TVD’s Firefly Music Festival Must-Sees

BY OLIVIA UNG and NICK NEMPHOS | In less than a week, thousands of festival-goers will descend upon The Woodlands of Dover International Speedway in Delaware to attend 2014’s Firefly Music Festival.

In its third year, Firefly has expanded from a three-day to a four-day festival and features more than 100 acts over seven different stages, including headliners Foo Fighters, Outkast, and Jack Johnson. The schedule is filled with exciting new artists as well as several who have been making music for over twenty years, and each day from Thursday, June 19 to Sunday, June 22 has notable musicians that you just can’t allow yourself to miss. Here are just a very few of our favorites.

Still touring behind last year’s excellent Hummingbird, Local Natives are performing the final set on Thursday’s opening night of Firefly, and they are being given a good length of time, from 10:45 PM to 12 AM on the Backyard stage,  to stretch their legs. They should be able to incorporate a mix of some of the jauntier songs from Gorilla Manor with some of the more mature offerings from their most recent release, which should make for a great set of music. We think they have the potential to be the highlight of Firefly’s first evening, as well as one of the best acts of the festival.

The Arctic Monkeys are slotted for 6:45 PM to 8:15 PM Friday night on the Firefly Main Stage. Debuting in 2006 with Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not and smashing charts both in their native UK and the US since then, the Arctic Monkeys are currently touring in support of their fifth studio album, 2013’s AM. The history-making album made Arctic Monkeys the only artist to have five consecutive Number-One debuts on the Official Albums Chart in the UK. We’re hoping they’ll pepper the current hits in their set with old favorites like “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor.”

Stick around on the Main Stage after the Arctic Monkeys to nab a good spot for the Foo Fighters from 9:45-11:45. Foo Fighters are in the middle of recording their eighth studio album in various studios across the country. Last month, front man Dave Grohl stunned a small Nashville cafe with nine solo songs, and then the Foo Fighters played lengthy, career-spanning sets at secret shows in both Washington, DC, and New Orleans, all cities where they have stopped to record the album. With two hours to fill, we expect that their performance at Firefly is sure to also be hit-packed and full of classics from the past twenty years. Do not miss this.

With their strong new album, Nikki Nack, and a reputation for unique live performances, Tune-Yards should be one to look out for. We’re suckers for artists that do live looping and feel that it takes a little something special to be able to successfully balance that in a live setting, and we’re eager to see what kinds of unusual instruments Merril Garbus breaks out. Definitely head over to the Lawn on Saturday night from 7:15 PM to 8:15 PM if you prefer eclectic indie-pop to “Radioactive” chants, as Tune-Yards play opposite Imagine Dragons.

Yet another artist whose career spans over twenty years, Beck released his critically acclaimed twelfth studio album Morning Phase this year and will be playing the Lawn after Tune-Yards, from 9:00 PM to 10:10 PM. Regarding the new album, Rolling Stone‘s Will Hermes said it best: “At its core, Morning Phase is a record about what to do when the world seems totally fucked. Irony doesn’t cut it anymore; truth, beauty and resolve are the best weapons.” Settle in for some bright acoustic guitar riffs from the new Beck and some nostalgic ’90s lo-fi from the old.

Saturday’s headliners, Outkast, join our list of musicians who have been going strong since the ’90s. André 3000 and Big Boi are back! After a seven-year hiatus, the duo’s reunion at Coachella in April was one of the most anticipated music events of this year. Run from Beck to the Firefly Main Stage to catch them from 10:20 PM to 12:10 AM—we suspect that your festival experience cannot possibly be complete without a “Hey Ya!” selfie. (Shake it.)

On Sunday, we have such nostalgic love for Weezer, especially their Blue album, that we can’t help but be excited to hear some of the songs from the early years. We wouldn’t mind hearing some of the Green and Red albums, too, but honestly, we’re not sure if we’ll even be able to hear them at all over the entire crowd singing along to “Undone – The Sweater Song.” They play the Main Stage from 3:45 PM to 4:45 PM.

Then one of the last acts of the festival is Childish Gambino, on the Lawn from 8:40 PM to 9:55 PM, whom we’re opting to see over the official headliner Jack Johnson. With Outkast, to have two of our favorite hip-hop artists playing at the same festival is a special treat. We expect Donald Glover’s alter ego to end the festival with a fun, high-energy set, as he wowed TVD at Hangout Fest just a few weeks ago.

While most of these artists are well established, let’s not discount the many newer acts who play smaller stages during the festival. We’re excited for Haerts, Lucius, and Courtney Barnett, among many others. We’ve told you our top picks, but definitely check out the full Firefly 2014 Schedule and get to planning your festival weekend soon. Tickets are still available for single-day general admission passes and four-day and single-day VIP passes.

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  • Chris01

    I’d suggest catching Courtney Barnett on Thursday.

  • oliviaung

    We are planning to! Thanks @Chris01!


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