Last year, the Firefly Music Festival’s big names were Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Vampire Weekend and Foster The People. Wait, the “Pumped Up Kicks” dudes? Well, this year, with a June weekend at the end of the school year pinpointed, they seem to have stepped up their game a lil’ bit. This week, they announced who’d be making their way to Dover, DE for a star-studded four-day festival—and we’re not mad. Especially because this long-awaited Andre 3000 and Big Boi reunion is really happening. OUTKAST 2016! (Hil for veep.)
Sure, there are some duds; you can’t get everything right and tight. Why does Jack Johnson get headliner status?? That stoner-surfer put out his sixth LP last year, but let’s face it: Dude’s straight-up soft rock. That’s what he does. That’s supposed to move a sea of molly-popped teenagers? It’s also sad to see Imagine Dragons and the Lumineers so high up. It’s my personal opinion that these are fad bands with no depth, and you won’t care who they are in a couple years.
But heyyyy, Foo Fighters! They rip. It’s one of my favorite memories of high school; I saw them at the Pepsi Arena in Albany when they opened for the Chili Peppers’ Californication tour. We tried to take bong rips with vodka in the chamber (IT DOESN’T WORK. AND IT HURTS). The Fighters upstaged the Peppers, and I’ve had much respect for them since.
Some other highlights from deeper down the roster are unexpected and completely expected. That 1-2-3 punch of Arctic Monkeys, Weezer and Band of Horses is a little mystifying so high up: the Monkeys rule, but Weezer’s completely resting on the laurels of a couple classic records from the ’90s, and Band of Horses have totally lost even their most hopeful fans, right (kind of like Kings of Leon)? But cheers to Childish Gambino getting a high-up spot, and to Tegan and Sara, Local Natives, Iron & Wine and Sleigh Bells.
Creepin’ down toward the obscures, we get Chance the Rapper (!), Phosphorescent, TuNe-YaRdS (are we done with this capitalization game yet?), Sky Fareirra, Lucius and White Denim. Most of the others I couldn’t tell you too much about. Probably all of the aforementioned bands will be nighttime acts.
A thing that’s noticeable about last year versus this year? Way less #EDM (that’s electronic dance music, geezers), not enough in-your-face hip-hop (last year featured Kendrick and Azealia Banks), and not enough up-and-coming young legends. Last summer, they pulled in HAIM, Foxygen and CHVRCHES. Guess you win some and lose some.
Tickets go on sale this week, and $249 for an Early Bird four-day pass doesn’t sound bad AT ALL. But that creeps up to $300 with time.