Between wardrobe malfunctions, secret forest concerts and a forced evacuation brought on by severe weather… yep, Saturday, June 20 at Firefly Festival was an extremely eventful day. From the performances that impressed the most to the crowd’s response to the severe weather, these were the most memorable moments from day 3 at Firefly 2015.
12:04 PM: An older gentleman is spotted walking into the festival wearing an “I Heart Wawa” t-shirt, as if to remind everyone in attendance that Firefly is a Philadelphia-area festival.
2:50 PM: Before the set-closing “Heart of a Lion,” the Griswolds‘ Christopher Whitehall declares to the raucous crowd that the preceding performance has been the group’s “favorite show of our entire lives.” Backstage a few hours later, Whitehall says that he was “hands down” telling the truth. “Last year at Firefly was our favorite show ever before,” he says, “and this topped it.”
3:20 PM: Anti-abortion activists, armed with visually explicit signage and patronizing stares, position themselves at the mouth of the bridge leading into one of Firefly’s two main entrances. A passerby chided them with a succinct, “You’re wasting your time. Re-examine your lives.”
3:46 PM: With a wink, Andrew McMahon tells Billboard backstage that one of his old bands, Jack’s Mannequin, might be playing some shows later this year or early next year to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its debut album, Everything In Transit.
4:28 PM: As Jon Bellion warbles in the background, two shirtless bros do aerobatic flips over trashcans. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere.
4:31 PM: Far from the massive crowd assembled for Gary Clark Jr.’s set (which was more scorching than the oppressive heat), a lone girl sways to the music in a paisley dress. The sixties are alive and well wherever there’s a festival.
4:58 PM: “Stop that man!” one patron shouted to a crosswalk filled with people. “You dropped some money!” Good Samaritans, all around us.
5:08 PM: “Delaware, I heard a rumor through the grapevine that you decriminalized,” Halsey said during her afternoon set. “This song goes out to you.” She then launched into “New Americana,” a track that rhymes Americana, Nirvana and marijuana.
5:22 PM: Sturgill Simpson starts his folk jamboree eight minutes early with… a blast of bagpipes! The noise echoes across the field near the Lawn Stage before Simpson strolls out.
5:46 PM: “I’m having a wardrobe malfunction a la Nicki Minaj at the VMAs,” said Betty Who — whose top wouldn’t stay in a knot — as she began “Runaways.” “I’m living my lifelong dream of taking off my clothes in front of thousands of people!” she said while stripping down to her bra.
6:57 PM: Toward the end of a small but stunning set, Zola Jesus collapses on the ground as if gripped by the spirit. Then, like a child possessed by Satan in a horror film, she spider-walked backward just before exiting the stage. Simply put, there’s no one else like her.
7:01 PM: In the span of five minutes, Matt & Kim lead a twerk-fest for drummer Kim Schifino, play a few notes of “Just a Friend” and encourage the massive audience to take their shirts off in unison. “Wave it like a fucking rally towel!” Schifino commands as the duo launches into “It’s Alright” on the main stage.
7:08 PM: “Should we play ‘Enter Sandman’?” joked The Griswolds as they began their set at the Treehouse Sessions, a stage hidden in the woods and accessible only to devoted fans. The foursome played for the intimate crowd, kicking off with “Right on Track.”
8:09 PM: Spoon whips out their recent cover of the Cramps’ “TV Set,” which the group recorded for the Poltergeist remake, toward the end of their performance.
8:30 PM: One eager salesmen walks up to strangers, asking them if they “want to buy any weed for the Kings of Leon show.” Few takers in the field!
9:51 PM: The wind is picking up, and Kings of Leon’s set is being covered with rainproof tarps. Things are not looking good for the 9:45 PM-scheduled set.
9:55 PM: A Firefly official takes the mic from Kid Cudi to announce the bad news: “Everyone evacuate. This is for your own safety.”
10:09 PM: As evacuated Firefly patrons exit across the highway bridge, they find each other through music, singing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and Lil Jon’s “Get Low” as a chorus.