Best Bets: Delaware's Firefly Music Festival from A to Z

By Craig Horleman
Posted 9/24/21

While this year’s Firefly Music Festival got off to an abbreviated, wet start Thursday capped off by Phoebe Bridgers and Billie Eilish, the mega music festival should hopefully start in full …

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Best Bets: Delaware's Firefly Music Festival from A to Z


While this year’s Firefly Music Festival got off to an abbreviated, wet start Thursday capped off by Phoebe Bridgers and Billie Eilish, the mega music festival should hopefully start in full today with gates opening at noon as they will Saturday and Sunday as well.

Beyond the 120 artists on seven stages this weekend will be dozens of on-site activities to keep festival goers entertained.

After a year off, 2021 sees the return of: chef-curated menus, Bazaar Central Market with spots on the grounds and the North and South Hubs, Silent Disco, morning yoga sessions, Dogfish Head Brewery, the intimate Treehouse Stage, North Hub Beach Club and Tiki Bar.

For the first time, they will be introducing DJ sets from The Nest, a Pride Parade, a Drag Brunch, Bud Light Seltzer Sessions and an exclusive Supper Club.

Let’s go over it all as we have in past with years with an A to Z look at Firefly - 2021 style.

A - almost monday plays twice at Firefly starting today at 5:30 p.m. at the Treehouse Stage and Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at the Bud Light Seltzer Sessions Stage.

The band has more than 50 million combined audio and video streams. They recently released their sophomore EP “til the end of time” and followed it with a new single “cool enough.” People Magazine declared them an “emerging artist making their mark on the musical landscape.”

Despite releasing their debut EP — “don’t say you’re ordinary” — in the middle of a pandemic, they were able to make waves with their first two singles “broken people” and “live forever.” “broken people” landed them a Top 20 spot on Alternative Radio, led to a collaboration with Grammy-nominated duo Sofi Tukker and generated more than 20 million combined audio and video streams.

B - Band of Horses plays today on the Main Stage at 6:30 p.m.

The Southern folk rock band was formed in 2004 in Seattle by Ben Bridwell and has released five studio albums, including 2010’s Grammy-nominated “Infinite Arms.”

Their 2006 debut Gold record “Everything All the Time’s” first single was “The Funeral,” which has been used in numerous television series, films, video games, and advertisements.

C - Cage the Elephant will play right after Band of Horses on the Main Stage today at 8:15 p.m.

Cage the Elephant is an alternative rock band formed in 2006 in Bowling Green, Kentucky. They relocated to England and settled in London in 2008, shortly before their self-titled first album was released.

The band, which has experimented with a few different genres, won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Album twice, in 2017 for “Tell Me I’m Pretty” and in 2020 for “Social Cues.”

D - DJ Diplo plays the Backyard Stage to close out Saturday at 12:30 a.m.

Born Thomas Wesley Pentz, Diplo is a DJ, songwriter and record producer. He is the co-creator and lead member of the electronic dancehall music project Major Lazer, a member of the supergroup LSD with Sia and Labrinth, a member of electronic duo Jack Ü with producer and DJ Skrillex, and a member of Silk City with Mark Ronson.

His 2013 EP, “Revolution,” debuted at number 68 on the US Billboard 200. The EP’s title track was later featured in a commercial for Hyundai and is featured on the WWE 2K16 soundtrack.

E -Elohim will play Saturday at 4:45 p.m. on the Pavilion Stage. She also has a DJ set confirmed today at Three Olives (in the back of the main stage field) at 10 p.m.

Her musical style spans from electronic and indie alternative to unabashed pop with a one-woman live show that is set against a backdrop of visuals.

With over 300 million combined global streams, her latest release, “Journey to the Center of Myself Vol. 1,” which includes lead single “STRUT,” features Queen of bounce, Big Freedia. The remaining three parts are set for release later this year.

F - Flo Milli plays at 5:30 p.m. today at the Backyard Stage.

Otherwise known as Tamia Monique Carter, the rapper began making and releasing music in 2015. After her singles “Beef FloMix” and “In The Party” went viral on the social media platform TikTok, she signed a recording deal with RCA Records.

Flo Milli released her debut mixtape, “Ho, Why Is You Here?” last year to critical acclaim. She was nominated for Best New Artist at the 2020 BET Hip Hop Awards.

G - Glass Animals will perform at 8:30 p.m. Saturday on the Main Stage.

The British indie rock band, formed in Oxford in 2010, put out its first album “Zaba” in 2014. It spawned the single “Gooey,” which was eventually certified platinum in the United States.

Their second full album, “How to Be a Human Being,” received generally positive reviews and won in two categories at the 2018 MPG Awards for UK Album of the Year and Self Producing Artist of the Year, as well as a spot on the Mercury Prize shortlist. The third, “Dreamland,” included the single “Tokyo Drifting” which peaked at number seven on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart.

H - Hunny takes the Main Stage at 2:15 p.m. today.

The California rock band released their first single “Honey Blonde” in 2014. Their second single, “Cry For Me”, was released in January 2015 and became a breakthrough hit, gaining over 1 million streams within a year.

In early 2018, Hunny signed to Epitaph Records in July 2018, before releasing their third EP “Windows II.” In May 2019, Hunny released their first full-length album, “Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes,” working with producer Carlos de la Garza.

I - iann dior is on the Backyard Stage today at 7:15 p.m.

Michael Ian Olmo is a Puerto Rican-born American rapper, singer, and songwriter. In 2020, he was featured on 24kGoldn’s single “Mood.” which peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and became his first and highest-charting song.

J - Judah and the Lion plays today on the Main Stage at 5 p.m.

Multi-platinum genre-benders Judah & the Lion released new single “Help Me To Feel Again,” earlier this year following 2020 singles “Beautiful Anyway” and “Spirit” — which continued to make waves for the band at Alternative and AAA radio.

Over their career, Judah & the Lion (Judah Akers, Nate Zuercher and Brian Macdonald) has always talked with fans about mental health and their own personal struggles. The band’s 2019 studio album Pep Talks was written in the midst of a turbulent year for Mr. Akers, who was experiencing new highs as the band achieved global success on the strength of their twice-Platinum single “Take It All Back” while his family life in Tennessee was crumbling.

The record landed at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 and earned critical acclaim from Rolling Stone, NPR, UPROXX, Mother Jones and more.

K - The Killers are making their fourth appearance at Firefly today on the Main Stage at 10:45 p.m., having performed at the inaugural 2012, 2015 and 2018 editions of the event.

The Las Vegas-based band, known for hits such as “Mr. Brightside” and “Somebody Told Me” released the band’s seventh album, entitled “Pressure Machine” on Aug. 13.

“Pressure Machine” debuted at No. 1. on the Official U.K. Albums Chart, snagging the band’s seventh U.K. No. 1.

The Killers have been nominated for seven Grammy Awards, seven BRIT Awards, and 24 NME Awards.

L - Lizzo wraps things up Sunday at 10:30 p.m. on the Main Stage.

Melissa Viviane Jefferson attained mainstream success with the release of her third studio album, “Cuz I Love You” (2019), which peaked inside the top five of the U.S. Billboard 200. The album spawned the singles “Juice” and “Tempo.” The deluxe version of the album included Lizzo’s 2017 single “Truth Hurts,” which became a viral sleeper hit, topping the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 two years after its initial release, also marking the longest-leading solo song by a female rapper.

Around this time, her 2016 single “Good as Hell” also climbed the charts, reaching the top three on the Hot 100 and top 10 of the UK Singles Chart. Lizzo received eight nominations at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards, the most for any artist that year, including Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Record of the Year as well as Best New Artist. She eventually won the awards for Best Urban Contemporary Album, Best Pop Solo Performance for “Truth Hurts,” and Best Traditional R&B Performance for the song “Jerome.”

M - Megan Thee Stallion plays the Backyard Stage at 7:15 p.m. Sunday on the Backyard Stage.

Megan Pete signed to 300 Entertainment in 2018 where she released the mixtape “Fever” (2019), the extended play “Suga” (2020), and her debut studio album, “Good News” (2020); all of which peaked in the top 10 of the Billboard 200.

Her single “Savage (Remix)” featuring Beyoncé, and her feature on Cardi B’s single “WAP” were her first and second number ones on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, with the latter providing Megan with her first number one in several other countries.

She has received several accolades, including six BET Awards, five BET Hip Hop Awards, two MTV Video Music Awards, a Billboard Women in Music Award, and three Grammy Awards. At the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards, she became the second female rapper to win Best New Artist, after Lauryn Hill in 1999.

N - Nelly plays before her Sunday on the Backyard Stage at 5:30 p.m.

Cornell Iral Haynes Jr. signed to Universal Records in 1999. Under Universal, Nelly began his solo career in 2000, with his debut album “Country Grammar,” of which the featured title track and the single “Ride wit Me” were top-10 hits. The album debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and went on to peak at No. 1.

“Country Grammar” is Nelly’s best-selling album to date, selling over 8.4 million copies in the United States. His following album, “Nellyville,” produced the No. 1 hits “Hot in Herre” and “Dilemma” (featuring Kelly Rowland).

O - Oliver Tree will play at 5 p.m. Saturday on the Main Stage.

He is a singer-songwriter, producer, rapper, comedian and filmmaker from Santa Cruz, California. He signed to Atlantic Records in 2017, after his song “When I’m Down” became popular.

In 2020, his album “Ugly Is Beautiful” was released. Most notably in this album is the song “1993,” which features an alien-themed character named Little Ricky ZR3, who in Oliver’s words is an “upcoming artist” and “long-term friend.” On the album, it features DJ, Marshmello, producing the song “Jerk.”

It reached No. 1 in the U.S. Alternative and U.S. Rock charts.

P - Portugal, The Man plays on the Main Stage at 8:30 p.m. Sunday.

This is the third time at Firefly for Portugal, The Man. After more than a year without playing a live show, the Alaska-formed, Portland, Oregon-based rockers are back on the road.

Earlier in the year, they released of “Ulu Selects Vol. #1 (Live),” a four-track EP, which is the first of many eclectic EPs to come and features stripped down performances of fan-favorite songs.

Q-The DJ QRTR plays Sunday at 8:45 p.m. on The Nest Stage.

According to DJ Mag, “QRTR is a Brooklyn-based artist who aims to shake things up after lulling her listener into a pulsating groove. In a previous life, QRTR’s studies in film opened her ears to a vast number of sound libraries, which are tastefully woven into each of her tracks. QRTR merges multiple electronic styles with an underlying beat of house-tinged energy, guiding her dancefloor through a myriad of previously unknown sounds.”

R - Roddy Ricch plays at 9:15 p.m. Saturday on the Backyard Stage.

Rodrick Wayne Moore Jr. rose to fame in 2018 with his single “Die Young,” which peaked at No. 98 on the Billboard Hot 100. His first two mixtapes, “Feed Tha Streets” (2017) and “Feed Tha Streets II” (2018), also received widespread acclaim.

In 2019, Ricch was featured on Nipsey Hussle’s single “Racks in the Middle,” which earned him a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance, and on Mustard’s Grammy-nominated single “Ballin’,” which reached the top 20 of the Hot 100.

S- Sylvan Esso is playing at Firefly’s Wonder Stage Friday at 9:30 p.m.

It’ll be the band’s first festival performance since their return to the stage alongside Phoebe Bridgers and Brittany Howard at a Nashville show in the wake of Bonnaroo’s cancellation.

Sylvan Esso was named among the most “essential acts to catch on tour this fall.”

At Firefly, fans will hear songs like “Numb,” “Ferris Wheel,” “Rooftop Dancing” and more from their latest album “Free Love,” for the first time following a year of remote appearances for “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” “CBS This Morning: Saturday” and NPR’s Tiny Desk (Home) Concerts.

T - Tame Impala plays the Main Stage Saturday at 11 p.m.

The psychedelic music project of Australian multi-instrumentalist Kevin Parker, Tame Impala’s debut studio album, “Innerspeaker,” was released in 2010; it was certified Gold in Australia and well received by critics. Mr. Parker’s 2012 follow-up, “Lonerism,” was also acclaimed, reaching Platinum status in Australia and received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Alternative Music Album. Tame Impala’s third album, “Currents,” was released in July 2015, and like its predecessor, it won ARIA Awards for Best Rock Album and Album of the Year.

The fourth studio album, “The Slow Rush,” was released in 2020 and won five ARIA Music Awards.

U - Unusual foods will be found throughout the grounds from Stuffed Ice Cream, Waffle de Lys, German Schwenk Grill, The Mac Shack and many more.

V - VEIL plays at the end of Saturday at 12:30 a.m. at The Nest Stage.

With roots on the West and East coasts; VEIL experiments in bass music genres. She is the head of her Street Ritual label and had a former DJ project, spacegeishA — both of which have served to shine a spotlight on the global bass scene for nearly a decade.

W - Wiz Khalifa performs today at 9:15 p.m. on the Backyard Stage.

Cameron Jibril Thomaz released his debut album, “Show and Prove” in 2006, and signed to Warner Bros. Records in 2007. His Eurodance-influenced single, “Say Yeah,” received urban radio airplay, charting on the Rhythmic Top 40 and Hot Rap Tracks charts in 2008, becoming his first minor hit.

“Black and Yellow,” a tribute to his hometown of Pittsburgh, debuted at No. 100 and eventually peaked at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song became the lead single for his third album “Rolling Papers,” which was released in March 2011, and also had the Top 40 singles “Roll Up” and “No Sleep.”

In March 2015, he released “See You Again” (featuring Charlie Puth) for the soundtrack of the film “Furious 7” and the song peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for 12 non-consecutive weeks.

X - Extinguish your thirst at The Brewery with the 2021 Firefly Ale, the annual collaboration with Dogfish Head Brewery, as well as other craft beers and libations from the Delaware brew house.

Y - Free yoga sessions will be in the North Hub and the Meadows each morning.

Z - Catch some ZZZZs in the Hammock Hangout, perennially a popular spot of an Firefly year.

If you can’t be there in person, you can livestream many of the Firefly acts.

Firefly is teaming up with Mandolin to exclusively live stream this year’s lineup on the platform for free to all fans. Confirmed artists who will be livestreaming include Diplo, Roddy Ricch, Portugal The Man, Oliver Tree, Taking Back Sunday, and more.

As the festival’s official live streaming partner, current Mandolin users get instant access to the show, but new fans can tune in for free by creating a Mandolin account at

Attendees will need proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a valid negative test.

For more information, visit here.

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