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Firefly 2016: What To Expect This Year


Break out the sunscreen and start planning your irreverent crowd signs: The fifth annual Firefly Music Festival is less than one month away.

A star-studded lineup of artists—headlined by Kings of Leon, Mumford & Sons and Florence & the Machine—is obviously an important part of the experience for the tens of thousands of fans who’ll flock to The Woodlands next month. But the festival’s other components—the amenities, activities, food and fun diversions—are also a crucial part of its success.

With that, here are eight new and exciting things to discover at Firefly next month.

1. More water

One of the chief causes of fan frustration last year was the apparent dearth of water stations inside the festival grounds. Organizers at Red Frog Events heard the feedback and responded. Expect double the number of water taps this year, plus two additional service stations—one of which will be a new, 360-degree, self-service tap system that should reduce waiting times. Guests will also be permitted to bring one factory-sealed water bottle (up to one liter) through the gates.

2. A proper parade

There was nothing inherently wrong with the lengthy hike from the Firefly campgrounds to the Woodlands—but it certainly could stand some jazzing up. Enter the New Sound Brass Band, a Philly-based jazz institution, which will lead campers on a New Orleans-style second line parade each day to the festival gates.

3. Speaking of jazz …

Organizers are planning updates and redesigns to Firefly standbys like the Dogfish Head Brewery, the Coffeehouse and the Beercade. The Pavilion Stage will also adopt some unique new décor, while Red Frog promises a raft of functional and visual art installations. Just imagine: expressionism and shade in one dynamic package.

4. Stage upgrades

The Treehouse Sessions stage—once a VIP invite-only feature noted for its intimate vibe—has been called up to the big show and will debut in 2016 as a main stage. The Coffeehouse will also host some special acts that weren’t initially listed on Firefly’s lineup, like the Silversun Pickups and Jack Antonoff.

5. Tons of new food options

In addition to the Grotto Pizza, tacos, barbecue and burgers that can cure even the worst hangover, Fireflyers can this year partake in chana masala, chilled miso noodles with jack fruit, and crispy fish and chips. The lineup of new food vendors includes Coriander Market, Bayside 302, Fresh Coast Kitchen, Miso Palace, Non-Pacific and Schnitzel-Shack.

6. Rum

Sponsor Malibu Rum will unveil the Malibu Beach House, featuring frozen drinks and cocktails, flash tattoos, aerial selfies and free Wi-Fi. The Malibu Magic Hour will supply revelers with signature booze-filled coconut cups.

7. Bump, set, spike 

Everyone’s favorite tourism bureau, Visit Delaware, is sponsoring a suite of volleyball courts in the campgrounds this year.

8. Politics

Proving once and for all that you can’t escape political theater during an election year, nonprofit advocacy group HeadCount will set up shop in The Market, encouraging and allowing guests to register to vote.