It's spring and early-summer music festival announcement season, and Delaware's Firefly fest entered the fray today with five headliner names: The Weeknd, Chance The Rapper, Bob Dylan, Twenty-One Pilots and Muse.
There's no single mega-draw attraction on that list to equal previous gets by the four-day fest, which will place in the bucolic Woodlands at Dover Downs from June 15-18. (Tom Petty played in 2013, OutKast and Foo Fighters in 2014 and Paul McCartney in 2015.) That's somewhat surprising considering that since 2014 Firefly has partnered with California promoter Goldenvioce, which puts on the Coachella festival, who oh-by-the-way have Beyonce, Radiohead and Kendrick Lamar topping this year's bill.
But since Firefly was able to pull in crowds in the 80,000 range last year without any such superstars, does it really matter? Festival goers show up for the weekend getaway experience, with the Delware fest organizers are very porfessional at providing. And beyond the top names, there are lots of medium-sized attractions, from Australian DJ-producr Flume to guitar-pop stalwarts Weezer, Bleachers and Ok Go to returning pop heroin Ke$ha to indie rock luminaries The Shins and Hamilton Leithauser to rappers Busta Rhymes, Wale and K. Flay.
The Dylan booking adds a surprise factor to the fest. He's a Nobel prize winner, a genius, a legend, but he's generationally alone on an island in relation to the rest of the festival, which draws a thoroughly millennial audience. McCartney was a huge crowd pleaser two years ago, but everybody loves the Beatles. Dylan is more likely to leave Firefly fans puzzled, even moreso that Morrissey did in 2014.
And good for Chance the Rapper for graduating to festival headlining status. His 2016 album Coloring Book was an open hearted musical wonder, with a warm human spirit necessary in these times. For the Weeknd, it'll be the second time the Canadian love man born Abel Tesfaye headlines an area fest: He was one of the bill-toppers at Made in America in 2015.
More info and the full lineup here. The Weeknd's "Starboy" video is below.