I’ve always been interested in music festivals – the way I’m interested in running a marathon, or learning how to sail. These activities sound like they’d be very rewarding once they’re complete, and like they’d be good to list on a resume of completed bucket list items, but I wondered if I’d really enjoy a fest. Camping? I like camping – Russell and I used to go frequently with Scout back in Illinois. But camping with 90,000 other people and sharing a bathroom? Going shower-less for days? Finding the stamina to attend hours and hours of concerts?
The 2016 lineup of Firefly Music Festival, set in The Woodlands of Dover, Delaware, made me interested in at least finding out if I’d enjoy one. From a Blink 182 “reunion” (in quotation marks because of a change in members, but still mega-exciting) to getting to see Noah Gundersen again, the artists alone made me willing to try. But my first request: I needed my own bathroom.
We accomplished this by flying from Tampa to the northeast and renting our very first RV:
We also made another questionable financial decision by springing for VIP tickets. With our own designated entrance, air-conditioned bathrooms, and designated viewing areas, it was a decision we didn’t regret.
Day 1 – Thursday, June 16
Because we made our decision to attend only a month before the festival, we didn’t have many options for travel. We flew into Reagan on Southwest with the intent to drive across to Dover, Delaware, but when the only nearby availability on cruiseamerica.com was in New Jersey, we had to go out of our way a bit. We arrived in Dover around 6 p.m. and were set up and on our way to the festival a little before 8.
Our walk to the entrance took about 15 minutes from our campsite, but once we arrived we were thankful to have our VIP entrance compared to the long lines of general entry. There wasn’t really anyone on our “list” that we had to see that evening, so we walked around and got acquainted with the festival grounds.
Day 2 – Friday, June 17
After a restful night of sleep in the RV, we moseyed over around 1 and checked out the air-conditioned beercade and the Hammock Hangout before seeing The Lonely Biscuits.
We headed back to the RV at 5 that evening to regroup, and returned to see Fitz & the Tantrums, Flogging Molly, and Guster (at the Coffee House… front row!!!!!). The evening ended with Kings of Leon, one show that Russell was really looking forward to.
Day 3 – Saturday, June 18
Unfortunately, I made good friends with our RV neighbors after waking up on Saturday and drank my weight in mimosas… so I did not make it to the festival this day (womp womp). Russell caught part or all of: Catfish and the Bottleman, Death Cab for Cutie, M83, Neighbourhood, and the Silversun Pickups.
Day 4 – Sunday, June 19
Refreshed and ready to attack the day, we owned Sunday. We saw Noah Gundersen twice, once at a bigger stage and once at the Coffeehouse (unfortunately, he played the exact.same.set., which was disappointing).
We tried to see Travis Barker’s solo drum set – it was too crowded to get into the area – but we did have great seats in our VIP section for BLINK 182, which was the main reason we got the festival tickets. LOVED THIS SET, even though Tom DeLonge is no longer with the group. We finished our big day with a bit of Earth, Wind & Fire, the 1975, and Mumford & Sons.
We woke up early on Monday to return the RV and drive back to Reagan (with a quick stop at Pancheros in New Jersey!), flying back over Tampa around 9 p.m. that evening.
After we recovered, we immediately began planning our next festival. We’re addicted!
Cost: VIP Tickets and General Camping – $1,800; Southwest tickets – $400; Rental car to and from airport – $82; 4-night RV rental from cruiseamerica.com – $1,275
As you can see… not the cheapest trip, but one that we’ll credit with giving us the music festival “itch.”
Sometime I’ll hopefully blog about the epic packing list I made and the supplies we brought!