Firefly expected to transform Del. music scene
Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 03:05
Firefly Music Festival is expected to draw thousands of music fans to Dover for the first time this summer, according to Linda Parkowski, tourism director of Delaware.
The announcement was made on April 2 that the music festival would be hosted near Dover International Speedway this July.
The three-day outdoor festival, created by the Chicago-based entertainment company Red Frog Events, is set to include nationally-known acts such as The Black Keys, Lupe Fiasco, The Killers and Jack White.
Additionally, attendees can ride in hot air balloons to view the festival from above. There will also be an interactive art gallery, an arcade with vintage games and the TOMS Style Your Sole activity, in which local artists paint TOMS canvas shoes.
The festival is creating buzz among music fans and is expected to transform the Delaware music scene and generate tourism revenue for the state.
Linda Parkowski says Firefly is expected to have over 30,000 attendees and bring in about $12.6 million to Delaware’s economy.
“Overall, Delawareans have a very positive reception of Firefly,” Parkowski says. “Anything that boosts state revenue is good for the state.”
The festival will give the state a reputation for having a youth-oriented music scene, she says. The festival will attract a college-aged crowd from within Delaware and surrounding states, she says, which could improve the state’s perception as an artistic hub.
Junior Jeneen Malin says she will be volunteering at the festival because she wanted to be more involved in it. Malin says she will be part of the “Beautification Team,” which will encourage attendees to recycle. Malin says she found out about the volunteering program through the event’s website.
She says she is most looking forward to seeing some of the lesser known bands, such as Polica, an experimental band from Minneapolis, Minn.
“I’m really excited to see Polica and would rather see them over the headliners,” Malin says.
Malin, a Delaware native, says the announcement of the festival’s location was unexpected for Delawareans.
“Nothing really happens in Delaware, so most people were shocked,” Malin says.
Gary Camp, senior director of communications at Dover International Speedway, says the festival’s location will make Firefly appealing to concert-goers.
Red Frog Events considered 60 different sites for the festival, but ultimately chose to hold it near the Dover International Speedway, for its central location between Baltimore, New York City and Philadelphia.
Camp says that both Red Frog Events and Dover International Speedway are hard at work transforming RV Lot 10, an 87-acre wooded area near the speedway called The Woodlands, into a festival-friendly environment. The Woodlands will include four stages and sections for camping and food vendors. Camp says that the festival’s environment and its proximity to town will compete with similar music festivals.
“The destination is in a woodsy, tucked-away and relaxed environment, but still within walking distances of hotels,” he says.
Sophomore De’Jon Johnson says he is excited about some of the bands playing.
“The Killers and John Legend would be awesome to see live,” Johnson says.
Though headliners at the festival are nationally-known, the lineup also includes Delaware native bands like Lower Case Blues, a self-described jam band that draws inspiration from The Allman Brothers and Jimi Hendrix. Lower Case Blues, which was formed nine years ago, often plays at festivals in
Dewey Beach and has played at the university in the past.
Lower Case Blues lead guitarist Jake Banaszak says they were asked to join the lineup after Red Frog Events asked a music promoter from Dewey Beach to suggest local bands. Banaszak says he is excited to have landed a spot on the lineup, though he does not know what to expect. He says he hopes that this festival will positively affect the state’s music scene.
“If [the festival] goes well, it could be the best thing to happen to Delaware,” Banazak says.
Freshman Philip Chinitz, who hosts “Phil’s Jam Session” on WVUD, the Voice of the University of Delaware, says the lineup for the festival is “solid,” because of acts such as The Killers and The Flaming Lips.
Chinitz also says bands Bombay Bicycle Club and Trampled by Turtles would be two great bands to see live. Other acts include Passion Pit, Young the Giant and AWOLNATION, which recently performed at the university’s Senior Fling.
“I really think that this festival could throw Delaware on the map,” Chinitz says.