Paul McCartney brings his vast library of songs to Firefly festival

DOVER — “Hello, Firefly. We’re going to have a bit of a party tonight,” Sir Paul McCartney told the audience Friday night at the Firefly Music Festival in Dover.

Sir Paul, who celebrated his 73rd birthday Thursday, opened his show with the song “Birthday.”

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Tom Flinn of Milford relaxes Friday afternoon as he waited to see one of his musical idols, Paul McCartney, Friday at Firefly. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

With tens of thousands gathered before the main stage, the former Beatle dug into his vast library of songs and performed “Got to Get You Into My Life” and “Paperback Writer.” And that was just for openers.

In all, his show lasted about 2 hours and 20 minutes and covered the gamut of his entire career, from Beatles classics, Wings hits and tunes off his new album, punctuated by a dazzling fireworks display and massive confetti cannon to end the night.

On Friday night it was easy to see that the Firefly Music Festival has come a long way since it first came to Dover in 2012. In its first year, the event drew 35,000 people; this year, tickets sold out at the 90,000 mark.

And on Friday night, the biggest name in the festival’s now-fourth year took the main stage.

Paul McCartney’s fans were not disappointed.

“That’s what I’m here for,” said Carter Lavellee, who traveled from Rochestor, N.Y.

Mr. Lavellee, who has been a fan of Paul McCartney since he was young, described going to the festival as a pilgrimage.

Carolyn Cohee, who was sitting on a bench not far from the main stage Friday night, said she was “absolutely” looking forward to seeing Paul McCartney.

“That’s why we’ve been holding the seat for the past six hours,” she said.

While sitting on the bench she said she’s enjoyed people-watching and catching familiar music from the nearby stages.

“I’m the type of person who listens to all kinds of music,” she said.

This is her first year at Firefly, but it’s her husband’s third year. They bought tickets the first day sales were open, she said. They’re both fans of live music.

“There’s something about it a radio can’t touch,” she said.

Of Paul McCartney, she said she admires that “he has remained true to himself.”

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Beatles fan Kyle Guzman and Caroline Cardoso, both 19 and of East Windsor, N.J., were excited to see Sir Paul McCartney in concert Friday. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

Her husband, Roland Cohee, said he was raised on listening to the Beatles.

“I don’t get to see them all, but if I see one, I’m a happy camper,” he said.

“Its one of the best ways to end a work week,” Ms. Cohee said.

In his remarks at a press conference earlier Friday, festival director Greg Bostrom of Red Frog Events thanked local agencies, legislators and Dover International Speedway staff for turning the festival into a success.

“This has been a big year for Firefly,” he said. “Our little community keeps growing.”

In its fourth year, Mr. Bostrom said, the festival continues to improve.

This year, organizers added two new stages, the Treehouse Stage, which is tucked away in the woods, and the Pavilion stage, a large barn-like structure.

The festival also announced a partnership with Goldenvoice, the producer of Coachella Valley Music, in 2014.

“As a festival producer, they are the rockstars …we’re so excited with what they can do to continue to grow this festival,” Mr. Bostrom said.

For a complete recap of the McCartney show, see Sunday’s Delaware State News.

Features editor Craig Horleman contributed to this story.

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