10 Tips for Firefly Newbies

Check out some undercards, put down your phone and remember the baby wipes.

First time at Firefly? Fear not, newbie. Follow these 10 simple tips from an insider to maximize your experience. 

  1. Comfortable shoes. Firefly, like all weekend-long music fests, is a marathon. And with performances and activities spread across 100-plus acres of land, you can plan on a lot of walking. Unless you want your dogs resembling Hobbit feet by Sunday, make sure you wrap them in something comfortable and durable. Keep your flip-flops and Sperrys at home.
     
  2. Shade. Your greatest nemesis, besides swollen feet: the sun. Painful sunburn can quickly ruin your weekend, and hats, sunblock and shades can make a big difference. If you’re camping, keep your area covered with a tarp or one of those fancy pop-up canopies.
     
  3. Speaking of camping. Your campsite will be your home for a few days, so make it as comfortable as good sense allows. Lawn chairs, snacks, tunes, coolers, etc., are all very handy, as are baby wipes, talcum powder, hand sanitizer and toilet paper, for obvious reasons. Hoist a flag or some kind of uniquely identifiable totem so that you’ll be able to spot your campsite among the seemingly millions of others.
     
  4. Identify your must-see bands and stake your spot. For headlining acts, the crowds will begin to form early. If you need to be close enough to Jack Johnson to smell his surf wax, you’ll need to camp out in front of the main stage far in advance—at least an hour or two.
     
  5. Don’t burn yourself out. The temptation is strong. You’ve just landed among 80,000 keyed-up, party-happy, scantily clad friends, with loud music, booze, drugs and little-to-no interference from responsible adults or law enforcement. But try to remain calm. Burning the candle at both ends on Thursday night might spoil your Friday. Remember: marathon. Also remember: stay hydrated.
     
  6. At the same time, stay out late. Don’t be too quick to head home after the headliner unplugs. Late-night EDM (electronic dance music) shows, silent disco at The Thicket, and other scattered early-morning offerings are some of the festival highlights.
     
  7. Check out some undercards. Break the shackles of your Spotify playlist and listen to a band you’ve never heard before. Step away from the crowd and check out the Coffeehouse, the Hammock Hangout, the arcade and the hot-air balloon. More on this next week.
     
  8. Show some Delaware love. This is the First State’s weekend to shine, so be sure to share your state pride with fellow Delawareans at Firefly, like vendors Fifer Orchards, Dimitra Yoga, Greenman Juice Bar, Dogfish Head and bands like New Sweden and Mean Lady.
     
  9. Leave your wallet. Yes, we all want Firefly to be a financial success and return to Dover every summer, but once inside the festival gates, you’re a captive audience. Go easy at the price-inflated merch tables and food booths. Ask yourself: Do you really need that pair of custom-painted Toms shoes?
     
  10. Put the cell phone down. By all means, take a few selfies, Tweet a few Instagrams, Kik a few Snapchats (or whatever), but, please, show a little restraint and don’t record grainy video of the entire guitar solo from “Say it Ain’t So,” or wave your Lumia around like a Bic during the Lumineers. Take a break from the screen, and soak it all in with your eyes.

 

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