Firefly Festival takes over The Woodlands for its sixth year from June 15-18 in Dover, DE. This year’s lineup features five headliners: The Weeknd, Muse, Twenty One Pilots, Chance the Rapper, and Bob Dylan and his band. At first glance the lineup seems to be missing a standout headliner as they’ve had in years past (Kings of Leon, Paul McCartney, Foo Fighters) but it turns out to be a very well rounded array of bands and artists. The festival features five main stages: The Firefly Main Stage, The Pavilion, The Backyard Stage, The Lawn Stage, and The Porch Stage. In addition there are three smaller, more intimate stages: the Treehouse, The Coffeehouse, and The Toyota Music Den. With a wide variety of food vendors, beer gardens, activities (silent disco, hammocks and lounges, the fort, marketplace) and awesome music, this year’s festival looks to be one of the best yet.
Top Billed Acts: Glass Animals, Kaleo, O.A.R., Gryffin
Don’t Miss: Glass Animals (10:45 at Backyard Stage)
Undercard: Maggie Rogers (6:45 at Lawn Stage)
The festival kicks off on Thursday with a wide variety of smaller bands performing in the camping hubs starting early in the morning. If you can get up early enough, my recommendation would be to check out Deal Casino at 11:30 AM at the Northeast Hub. The gates open at 5 pm and the first act goes on at 5:15. Artists like O.A.R., K Flay, and Eden round off the small lineup for the day. Maggie Rogers, the 23 year old singer from Maryland is known for her single “Alaska,” and moving Pharrell Williams to tears. Her voice is comforting, yet emotional and begs you to listen closer. I’m going with the top billed act for the day as my do not miss act, but Glass Animals performance is truly something else. Their newest album How to be a Human Being was one of my favorite albums from 2016, and their set is a perfect combination of trippy-indie vibes. If they aren’t your cup of tea, DJ and producer Gryffin puts on an incredible set that shouldn’t be missed either.
Top Billed Acts: Twenty One Pilots, Flume, Weezer, Miike Snow
Don’t Miss: Dreamers (1:15 at Porch Stage, 3:00 at Coffee House)
Undercard: Clubhouse (12:45 at The Treehouse)
A busy day riddled with incredible bands will have me running around the festival all day. Start the day bright and early with the Big Break contest winners Clubhouse, an Ohio-based indie-pop group whose unique sound promises to make them popular. My don’t miss act is Dreamers, an alt-rock trio based out of Manhattan that has been circulating the radio waves with their hit single, “Sweet Disaster.” Catch their main performance at 1:15, and their intimate set at The Coffeehouse at 3. Barns Courtney, Judah & the Lion, Stick Figure, Franz Ferdinand, and more round out the afternoon and evening before moving onto the night sets. The legendary Weezer takes the Main stage at 8:15 followed by the difficult clash between OK GO and Miike Snow. They perform on the Lawn Stage and Backyard Stage respectively, so it is certainly possible to hop over halfway to catch some of both. The headliner for the day is Twenty One Pilots, the duo from Columbus, Ohio that has taken the music world by storm in the past two years. Opinions on the band are very polarized as they have been blasted on pop radio recently, so if you are in the group that does not like them head over to the Backyard Stage to prepare for Flume. Matoma ends the night (early morning) with a 1 am set at The Pavilion.
Top Billed Acts: The Weeknd, Chance the Rapper, Bob Dylan, Kesha
Don’t Miss: The Naked and Famous (7:15 at Lawn Stage)
Undercard: Mondo Cozmo (12:30 at Lawn Stage)
A day stacked with three potential headliners, and enough music to last the entire day. Start the day off with Mondo Cozmo, the new project from Joshua Ostrander Los Angeles based singer whose infectious pop tunes have thrown him into the festival circuit this summer. Afternoon performances include T-Pain (yes, the T-Pain), the indie group Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Muna, and Bishop Briggs. Be sure to check out Francis & the Lights at 5:15 at the Lawn Stage for a very possible appearance from Chance the Rapper for a remix of “May I Have this Dance.” Both played at Boston Calling a few weeks ago and made appearances during each other’s sets, so it is very likely the duo will appear together again. Evening performances include Capital Cities, The Naked and Famous, Lewis Del Mar, and Bob Dylan. Kesha, a pop icon and inspiration to many, and Galantis, the DJ duo that has exploded in popularity lately, both go on at 9:45. This is another clash where I might have to try and catch some of both sets, as both are just too good to skip one. Next is The Weeknd at 11 on the Main Stage, an odd selection given the history of Firefly having older alt-rock headliners. Chance the Rapper takes the Backyard Stage at 12:30 for what will be an incredible show, and The White Panda (would it really be Firefly fest without The White Panda?) takes over The Pavilion at 1.
Top Billed Acts: Muse, The Shins, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Dillon Francis
Don’t Miss: Bleachers (4:45 at Firefly Stage)
Undercard: 888 (3:15 at The Porch Stage)
Busta Rhymes is one of the first acts of the day at 1 on the Firefly Stage, and odd time for the legendary rapper, but could be one of the most “lit” sets of the day. 888, the Denver based alternative-synth group self-produced their first EP exploded in the alternative scene with their single “Critical Mistakes.” Definitely check these guys out, their energy on stage is infectious and messages of positivity make for a perfect show. Performances from The Strumbellas, Waka Flocka Flame, Arizona, Misterwives and others make up the afternoon sets. My must see act for the day is Bleachers. Jack Antonoff’s alt-pop group just put out an incredible album, Gone Now and promised to make this show something memorable (fun. reunion?). They played this festival back in 2014 when they only had one song out, and Jack has continuously expressed his gratitude towards Firefly. Thirty Seconds to Mars start off the evening sets at 6:45 at the Main Stage, followed by The Shins at 8 on the Lawn Stage and the headliner Muse at 9:15 back on the Main Stage. The legendary English rockers released a new song “Dig Down” just last month, and rumors of new singles and a new album are swirling. Dillon Francis starts his set over at the Backyard Stage right after Muse finishes, so if you have any energy left go rave until you drop (but don’t actually, be safe).
See you in the Woodlands!