Paul McCartney to play Firefly Music Festival

Confirming a long-held rumor, it was announced that Paul McCartney will play this year's Firefly Music Festival. (Submitted photo)

Confirming a long-held rumor, it was announced that Paul McCartney will play this year’s Firefly Music Festival. (Submitted photo)

DOVER — Music legend Paul McCartney will headline the Firefly Music Festival in Dover on Friday, June 19.

After weeks of speculation, organizers finally put the rumors to rest when they announced the news Wednesday. The exact date of the show was listed on Mr. McCartney’s website.

Firefly Music Festival, which is set for June 18-21 at The Woodlands of Dover International Speedway, also will feature headliners Kings of Leon and The Killers.

The show will mark Mr. McCartney’s first appearance in Delaware.

“We’re not only excited, but honored, to have Paul McCartney join us at The Woodlands this year,” Firefly Music Festival director Greg Bostrom said in a press release.

“With his addition, this year’s lineup is our most exciting one yet.”

Mr. McCartney gained worldwide fame as a member of the Beatles in the 1960s, one of the most influential acts in the history of rock music. After the band’s breakup, he pursued a solo career and formed the band Wings.

He is one of the most successful composers of all time, with 60 gold records and sales of more than 100 million albums and 100 million singles of his work with the Beatles and as a solo artist.

His appearance at Firefly is the latest confirmed date of his “Out There” tour, which features songs that span his entire career.

Mr. McCartney will turn 73 on June 18, the first day of the festival.

Joel Glazier, who has given speeches for the Delaware Humanities Forum about the Beatles, said Mr. McCartney made a lasting mark on society as a “performer and a songwriter.”

“Before there were the Beatles, it would be a hard time to try to remember what there was. He and John Lennon were the songwriters for the group and they transformed popular music and popular culture,” he said.

Mr. Glazier, who has seen Mr. McCartney perform live several times, said Firefly fans are in for a good show.

When he saw Mr. McCartney a few years ago, Mr. Glazier said he played on stage for three hours — “a nice mixture of Beatles’ hits and some of his own hits.”

“He is in his 70s, but you can never tell watching him perform,” he said.

Mr. Glazier, of Wilmington, has been a Beatles fan himself since he was introduced to them in junior high school 51 years ago.

“I was like millions of others. They struck a certain nerve with us. Their music was so fresh,” he said.

Although Mr. McCartney never has played in Delaware, his son James McCartney performed at World Café Live at the Queen in Wilmington in 2013.

Beatles drummer Ringo Starr played the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark in 1997, and Pete Best, who Mr. Starr replaced as a Beatle, appeared in Delaware twice.

“I’m glad Paul is now catching up to them,” Mr. Glazier joked.

The “Out There” tour features Mr. McCartney’s band of more than 10 years, Paul “Wix” Wickens on keyboards, Brian Ray on bass guitar, Rusty Anderson on guitar and Abe Laboriel Jr. on drums.

In recent years, Mr. McCartney and his band have performed outside the Coliseum in Rome, in Moscow’s Red Square, at Buckingham Palace, at the White House, a free show in Mexico for more than 400,000 people, and even has broadcast live into space.

The tour uses state-of-the-art technology and production with massive screens, lasers and fireworks.
Firefly, launched in 2012 by Chicago-based Red Frog Events, is one of the fastest-growing music festivals in the country. It sold 30,000 tickets in its first year, 65,000 in 2013 and 80,000 in 2014.

In September, Red Frog announced a partnership with Goldenvoice, creators of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, to promote and produce Firefly.

Organizers announced the Firefly lineup — except for Mr. McCartney — on Feb. 17, promising they would reveal the top headliner at a later date.

“We are awaiting a final approval to reveal the third headliner,” Lauren King, a spokeswoman for Red Frog, had said at the time.

“We want to be respectful of everyone’s time who is involved and we’ll reveal as soon as we’re able. We’re incredibly excited about this year’s lineup.”

Along with Mr. McCartney, artists booked for Firefly include Morrissey, Snoop Dogg, Foster the People, Bastille, Modest Mouse, Zedd, Hozier, Empire of the Sun, Kid Cudi and nearly 100 more acts performing across seven stages.

General admission passes for Firefly Music Festival, ranging from $249 to $329, will go on sale Monday through FireflyFestival.com. VIP pass options, starting from $699, will be available Friday.

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