top of page
  • Staff

Festival Recap: Firefly Festival 2022

Firefly Festival celebrated its 10-year anniversary with a stellar bill of artists taking the stage in Dover, DE. As one of the biggest festivals on the East Coast, it didn't disappoint. With four days full of pop, punk, rap and everything in between, there was guaranteed to be something for everyone.


Rain didn't scare anyone off on Thursday. As the drizzle cleared, fans packed the Woodlands in anticipation of a long weekend with some of their favorite bands. Husbands and Philly punk crew Mannequin Pussy kicked off the main stage with two high-powered sets.


100 gecs

Up next was Gayle, who, in a smart PR move, leans into her TikTok fame stemming from abcdefu as opposed to distancing herself from it. This allowed the audience to take in her genuinely impressive voice without distraction. At only 18, she's been consistently proving herself to be a force of nature as a live performer.


Meanwhile in the Pavilion, acts such as Neil Frances, Wax Motif, San Holo, and 100 gecs held down the fort with smaller but just as dedicated festival-goers. Jamie XX finished off the night with a dance party that closed out the first day of Firefly just right.


Following Gayle, Willow and Jungle both brought extraordinarily fun sets that lead into Thursday headliner Halsey. Halsey brought an indomitable energy to the Firefly Stage as she launched into opening song "Nightmare." Backed by visuals of protests and abortion statistics, it was a powerful performance that immediately proved, unsurprisingly, that she is a worthy festival headliner.


Halsey, photo by Don Lens, courtesy of Firefly Festival

Friday was every pop-punk lover's dream. My Chemical Romance as the headliner saw fans camping out all day for barricade. With the warmer weather, barricade campers were in for a treat at the main stage as they were able to catch sets by alt-pop lead Dayglow and alt-rockers Cold War Kids.

Ashnikko

The second day also saw the Backyard Stage open up on the opposite side of the Woodlands, which housed a stellar Friday lineup that included Cochise, The Backseat Lovers, Ashnikko, and a late night set by Zedd. Ashnikko drew a great crowd as she tore through her setlist of playfully explicit hits.


Avril Lavigne and Weezer warmed up the audience for MCR with setlists full of classics for both artists. Lavigne took the stage by force as she celebrated the 20th anniversary of her debut album and the crowd sang along with every one of her songs.




My Chemical Romance was everything fans wanted their performance to be. Donning a black skirt, white blouse and a red scarf, Gerard Way lead the audience into an epic night full of nostalgia and tears of happiness.

My Chemical Romance


Saturday kept the party going with another bill full of talented musicians. It can be difficult to hook the audience as the first main stage act of the day but Jagwar Twin was up to the challenge. With ease, they took to the stage oozing confidence and a charm that completely transfixed the crowd.


Artist Highlight: Jagwar Twin

Jagwar Twin was one of the many standouts of the Firefly weekend. The genre-twisting alter-ego of singer-songwriter Roy English is fresh off the success of single "Happy Face" which has amassed over 70 million streams. With a new album entitled 33, Jagwar Twin is looking to not only continue climbing the charts, but also connect with audiences in new ways.


"I hope fans see themselves in this album" English said about 33. The art of connection is clearly something he not only strives toward but actively excels at. With Jagwar Twin, he's pushing the relationship between fan and artist into new territory with the help of the metaverse.


"Art cannot exist without technology," is what English had to say about the relationship between the two. The web3 project "Hall of Mirrors" is a way to incorporate the seemingly lost art of longform storytelling into something palpable for the audience. Fans can use it as a way to immerse themselves in English's childhood memories and other concoctions that will exist at the intersection of music and technology. In a rapidly shifting culture driven by constant change, it may seem moot to ask audiences to take time to decipher codes and follow along, but this project introduces a new way to build community in our society that seems to be increasingly isolated. With "Hall of Mirrors," English invites fans into his own narrative.


"It's something different than TikTok," English said, "I like to be long-winded."




Jagwar Twin


On the main stage at sunset, the unhinged energy brought by Yungblud was chaotic in the best way possible. Within the chaos however, he made time for an impassioned plea in support of self-expression in the wake of the death of Mahsa Amini. The crowd cheered on as he proclaimed, “I am not gonna stand here and question someone’s religion, but I am gonna fucking fight for expression. I am gonna fight for freedom and I am gonna fight for the women of fucking Iran right now."

Yungblud

Matt Maeson and Wolf Alice continued on the Firefly stage while Weston Estate and Princess Nokia held it down across the Woodlands at the Backyard.


Back to back sets by Bleachers and HAIM on opposite stages had some festival-goers out of breath as they raced across the venue in an attempt to catch both performances. HAIM's set served as their last show of the 2022 and they were determined to go out with a bang as they rocked out with the crowd.


Green Day was without a doubt the highlight of the weekend for many. With a 90 minute set jam packed full of classics, it was a ridiculously fun show complete with crowdsurfers and fireworks.


“I gotta say, you guys are a bunch of weird motherfuckers out here tonight,” Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong said as someone in the crowd threw a mannequin leg onto the stage. “There’s some fucking Jeffrey Dahmer shit going on here."


The audience chanted "Sign the leg! Sign the leg!" and erupted into cheers as he pulled out a marker. The leg owner, who goes by Rooster, was able to get it signed by almost every artist playing over the four days.

Rooster (middle) and friends

Sunday at Firefly brought a risk of rain that didn't seem to phase anyone at first. On the main stage, Flor and Magic City Hippies warmed up the crowd with laid back sets that got people up and moving.


Unfortunately, dark skies came quickly and The Regrettes had to stop their set 4 songs deep due to storms in the area. Attendees hid out in their cars and waited for the threat to pass. Despite the hiccup, gates reopened about 90 minutes later just in time for the rescheduled sets of T-Pain and Manchester Orchestra. While Charli XCX drew a huge crowd, dedicated fans hyped up The Kid LAROI at the Backyard Stage. At 18 years old, he has the stage presence of a seasoned performer.

The Kid LAROI

Dua Lipa closed out the last night of Firefly Festival with an gorgeously produced set that reminded everyone of the fact that she'll be a trendsetter in music and culture for years to come.


Throughout the four days at the Woodlands, you would be hard-pressed to find someone not completely enjoying themselves. Great sound, clean campgrounds and an all-around good vibe is a testament to the well-oiled machine that produced the festival.


A conveniently located "Good Hub" near the South Entrance included informational booths by organizations such as Planned Parenthood, ASPCA, and To Write Love on Her Arms.


Good Hub Highlight: TWLOHA

If you're a child of Warped Tour, odds are To Write Love on Her Arms sounds familiar. The non-profit movement has been a staple in the music festival circuit and works to help provide hope and connect people struggling with mental health challenges to valuable resources.


According to Chad Moses, Director of Outreach & Experience, TWLOHA chooses to be present at festivals because of the sheer human connection:


"We're here because it's more than just the music. It's more than the lights. There's something that changes because you showed up. This world has been flavored, it's been seasoned, it's been made more beautiful by your presence and music festivals are just a really blatant, obvious proof of that fact."


Starting in 2006, TWLOHA has grown up with their audiences. From Warped Tour in the early 2000's to a variety of EDM events, pop and rock festivals in 2022, the organization has found success in making a generational impact.


"Imagine the 19 year olds that first learned about us at Warped Tour 2006. They're adults now," Moses explained. "Many of them have kids, many of those kids are starting to have their own journeys with mental health and what joy, what a pleasure and honor it is, to see this torch being passed generationally. We get to have the conversations that we didn't have with our parents."


Chad Moses, TWLOHA Director of Outreach & Experience


It was a memorable weekend for both fans and performers, and as campers left the next morning there was already chatter from festival goers looking forward to the 2023 lineup announcement.


Check out our full gallery below:

Photos by Keira Lindgren





Comments


bottom of page