With nice weather, improved traffic flow and a bigger festival schedule, festival organizers are calling Firefly 2014 a success.
An estimated crowd of 80,000 spent the last four days celebrating all things music at the third annual Firefly Festival at the Woodlands, held on the grounds of Dover International Speedway.
The festival area grounds were expanded to accommodate this year’s crowd, which has grown substantially since the inaugural festival in 2012. That first year, 30,000 people attended. In 2013. attendance more than doubled, reaching 65,000 participants. This past weekend was the biggest festival yet, fitting with festival director Greg Bostrom’s theme for the event: “bigger and better.”
This year, only 15 percent of ticket buyers at the event were from Delaware, giving lots of people from out of state a chance to experience the First State in a new way.
“I don’t come to Delaware for anything,” said Carol, a festival attendee from northern New Jersey. Firefly has changed that, though. “I think the campgrounds are aesthetically pleasing, the crowd is good. The music, [that’s] what we‘re here for: The music is amazing.”
State officials are appreciative of the benefits of visitors, even reluctant ones like Carol, on the state’s economy.
“The economic impact last year was $12 million,” said Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, who planned to attend all four days for the first time. “This is huge for our tourism industry, which is a $2.2 billion industry in Delaware.”
Overall, few problems were encountered by event organizers and participants. One of the biggest complaints heard among festival-goers regarded the amount of dust kicked up by 80,000 pairs of feet walking across the dry grounds.
Dust notwithstanding, organizers are already making plans for 2015.
“We are going to be back next year,” said Bostrom. “Firefly 2015 is going to be June 18-21st, and you can start buying tickets on Wednesday.”
Early bird tickets will cost $199. Firefly 2015’s line-up has yet to be announced.