Thank You, Firefly

photos from the official Firefly Facebook page

Firefly was probably the festival I was looking forward to the most this year. Being the first one I ever covered for this crazy site we call Festival Squad, it was pretty cool to go back. I knew I had a good time last year, but I had no idea how much fun, love, and laughs this year had in store. The Fan-Curated Firefly 2017 definitely sealed the deal for me to make the trek back to The Woodlands for the years to come.

Music Genre: Alternative, R&B, EDM, Indie, Rock, Pop, Hip Hop/Rap, Reggae

Camping: Yes! Tent camping (both BYOT and “Carefree Camping”), glamping, RV, and group camping.

Capacity: Large

Crowd Type: Family, Trendy, Hipsters

Water Stations: Yes

For the First Timers

For my far-away-ers (I’m with you on this one), flying into Philadelphia has been and seems like the best bet. The drive from Philadelphia International Airport to Firefly is about an hour and fifteen minutes, though, racking up quite the Uber fare. However, everyone and their mothers seemed to be coming from Philadelphia. You could easily hit up a Facebook group and find a crew to hop in with on the ride to Dover, maybe even finding your new camping neighbors while you’re at it. Camping is certainly half of the experience at Firefly. Typical car camping, “Carefree” camping (you were provided with a custom Firefly tent and all the sleeping necessities ready for you upon arrival), various levels of glamping, RV camping, and group camping were your options here. If camping is not your style, Dover Downs, Quality Inn, Best Western, and Holiday Inn were all within close proximity to the fest.

Standout Food

THE CHEESE STREET “GREEN CRACK” GRILLED CHEESE. Had it once, and I was sold for the entire weekend. My diet for my remaining time in the Woodlands consisted of this green crack miracle. Avocado, pesto, and spinach in the best grilled cheese you will ever bite into. I believe it was only available in the VIP area, so I’m sorry my GA folks. You missed out on this one. 

Stage Layout

Eleven places to catch some music. You have the five bigger stages: Firefly, Porch, Backyard, Lawn, and Pavillion. The two intimate experiences: StubHub Coffee House and Treehouse. The two hubs within the campgrounds: Northeast and Southwest. The Toyota Music Den, and the new moving music experience, The Rambler. The Rambler Truck would pop up randomly all throughout the festival and campgrounds with different bands, which was a pretty cool addition to the fest. The Firefly Stage is still the biggest thing I’ve ever seen. The Northeast and Southwest Hubs were a perfect way to keep busy those of us who can’t get enough of the music during actual festival hours. The Pavillion is still one of my favorites. The giant white balloons on the ceiling paired with cool lighting made for this crazy dance vibe.

Musical Highlights

Firefly did a really good job with the whole “Fan-Curated” festival. I remember taking the survey after Firefly 2016, and a hefty number of artists from that survey were seen for the 2017 weekend.

  • Twenty One Pilots: I was certainly looking forward to seeing these guys the most at Firefly. I personally had the chance to see a show from the very beginning of the “Blurryface era,” a few or so from in between, and Firefly was a chance to see the very end of it.  Being the last festival, and one of the last 6 shows they would play for a little while (after being on tour for almost all of the last 2 years), I expected something crazy. I definitely was not disappointed, and I don’t think anyone else was either. Walking through a sea of people wearing TØP merch all weekend, the hype was building up for this set. You could definitely tell a lot of people were just coming to see what all this mess was about, yet they left as fans. “I think I found my new favorite band,” was heard constantly throughout their set and the remainder of the weekend. I genuinely don’t believe I’ve ever experienced such a positive response to a show like I did at Firefly with Twenty One Pilots. Their confession of love for their favorite festival, Firefly, and inability to stand Coachella was pretty great too. 10/10 performance as per usual.

photo by Brad Heaton

  • Stick Figure: I definitely needed some more reggae in my life and these guys delivered. Checking out their set per a friend’s suggestion, I’m glad I didn’t lose Stick Figure in the sea of some of the bigger bands playing at the same time. For sure a new favorite.
  • Bleachers: Bleachers was another one I was really looking forward to. I had only seen them once before, but I had to see them again after their new album just released earlier this month. They’re just one of those bands I’ve always wanted to see at a festival. I listen to some of their music and instantly picture myself surrounded by thousands of people singing and dancing with arms in the air. The live experience at Firefly was just that.
  • Thirty Seconds to Mars: I couldn’t let this one go under the radar. When Jared Leto tells you to get on stage, you go on stage. Not only did Thirty Seconds to Mars announce an upcoming album and tour during their set, but they brought dozens of fans onto the Firefly Stage with them. It started with just a guy dressed as a sea horse, then a few of the self proclaimed craziest people out there, then Leto just went crazy and started pointing to everyone in the crowd saying “You, you, you, and you.” Eventually, it was just an “if you want to come on stage, come on up here.”

Things to Do

Between the silent discos, the hammocks, tournaments, and the games, there’s plenty for everyone to do other than the music. Our friends over at bohofaux provided one of my favorite “things to do.” With beautiful braided hairstyles, and fantastic glitter, the bohofaux beauties took care of you. Keep an eye out for them at future festivals.

VIP or Nah

VIP was definitely nice to have, I’m not gonna lie. Private AC bathrooms are the bee’s knees totally. The VIP viewing areas were pretty good. Shorter lines at the bars came in clutch at times. The Super VIP, however, is what is making me hesitant to say VIP is great and completely worth it. Paying $2,500 for a festival pass, you better be getting some crazy shit. Well, you do. Access to the BEST viewing areas possible, artist lounges, golf cart services, free meal vouchers, AND a private open bar all weekend? That’s the bee’s knees, elbows, and everything in between.

Story Corner

I’ve been a firm believer in “if you go to a festival alone, you have way more fun.” Well I had to bite my tongue at Firefly. Getting to bring someone with me this time to The Woodlands is what made the experience complete. I guess this could serve as a little thank you card for my Firefly bud. Thanks for deep conversations and making me laugh constantly. Thanks for not getting angry when I would say “What’d you say,” every two seconds because I think all of these shows are starting to mess with my hearing. Thanks for saying things that made me sit back and appreciate little aspects of a festival that I sometimes overlook because I may have become “used” to these things by now. Thanks for making me realize that we were actually in the middle of the woods, and without all 90,000 of the people and the stages and everything else, it would be pretty scary. Thanks for ballroom dancing with me to pop punk remixes in the silent disco at 2 am. Thanks for losing that rap battle during Lil Dicky (I totally crushed you). Thanks for putting up with me getting way too excited about Twenty One Pilots. Thanks for one of the best times I’ve ever had at a fest. You rock, my friend. Lastly, thanks to everyone at Firefly. You guys are one of my absolute favorite crowds, and the world doesn’t deserve you guys.

See you guys next year, June 14th-17th, for Firefly 2018!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *