The music’s over: Firefly wraps up fifth year at Woodlands


DOVER — In merely three days and four nights, 120 artists and 90,000 fans graced the Woodlands at Dover International Speedway for the Firefly Music Festival.

Those numbers have nearly tripled from Firefly’s inaugural year of 2012, and it is obvious that the festival has put its growth to good use.

“After every year we put a lot of money and work into just the condition of the site itself,” said Kelly North, an operations director for Red Frog Events. “It’s something that we’re always looking to improve.”

One of the main changes to the site after Firefly 2015 was the addition of a drainage system to ease the impact of heavy rains. Put into place in the areas with the main stages, the system was designed to help the grounds recover more quickly after a deluge.

“It’s been extremely helpful,” said Ms. North.

Festival goers seemed to agree.

“[The new system] was awesome,” said Connor Luff of Milford, who attended his fourth Firefly. After this past Thursday night’s rain, the structural addition was put to the test. “As far as the rain goes, the drainage system worked great. There was hardly any mud.”

Along with changes to the grounds of the festival, Red Frog Events opted to bring back single day passes, which they had omitted for the festival in 2015.

“Last year after removing them, we definitely realized that there’s a lot of local people who really do use them and exercise the option to come for a single day,” said Ms. North. “We wanted to try to bring as many people as we could to the Woodlands, and if that means for one day, we’re happy to have them.”

Even with the resurrection of single day passes, the number of people attending the festival remained relatively similar to that of 2015, once again welcoming around 90,000 guests.

“The first three years [of Firefly] were explosive growth when we were just kind of coming off the ground,” said Ms. North. “We’re definitely looking forward to staying around [the 90,000 mark] for future years. It’s a good number for the site that we have now.”

Unfortunately, with more people the lines get longer. Some fans reported standing in the sun in the entrance gate for nearly an hour at a time to enter the festival, and others noticed much larger crowds in certain areas.

To counter the exponential increase of fans of the festival, the Woodlands have expanded dramatically since the first year of Firefly. This has allowed for more stages and more activities for guests to enjoy.

Popular attractions included the silent disco The Thicket, the Hammock Hangout, the recently enlarged Dogfish brewery and the new Market.

“There’s way more open spaces, which is good and bad,” said Mr. Luff. “It’s so spread out that everything is all over the place and its a long walk to get there. But The Thicket is always awesome.”

Regardless of the activities that are at the festival for entertainment, the main attraction remained the music.

“It’s really exciting because I went to more concerts Friday and Saturday combined than I have my whole life,” said Rachel Owrutsky of Silver Spring, Maryland.

This is her first year attending the festival. “I didn’t realize how much I liked concerts until this festival. It varies who’s actually good performing, it doesn’t have to be someone you really, really like,” she said.

Now that the 2016 Firefly Music Festival has ended, Red Frog Events has immediately picked up to start working on the planning for Firefly of 2017.

“We’re definitely looking forward to 2017,” said Ms. North. “Planing starts right away, [Monday].”

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Lexi Coon is a freelance reporter living in the Camden area.

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