stripes.

 

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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