BY RISHA INAGANTI
BY TABITHA REEVES
Delaware’s Firefly Music Festival, held this past weekend, is a straight 50-minute drive from the university, making it the ideal event for students who are looking to escape campus for a few days. Blue Hens flocked down to Dover to experience four days of live music, fun activities and a break from the stress of school.
Olivia Rayfield, an elementary education major and junior at the university, camped out at the Firefly North Camping surrounded by other university students.
“It’s so cool that there are so many of us this year,” Rayfield said. “There are seven campsites here in a line that are all UD students.”
The campgrounds were located on a large field near the North entrance of Firefly. Campers set up tents with surrounding chairs and coolers, and parked their cars at their designated sites. Windows of cars were temporarily painted with various Firefly-esque sayings or names of artists that fans were most excited to listen to. The car at Rayfield’s campsite, along with many others, sported a Blue Hen sticker, showcasing their university pride.
Given that this was Rayfield’s third year at Firefly, she was able to compare this experience to her previous ones.
“I feel like the lineups were better in the past, but as long as you’re with people you like it’s fine,” Rayfield said.
This year’s lineup featured Halsey, My Chemical Romance, Green Day and Avril Lavigne, just to name a few.
Sidney vanNeerden, fourth-year Firefly attendee and art major at the university, was sharing a campsite with Rayfield. She thought the lineup this year was great, given that she was more of a fan of musicians such as Bleachers and Jordana, who came to Firefly to perform their alternative pop and indie rock jams.
“I saw Jordana just now and I cried,” vanNeerden said. “I’m into the artists that are here. I don’t like rap music as much, so it’s fun to see everybody who’s more indie.”
What Rayfield and vanNeerden did agree upon, however, was that they wished the weather had been better this year. Campers started off on a rough foot at Firefly with pouring rain on Thursday afternoon, but Rayfield and Vanneerden came ready with many tarps and tents. Their preparations became even more useful when Firefly was evacuated due to inclement weather on Sunday evening.
“Last year our tent flooded and everything got wet, so we were prepared for the rain this year,” vanNeerden said.
Even after the rain settled down, the chilly night temperatures made it difficult for people to enjoy themselves in typical festival outfits. Rayfield reminisced on years when Firefly had been held in the summer months, expressing that she found sunny days to be more pleasant for concerts.
Although the festival’s decision to switch their month from June to September sacrifices summer weather, it does allow university students a break from their first month of the semester.
“I tried to submit everything beforehand, so I don’t have a single thing due,” Rachel Howell, a junior finance and accounting major, said.
Many students found themselves in the same boat as Howell this weekend, which allowed them to let their hair down and kick their feet up. Without the stress, these students were able to fully take in the things that make Firefly unique.
Festival grounds were covered in various sculptures and art pieces, which added to the musical experience by making it an entertaining and aesthetic place to walk around.
“The festival is really pretty this year,” VanNeerden said, referencing the stained-glass house by the Treehouse stage. “They have so much art this year.”
Aside from the beautiful grounds of Firefly, Jessica Maury, a sophomore exercise science major, reflected on the new friends that she met while at Firefly. She explained that the festival seemed to inspire kindness. This was her first year attending Firefly, but when comparing it to her trip to the Governor’s Ball Music Festival in New York City, she found herself enjoying this weekend more.
“All the people around us were really nice and chill,” Maury said. “We could talk to them between sets, which made it a really fun experience. If you needed something, they were passing out water bottles. People would just hand things to you instead of hogging it.”
Bailey Polecaro, a junior exercise science major at the university, was in agreement with Maury. Polecaro said that the festival has been a great experience all around, especially since he is a bassist in his own band and frequently finds his songwriting inspired by Green Day, the Saturday night headliner.
“Our band started up in Newark, around UD and it’s called Vanylla Godzylla,” Polecaro said. “I love Green Day and the way that they play has inspired a lot of my music.”
Despite conflicting perspectives on this year’s lineup, many university students shared Polecaro’s excitement to see Green Day as well. Unlike most concerts, festivals like Firefly are unique in that fans are able to see many of their favorite artists over the span of just a few days.
“We’re here at Firefly, there’s a lot of good music here, so yeah, it’s a great time,” Polecaro said, summing up the weekend.