Firefly Music Festival eyes return in September

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DOVER — It appears there will be a Firefly Music Festival this year.

The Dover-based event posted on its website Monday morning new dates for 2021. They are Sept. 23-26 at the Woodlands of Dover International Speedway.

No other information was available Monday.

Questions to Firefly officials about the size of this year’s festival, changes due to health regulations, when tickets would go on sale and lineup announcement went unanswered Monday.

“Information is forthcoming that will address the majority of your questions. At this time, we can only specifically address the dates for the 2021 Firefly Festival,” said Nick Trentacost, director of marketing – Great Lakes, for AEG Live, producers of Firefly, in an email Monday afternoon.

Last year’s event was canceled due to concerns over the coronavirus. It was to have taken place June 18-21 and feature headliners Billie Eilish, Rage Against the Machine, Halsey, Blink-182, Khalid and Maggie Rogers.

That lineup was announced Jan. 28, 2020 and tickets went on sale Jan. 31. On March 24, Firefly officials announced that the 2020 festival was canceled.

The state’s Division of Public Health is working with AEG Live to formulate a plan for the festival.

“DPH has been in communication with Firefly organizers, AEG, regarding their anticipated fall festival. Event organizers are aware they will need a formal plan approval from the agency before the event takes place. We will continue to actively work with the organizers to ensure their plan meets all necessary health and safety requirements and the necessary mitigation and safety measures are in place,” said DPH spokesman Jim Lee in an email Monday.

“AEG reached out to the state regarding their interest, and a formal plan is expected to be submitted. We do not have a specific timeline currently, but DPH will continue active discussions with the organizing group as they develop and submit their official plan.”

The news regarding Firefly came on the same day that Delaware Gov. John Carney signed the eighth revision to the COVID-19 emergency order, increasing outdoor gathering limits and easing capacity restrictions in outdoor venues effective at 8 a.m. on Thursday.

This will be ninth year for the festival, which started in 2012 with such acts as The Black Keys, Jack White, The Killers and John Legend. The first festival drew 35,000 fans.

Over the years, the festival has grown to be one of the biggest on the East Coast, held over multiple days and multiple stages on grounds that now total 105 acres.

Headliners over the years have included Red Hot Chili Peppers, the late Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Florence + the Machine, The Weeknd, Muse and Eminem.

The festival drew 90,000 people in 2015 when Sir Paul McCartney entertained the crowd on the second night of the four-day night event.

Firefly aficionados on the Firefly Musical Festival Fan Page greeted the news with disbelief and happiness but some noted that the event will take place the same weekend as two other major U.S. music festivals, Lost Lands in Legend Valley, Ohio and the Governor’s Ball Music Festival in New York City.

One fan noted “The saddest thing is that it seems fests are going to sell out fast this year since there are so few. I want to know the Firefly and Gov. Ball lineups before I buy a ticket. They are both usually pretty similar in quality and have a decent amount of lineup overlap.”

Overall, fans seemed to be pleased that the festival will return.

“By that time I think we’ll have a large enough amount of people vaccinated. Masks might still be needed but with the current rate of vaccination I think it will be fine. Plus it’s outside,” said Jaden Blondin on the Delaware State News Facebook page.