Live Music

Firefly 2018 Recap: The Ultimate Summer Festival

The Woodlands in Dover, Delaware were the place to be last weekend. For the 7th year in a row, Red Frog Events brought Firefly Music Festival live to an estimated crowd between 60,000 and 90,000. This was a huge bounce back from last year’s smaller attendance. Was it due to the star studded lineup? We think so.

Alex Turner, Arctic Monkeys, Photo: Malena Lloyd

Headliners included the Arctic Monkeys, The Killers, Eminem, and Kendrick Lamar. The crowds went on endlessly for these performances. What Firefly did fantastically this year was making sure there was something for everyone. Genres of music were not divided by day to push single day ticket sales, as seen with other festivals. There was a ton of rock, hip hop, EDM, and pop spread out equally over the 4 day festival. The weekend was so packed with music, we spent the entire festival running around from stage to stage!


Friday showed a strong lineup, with Jimmy Eat World being the first set we got to catch, the most notable moment being when they played their #1 hit “The Middle”. From there we rushed over to LIZZO at the Lawn Stage to hear her funky, body empowered, self love performance. The top highlight included when she made the entire crowd turn around and twerk on command…and everyone did it! Last, we caught the Arctic Monkeys, with Alex Turner serenading the crowd as sensual as ever in a fancy suit and sunglasses (that he removed halfway through the set).

Jim Adkins, Jimmy Eat World, Photo: Malena Lloyd
Vance Joy, Photo: Anna Glinski

Sleep? Maybe after the festival…especially not in tent camping with extremely loud neighbors. Nevertheless, we caught around 4 hours of sleep and were woken up by the hot sun ready for Saturday’s jam packed day. We started the day early at The Night Game’s set at the Backyard Stage. The Night Game is Boys Like Girls’ Martin Johnson’s solo project with a totally different, 80s sound. Vance Joy was next at the Lawn Stage, brining his mellow Aussie summer vibes to Delaware. A large portion of his set was songs from his new album Nation of Two, but he still kept us reminiscent with “Riptide” and “Mess is Mine”. Next, was a mad dash through the festival to get to The Killers set at the Firefly Stage. The Las Vegas band came out stunning, opening with “The Man”, different than the usual “Mr. Brightside”….they saved that one for last. The lead singer, Brandon Flowers, dazzled us in a sparkly pink suit. Can we talk about outfit goals? Last, we stayed put at the Firefly Stage for Eminem’s set. Eminem issued a warning before his set on the screens stating, “If you are easily frightened by loud noises or offended by explicit lyrics you shouldn’t be here.” This definitely proved to be true as controversial, real sounding gun shots were used throughout his performance. The crowd was easily the craziest when the rapper performed, “The Real Slim Shady”.

Brandon Flowers, The Killers, Photo: Anna Glinski
Ben Goldwasser, MGMT, Photo: Malena Lloyd

After a short sleep in our tent, we were ready for the final day. Sunday started off with Aussie pop singer Betty Who, who channeled some Taylor Swift vibes with a platinum blonde wig. The singer attracted a large crowd while the sun was still out, and she kept everyone dancing with her sexy, yet empowering performance, which featured a group of toned backup dancers wearing shirts that said, “Who the f*ck is Betty Who?” Next was MGMT, who made us feel trippy, especially with a giant yellow monster on stage. Genres completely shifted with SZA being next, giving a whole lot of soul in her performance, despite vocal problems. The singer interestingly added that she attended college in Dover, Delaware, which added a really personal touch to her performance. Last, Kendrick Lamar closed out the show…we mean closed *clap* out *clap*. The rapper left the crowd out of breathe rapping along to “DNA.” and “HUMBLE.” The performance was finished with a lovely fireworks show, and just like that, the weekend flew by.

Last, and most importantly, it did not rain a single drop all weekend. Thank you festival gods! We’ll see you next year Firefly…probably not in a tent this time, but we sure will see you.

Kendrick Lamar, Photo: Anna Glinski