Annual Firefly Music Festival: “Delaware’s Coachella”

March Issue

Maggie Martelli-Raben, Entertainment Writer

Delaware is usually not the first state to come to people’s minds when looking for somewhere to visit. The neighboring states of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New York are major tourist attractions for people from all around the world, because of cities like Washington D.C, New York City, and Philadelphia. While Delaware might be first state, it is not exactly a major tourist attraction. However Firefly, the four day music festival that takes place in Dover, brings people together from all over the country to Delaware, in celebration of music. Firefly, which takes place in mid June every summer, began in 2012 and initially attracted crowds of about 20,000. In the years since, that number has steadily increased, and as of 2016, the crowds have amassed more than 80,000 people. Unlike other music festivals, Firefly offers the unique opportunity to camp as well. Festival goers have the option to rent a space to camp if they please, and while camping can be filled with fun and comradery it can also be filled with stress and anxiety.

Firefly is a big commitment for many reasons. First, ticket costs range from approximately $350 to $500. Then comes the decision, to camp out or not to camp. For non-Delaware natives, this decision is relatively easy, because that is their only option if they can not book a hotel nearby. For Delaware residents, it is trickier. Although camping is definitely a taxing experience, choosing not to camp can also provide some struggles as well. Not camping means arranging rides to and from all four days, as parking is limited and must be paid for. The concert times can run extremely late, and for students who cannot drive, it can be especially difficult to find people willing to drive in all hours of the night, for multiple nights. For those students, it is highly recommended to arrange rides as early as you can. Try to find friends who live as close to the site as possible so the driving time will be limited. Traffic can also be heavy in those four days, so prepare to get ready much earlier as well. Another tip might be too download apps like uber or lyft, just in case driving plans fall through. For people that can drive themselves, it is best to purchase a parking pass as early as possible, because they get more expensive as the date grows nearer.

There are various ways to make the camping experience positive. The first way being to decide early, and then to begin compiling a list of what will be needed. The camping spaces are purchased for a group of six people, so Page09Maggie people need to find a group of friends they don’t mind being in close proximity with for four days. Everyone that is camping with will need to split the cost between them, so it is very helpful to make a shared document to keep track of what everyone is bringing. Food and drink are a huge part of camping, so make sure someone in the camping group is  either bringing some kind of stove, or way to cook. There is food offered at the festival but the lines can be exceedingly long and prices can be driven way up. Water is extremely important to remember! Being in the hot sun for 12 hours a day can take a toll on a person’s physique, and it is crucial to keep the body hydrated through the whole four days. Also there are thousands of people in very close proximity, and it will be even hotter because of this. Almost as important as water, is sunscreen and a hat, to protect from sun damage. Also in terms of clothing, bring comfortable shoes and clothes that can get dirty, (or destroyed in extreme cases). One tip people might not always think about is to brace for the elements. Rain is always in question, and being caught in a downpour can be a miserable experience. That means bringing rain gear, such as umbrella’s, ponchos, and rain boots is a good idea. Bringing extra clothes is helpful because it is so uncomfortable to wear wet clothes all day. It is also helpful to have a backup plan to get home, like mentioned earlier, in case it becomes to much for people and they wish to exit the area.

In terms of the actual festival itself, people should spend multiple hours of the day out of the sun and off their feet as well. Bringing a hammock or chairs is a great way to relax during the day.  Everyone should also take really good care of their important items, such as their phones, keys, and wallets. Some people might want to bring multiple portable charges as well so that their phones can stay charged.  (Someone in each group should have a charged phone at all times in case of emergencies!) Along a more serious note, everyone should stay safe. There are so many people at firefly, and it can be easy to get lost, or be in an uncomfortable situation. To avoid that at all costs, use a buddy system. That means never going anywhere alone and establishing district meeting points and meeting times. Make sure to know what artists are playing where, and at what time, so people avoid missing the artist they have been waiting to see. Lastly, everyone should step out of their comfort zone. Even if someone has never heard of a band or artist, it is okay to go! Everyone should want to make the most of the money they have spent, so explore new music, meet some new people, and have a great time at “Delaware’s Coachella”!