While it is clear that music is the life force behind EDM, no one can argue that dance music would not be where it is now without the driving force of its festival scene. From Woodstock in the early 1970s to the early days of EDC in Los Angeles in the 2000s to the massive underground festivals of Europe, music festivals have been deeply ingrained into the world’s culture.
In a new weekly series, EDM.com is shining the spotlight on lesser known festivals around the world that are on par with marquee festivals like Electric Daisy Carnival, Ultra, and Tomorrowland. These festivals are highlighted for the atmosphere, the people, and most importantly, the music and the talent that they bring. From Austria’s signature Snowbombing festival, to ZoukOut in Singapore, to Shambhala in Canada, this series will be your one-stop guide to some of the best hidden gems in the festival scene around the world.
This week’s pick is one of the East Coast’s premier music festivals, Firefly Music Festival.
Firefly Music Festival, which is produced by Red Frog Events, is a four-day long music festival taking place every June and held in Dover, Delaware. Inspired by the likes of Bonnaroo, Firefly strives to function as the East Coast’s premier outdoor camping music festival experience. Firefly is held at The Woodland of Dover International Speedway, a 105 acre festival ground with plenty of space for camping.
In the same vein as festivals like Bonnaroo and Coachella, Firefly promotes itself as a sustainable and environmentally friendly festival. Offering programs like Sustainable Beats, Firefly works to reduce the carbon footprint of the festival through donations when purchasing a festival ticket, and Firefly matches every donation until the festival becomes carbon neutral - allowing each ticket buyer to offset over 440 pounds of carbon dioxide, and allowing the festival to offset over 1.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide in 2015.
Firefly Music Festival has seven stages, and like Coachella and Bonaroo, welcomes a bevy of diverse talent each day to the four-day festival. The festival features nationally-sought-after headliners in addition to a variety of up-and-coming talent. Since its inception in 2012, Firefly has slowly grown from 48 performances over 3 days to 95 bands scheduled to perform over four days in 2014. Dance music has been slowly gaining traction at Firefly, moving from one dance music act in 2012 to becoming a well-represented genre of the festival in 2015 with over 20 dance music acts scheduled to appear. In 2012, the festival welcomed headliners like Jack White, The Killers, and the Black Keys, in addition the lone dance music act in Bassnectar. However, in 2015, Firefly will be home to a number of rising talents in dance music like SNBRN, Manila Killa, Alison Wonderland, and Snakehips, while also featuring stars like Zedd, Steve Aoki, and ODESZA.
There’s no denying that the music is the lifeblood of Firefly, but the festival also delivers a number of activities for any down time during the festival or for those that just want to explore. The Thicket is one of the most popular events during Firefly, offering a silent disco just steps away from the main festival ground, nestled away in the woods.
Firefly has also partnered with the Delaware brewery, Dogfish Head, offering an on-site craft beer bar to sample a large variety of tasty beers. The Hammock Hangout offers festival attendees a place to kick back, relax in the shade, and unwind from a long day of partying. Perhaps the coolest attraction at Firefly is the Beercade, an arcade tent with childhood games like pinball, skeeball, and foosball that will bring you back to the glory days as you sip on a cold one.
Coming into its 4th year now, it’s clear that Firefly has solidified its position as one of the East Coast’s best growing festivals. Firefly 2015 will take place June 18-21, and passes are still available for purchase here.
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