After four days of nearly non-stop tunes and entertainment, the third annual Firefly Music Festival was finally extinguished on Sunday evening (June 22). But before the lights went out, event organizers Red Frog made sure that the 80,000 folks in attendance made a few more memories in the Woodlands behind the Dover International Speedway. To that end, Firefly’s fourth and final day was once again packed with established names and promising up-and-comers across its seven stages. Jack Johnson, the Lumineers, Weezer, Martin Garrix and 28 other acts all vied for attendees’ attentions, but in the end, it was the World Cup match thousands of miles away that drew the most cheers (and jeers) from the masses. Here’s our highlights from day 4 of the First State’s biggest party:
Firefly Highlights: Friday | Saturday | Photos
12:45pm: Firefly organizers announce that the USA vs. Portugal World Cup match will be broadcast on the main stage jumbotrons after the Lumineers set. The news is especially exciting to the thousands of attendees who come dressed in stars-and-stripes attire for the big game.
3:09pm: Jake Bugg hits the Backyard stage, armed with new material that sounds like circa-1970 desert rock. The British singer-songwriter rocks out hard, but barely breaks a sweat.
3:52pm: A pack crowd at the main stage erupts into action as Weezer takes the stage and immediately launches into “My Name Is Jonas.” “Hash Pipe” quickly follows, letting fans know they’re in for a fun ride. Crowd surfers swim across seas of hands as the band rolls through a greatest hits set that includes “Dope Nose,” “Beverly Hills,” and a show-stopping rendition of “Island in the Sun” which begins with frontman Rivers Cuomo crooning an off-the-cuff tune asking the fireflies to light his way tonight. An epic moment, even at 4pm.
4:33pm: Rivers drops his axe to settle behind the skins while drummer Patrick Wilson moves to guitars and vocals for “Photograph.” The song immediately segues into a cover of Blur’s “Song 2” that gets everyone in the field hollering “Woo Hoo!” The band leaves the stage, but quickly returns for a duo of ‘Blue Album” classics — “Undone (The Sweater Song)” and “Buddy Holly” – that gets every hand in the air.
5:47pm: The Lumineers begin their set with a shimmering ambient tone, ragtime-y piano and big, bowed acoustic bass, proving that even with their sparse, acoustic instrumentation, they can be as huge as the main stage headliners.
6:08pm: Washed Out takes to the Lawn stage and bathes the crowd in waves of tranquil electro-pop melodies. The perfect soundtrack for Firefly 2014’s last sunset. Meanwhile, fans across the field pack into the Dogfish Head Brewery and anywhere there’s a working TV monitor tow watch the beginning of the US soccer teams World Cup battle with Portugal. Hopes are high for the home team.
7:16pm: Phantogram, led by its sexy, hair-swinging frontwoman Sarah Barthel, bust out 2009 awesome-ness with “As Far as I Can See,” complete with live sample triggering. They are absolutely killing the Backyard stage. Easily an all-weekend highlight.
7:26pm: Phantogram is still destroying the Backyard stage. But – what’s this? Team USA just tied up the World Cup! Time to mosey over to the main stage where thousands have gathered to watch the match’s remaining minutes on the jumbotrons.
7:43pm: GOOOOOOOOOAL! Firefly explodes as the US scores on Portugal to take the lead. The crowd at Frankie’s near the Hub erupts into cheers of “U.S.A.! U.S.A!” Main stage viewers begin a chant of “we think we can win!”
7:56 pm: Broken Bells frontman James Mercer (also of the Shins) tells the crowd gathered at The Lawn that USA vs. Portugal is “2-2. Tied up, We’ll see what happens,” he says, before he, Dangermouse and the band play “Trap Doors.”
8:03 pm: Enthusiasm is snuffed out as the World Cup match ends in a disappointing tie. Bill Withers’ ‘Lovely Day’ ironically plays through the speakers, reminding Firefly that there’s still a festival going on. Life could be worse.
8:12pm: “1-2-3-JUMP!” After flying in from Las Vegas, where he just performed two nights at the Electric Daisy Carnival, Martix Garrix turns Firefly’s frown upside down with a bombastic set on the Porch stage that includes brand new material as well as monster EDM jams like his own “Animals.” The 18-year-old Dutch wunderkind wraps up with Kaskade & Project 46’s “Last Chance.” Firefly doesn’t miss its last chance to jump for Garrix’s grooves.
8:39pm: Speaking of last chances, Jack Johnson – the weekend’s last headliner – takes the stages and begins his tranquil set. Firefly prepares to go out with a whisper rather than a scream.
9:21pm: “Let’s get the Lumineers up here, what do you think?” Jack Johnson calls up his buds from Denver for a glowing rendition of his hit “Breakdown.” Johnson tells the crowd that they didn’t have a chance to actually practice together, but the song sounds pretty flawless. For their second song, Johnson and his guests perform the Bob Dylan-written “I Shall Be Released.”
9:46pm: Childish Gambino keeps energy high on the Lawn with “Freaks and Geeks,” backed by a full live band, showing how considerably Donald Glover has stepped up his concert game over the last few years. Firefly senses that the clock is ticking.
10:59: “Firefly, seriously, we love you,” Dominic Lalli, the saxophone-playing frontman of the livetronica band Big Gigantic tells the crowd. Although the set is scheduled to end at 11pm, Lalli says, “They let us play 15 minutes [more] so let’s keep going. After concluding the set with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Cant Hold Us,” Lalli tells the crows, “You guys have been so amazing. We want to document this moment with a photo. I’m going to count to three and then I want you all to says Wooo! He counts down, the crowd complies, the photo is snapped and Firefly officially ends.