Country music takes over Delaware in Dover with Big Barrel [photos]

A smaller, more laid back crowd gathered at Dover’s Woodlands, which is hosting its second consecutive weekend music festival.

The inaugural Big Barrel country music festival got underway Friday on a smaller portion of the Woodlands property near Dover International Speedway. Last weekend, about 90,000 people attended the fourth annual Firefly. Organizers said about 35,000 would attend Big Barrel.

For the first year, Big Barrel offered music on just two stages with fewer acts. In addition to the smaller size, there were other notable differences between Firefly and Big Barrel. The most glaring was the presence of lawn chairs. Hundreds of fans sat early Friday afternoon to listen to the opening acts. Last weekend at Firefly it was standing room only at every stage except for very limited VIP areas.

Also new this weekend, a petting zoo where barnyard animals could be fed. Gone was Firefly’s beercade and hammock hangout. Instead, Big Barrel attenders could line dance inside an air conditioned tent.

After Big Barrel wraps up this weekend, the music fans’ attention will shift a little further south. In July, the Delaware State Fair in Harrington will host a variety of performers with a heavy tilt towards country music. Then in August, the state fairgrounds will be home to another country music festival. The Delaware Junction festival will feature more top country acts including Toby Keith, Florida Georgia Line and Jason Aldean.

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