This weekend’s Firefly Music Festival at the Woodlands in Dover, DE, boasts one of the summer’s most impressive festival lineups. We’ve made things easy for you by spotlighting five headliners, five mid-tier acts, and five lesser-known bands that are worth seeking out during the event, which runs from June 19-22, and is expected to draw around 80,000 people.
With apologies to Imagine Dragons, tUnE-yArDs, Pretty Lights, Band of Horses, Childish Gambino, and countless other talented acts on the bill, these are the 15 acts we’ve deemed worthy of the “must-see” label.
OutKast. Andre 3000 and Big Boi are on the bill for just about every festival this summer, aren’t they? The hip-hop duo rarely toured much during their heyday, so be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to see them now.
Beck. Beck Hansen is incredibly unpredictable when it comes to his studio work, which lurches from experimental alt-rock to poignant balladry. But in concert, he’s consistent, offering a fan-friendly show that usually includes his big hits like “Loser,” “Where It’s At,” “Devil’s Haircut,” and “E-Pro.”
Weezer. Rivers Cuomo and company haven’t released new music in a few years, but that’s almost irrelevant at this point. From the cult-favorite early albums like Pinkerton to late-career hits like “Pork and Beans,” “Memories,” and “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived;” Cuomo and his bandmates have more than enough material to crank out an amazing live show.
Foo Fighters. At times over the past few years, as EDM and dance-pop have taken over the radio, it’s felt like Dave Grohl and company have been the only ones fighting to keep rock n' roll alive. Reward their efforts by catching their performance on the main stage.
Arctic Monkeys. Arctic Monkeys solidified their reign as Britain’s premiere rock act with their excellent 2013 album AM, which managed to sound both retro and futuristic at the same time.
Must-See Mid-Tier Acts
Tegan and Sara. The switch from folky alt-rock to catchy pop hasn’t lessened the appeal of twin sister duo Tegan and Sara. Especially when they’re creating earworms like “Everything is Awesome,” from "The Lego Movie."
Sleigh Bells. Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller have become one of the most prolific indie rock acts around, pumping out three solid albums in the last four years. The combination of Miller’s searing guitars and Krauss' soft voice never loses its appeal, and they've continued to become an even better live act through the years.
Phantogram. “Fall in Love” was the single Phantogram needed to break through. The Top 10 alternative hit exposed the duo’s electro-trip-hop sound to the masses, and made them one of the most hotly-anticipated bands of summer festival season.
Girl Talk. The mash-up DJ formerly known as Gregg Gillis was the coolest dude in popular music circa 2007, and he still puts on insane live shows by deftly mixing and matching samples that get the party started without fail. His midnight start time will only add to the wild atmosphere.
Iron & Wine. For a more chilled-out atmosphere, sit back and take in Iron & Wine’s set at 4:45 on Friday. Sam Beam and his backing band create beautiful, mesmerizing folk-rock that should prove to be a perfect fit for that lazy, late afternoon time slot.
Must-See Under-the-Radar Acts
Jake Bugg. Eyes and ears were opened everywhere when a then-18-year-old kid named Jake Bugg emerged in 2012 with the song “Lightning Bolt,” which sounded just like a modern-day Buddy Holly track. Bugg’s set provides an opportunity to see the next big thing before he hits it big.
NONONO. One of Sunday afternoon’s early highlights will be the set from Swedish trio Nonono. The group is still brand-new, but already achieved moderate chart success with the infectious, whistle-laden single, “Pumpin’ Blood.”
Kodaline. Still largely unknown in America, the Irish rock band Kodaline has earned praise from MTV and the BBC for their big hooks. You’ll have to arrive early to Firefly to catch them; Kodaline are one of the first acts to take the stage, performing at 7:15 on Thursday.
Sky Ferreira. The 21-year-old pop singer is still figuring out her style, which over the past few years has drifted from bubblegum pop to a combination of indie/new wave sound. Most everyone agrees she has all the qualities necessary to become a star – probably sooner, rather than later.
The 2014 Firefly Festival takes place in Delaware from June 19-22.