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Concert Review - Firefly Festival

June 21, 2019, Firefly Music Festival opened its gates once again for tens of thousands of alt-loving fans to dance and sing to their hearts’ content. The 3-day festival created high anticipation of their new and improved festival features such as the beach-club themed campsites decked out with real sand, volleyball, teepees, and even a waterslide.

Regardless of the controversial elimination of a Thursday lineup like in past years, three awesome days packed with a diverse lineup of spectacular acts made us all forget that a day was missing. The festival started with a stormy Thursday during the North & South hub’s pre-party sets featuring Saint Motel, Louis the Child, Gryffin, & more. Fortunately, the downpours were interspersed perfectly between acts, so we were still able to witness Louis the Child’s epic set full of crowd favorites.

Friday had a much smoother start and while there were a few clouds in the sky and some pretty powerful winds that

sent tents flying, the precipitation was kept at bay and all was well. TLC’s afternoon set blew the crowd away and had the whole festival swaying with their hit “Waterfalls.” The next act on the main stage, Tyler, the Creator, was my personal favorite of the weekend. Tyler’s energy was unmatched and the set production was fantastic. His outfits changed with the albums he performed, wearing his signature blonde wig and suit for his newest record, IGOR, which kept the crowd moshing. In addition, the massive royal curtain that dropped during his hit “Boredom” off of Flowerboy added a nice visual touch.

Then came rising alt-rock band Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s late night set at the intimate Hideaway stage. There’s something so magical about a nighttime set for bands as exciting and mysterious as UMO. The setting fit perfectly with their eccentric, psychedelic and jazzy vibe. It felt almost as though myself and the rest of the audience was being hypnotized by Ruban Nielson’s unique voice and guitar. The set was awesome and lived up to my soaring expectations.

Lastly was Panic! At the Disco closing out the evening at the main stage which was a definite winner this weekend. Brandon Eurie’s high notes were heavenly and he rocked the stage. All the classics were performed as expected and, speaking for the whole crowd, the emo pop-rock tunes instilled nostalgia for our youth like none other. Truly spectacular.

Saturday came around and we started the day off with Lauren Daigle, an up-and-coming singer songwriter with an amazingly powerful voice similar to Adele. Her 10-piece band decked out in tie dye illuminated the stage and was a super fun time. Taylor Bennet (Chance the Rapper’s brother) followed on the Prism stage. He made sure to express his gratitude towards his fans and supporters in between nearly every song. King Princess made her appearance on the main stage at about 5pm, giving a fun and chill performance as the sun began to set.

We quickly raced over to the Hideaway for Hippo Campus’s set afterwards. About a third of the audience broke out the picnic blankets and sat down for this one, including myself. Hippo Campus is the epitome of a festival favorite for many, and today’s set once again proved why. They played all the classics, such as Suicide Saturday, Buttercup, and Way it Goes. They also featured one of their newer tunes, Bambi, and the whole crowd sang along. It felt like heaven.

Next, we ventured over to $suicideboy$ for a very explicit yet energetic set that hyped the crowd up for the night that was to come. Alison Wonderland followed on the same stage, continuing the energetic vibe and giving one of the best sets of the weekend. Young the Giant performed on the Lawn stage at around 10, another wonderful late-night alt-rock set. Travis Scott closed out the night with crowd favorites off of his newest album Astroworld, and reviews of his performance have been mixed. My opinion is that it was so-so.

Sunday was the hottest day, but spirits were still high and we were surviving. VHS collection gave a rocking performance to open the last day of the festival on the Hideaway stage; then came Lovelytheband on the main stage which was a pleasant surprise of a set. I seemed to be missing out on something good according to the adoring crowd of this one. Up-and-coming hip hop artist Tyla Yaweh gave an intimate yet spectacular show on the Hideaway stage. From the beer-bonging to the crowd surfing, I was thoroughly entertained. Being such a small artist, he was extremely sincere and had great interaction with the crowd. He’s definitely one to watch for in the upcoming year.

Medasin was next on my list at the Prism stage and was by far one of my favorite performances of the weekend. His remixes were surprising in the best way, including all the club favorites and even the office theme song, which made the crowd go nuts. Gucci Mane made his appearance at around 7pm and definitely won the awards for best on-screen visuals. After that was Vampire Weekend on the main stage, which was simultaneous with the gorgeous sunset. Lead singer Ezra Koenig was as enthralled about it as we were, and couldn’t stop mentioning it. It made for a marvelous set to begin to wrap up the festival.

The last performances of the weekend for me were Post Malone and DJ Snake. I embraced my mainstream pop-culture self and danced my heart out at Posty, who gave an amazing performance with fire & fireworks. Following his set was DJ Snake who honestly gave a very sub-par performance. It seemed as though he was as tired of the rest of us (but I guarantee you he hadn’t been living out of a tent all weekend so I’m not sure what the problem was). Regardless, it was a good set to close out the night.

All in all, the weekend was spectacular. Firefly did it again, with amazing production, food, camping, and lineups. It was 100% worth the time and money and I will be back next year. If you live on the east coast and haven’t experienced Firefly yet, go for it. You won’t be disappointed.

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