FIREFLY FESTIVAL 2012
As soon as we heard that there was going to be a music festival in Delaware, we
knew we had to check it out. Firefly is basically within walking distance of We Went
Hard headquarters (a 13 hour and 6 minute walk, but a walk none the less). Firefly
is also a testament to the fact that we have a bona fide festival trend on our hands
here and just as Identity Festival proved that America was ready for its first touring
electronic festival last year, Firefly proves that each state is capable of throwing
down and going hard at a festival that plays to that state’s unique tastes. So, prepare
yourself for the FESTIE INVASION…
On Day one Firefly burned through genres at breakneck speeds while still holding
the attention of each new guest as they marched through the festival gates in droves.
From the folky riffs of Matt Costa and his guitar, through an alt rock set by OK Go,
to some of John Legends R&B hits with a couple classic soul mix-ins, and finally
through the earball thumping wobbles of everyone’s boocakes, Bassnectar. It was a
weird mix, but it worked.
Day two contained many notable performances, but the overwhelming realization
was that these artists were hungry and excited to be playing at Firefly. Saturday
brought a wild set by Chiddy Bang which featured some serious live freestyle.
Modest Mouse played a set that would satisfy any Modest Mouse fan, with them
dropping a huge chunk of Good News for People Who Love Bad News and a tasting
of their more beloved songs from other albums. Lupe Fiasco brought the HOT FIYA
to the stage as the energy apex of the evening. There were enough Lupe hits and
hair swinging to keep the crowd raging through his entire set. Saturday’s headliners,
The Killers, also gave it all. Even though there was far less hair whipping than
Lupe, The Killers managed to take their iconic studio sound and open it up to the
Firefly audience. The sound of Mr. Brightside bouncing off the clouds and into
your ears was so familiar, yet so different and impressive while it flowed out of the
Firefly Stage. With the last minute deletion of Passion Pit from the Firefly lineup, I
personally wondered if Yeasayer was going to be able fully fill the Passionate void
in my heart. But, as Yeasayer started to play, it felt like they had read my mind.
Yeasayer dropped some funky-ass island electronica that definitely turned on the
Passion Pit fans. The void was effectively filled.
Day three was seemingly the most packed and people seemingly came to the realization that this was the last day to rage. Games faces were on. Beers were double fisted. Bodies were wiggling exponentially more than the previous days. We found the fun. AWOLnation served up massive energy throughout their entire set, swinging microphones around like hipster-catching lassos. While many were pumped for Cold War Kids, it seemed as though their sound barely reached halfway through the crowd so no one could get the full effect of Nathan Willett’s raspy goodness. Everyone stuck around for ‘Hang Me Out to Dry’, which got big cheers because everyone wants something to sing along to. While I’m someone that makes fun of Deathcab for Cutie any given opportunity I can, I was thoroughly impressed. They won me over. You still won’t catching me with them on my ipod, but after 4 or 5 beers I may be headbobbin at the main stage. My biggest gripe of Day 3 — why the hell is Girl Talk on at the same time as the Flaming Lips?? Who had a oopsie-daisy when they were writing up that schedule? For most people, I guess it isn’t a big conflict – as the vast majority mosied over to Flaming Lips to see them bounce around in those big human hamster balls. However, I came to get down, so Girl Talk it is. Needless to say (while I did miss Flaming Lips who most everyone would argue was the best set of the festival), I found Girl Talk to easily be the creme-de-la-creme. He mixed in every part of every song you’d ever want to hear, like a pop-off power hour. CoCo the WWH lion mingled through the crowd stirring up commotion and inspiring everyone to release their inner beast. Shit finally got a little strange. A little funky. A little ‘what the fuckkkkk?’ A little WEIRD. CoCo even found a horse-bro in the front row, did some daggering (Girl Talk, you coulda dropped Pon De Floor when we needed it!) and now there’s some new species of cray-cray on the way.
Firefly also showed promise of becoming much more than just a music festival.
Aside from all the artists leaving the hearts on the stage, and unlike many other
music festivals, Firefly brought the heat when it came to food and drink (emphasis
on the drink). DOGFISH HEAD DOGFISH HEAD DOGFISH HEAD! If you are a beer
drinker from Delaware, or the greater part of the entire east coast, you’ve definitely
enjoyed a hoppy-ass Dogfish Head in your life. Dogfish went all out for Firefly,
supplying the fest with not only its own Firefly Ale, but also the rest of the most
popular off-centered ales from the chimaera named brewery. It was delicious and I’d
gladly pay 8 dollars for a 90 minute any day.
In the end, Firefly does deserve all the accolades it’s getting as a first year event in
Delaware, but the real question is always going to be, “How does it stack up?” When
people are choosing which festivals to go to, they aren’t going to cut Firefly a break
for being new and Firefly isn’t cutting you a break in price. So in our first ever WWH
Rage to Dollars Value Comparison, we’ll look at the areas where Firefly didn’t spend
your ticket money and how this impacted its ragebility. First of all, Lighting. Firefly
may have put out a fair amount of change to fill their Firefly Stage with spots and
floods, but they definitely didn’t hire an ingenious stage designer or use these lights
to the best of their ability. The lighting at firefly was nice, but generally forgettable.
The Firefly tickets also did not include camping, something included in many other
festivals with similar ticket prices. The additional camping would end up setting you
back anywhere from and extra $145 if your going hard by yourself, or $36 if you
split it up between yourself and 3 mates, Regardless, of how much it added to your
ticket, this extra cost is definitely something to consider when stacking Firefly up
against other festies. In the end, Firefly definitely was not a bargain like some other
festivals, but they definitely provided enough event to cover the ticket price.
(I accept the fact that my final gripe is a bit meta and over-the-top)
The We Went Hard crew is first and foremost an awkward collection of neo-
hipsters; formally cool, but so obsessed with our own uniqueness now, that we
have not a cool bone left. We went hard is a collection of gamers, freaks, nerds, gays
and far-outs. What this really boils down to is our craving for the crazy, insane, and
abnormally awesome when we go hard. We like it weird.
The final gripe…
As I wandered through the woods next to a Nascar stadium, drawn to Yeasayer like
a drunken moth to an open flame, I wondered if this weirdness that I felt at Firefly
was that it wasn’t weird enough. This festival showed maturity beyond its years in
every facet accept for the one thing that constantly irked me, the fact that everyone
wasn’t feeling festie comfortable. Everyone was clean, showered, done-up and on
their best behavior. Not a single boob was flashed, a booty clapped, or any one
counter-culture fully expressed to the max. (see: The Gathering of the Juggalos or
Camp Bisco or All Good) So, now that we’ve got this first year out of the way, can we
get a little more weird? Common! LETS GET WEIRD FIREFLY! That is all.
For photos of Firefly 2012 [click here]
by Dr. Dash