The 2015 Firefly Music Festival is right around the corner, and although no performers have been scheduled at the same time as the headliners Paul McCartney, Kings of Leon and the Killers, the rest of the lineup will have to convince festival goers to skip other juicy acts for their own. Some of the decisions are no-brainers, but when two of your favorite artists are performing at the exact same time, how do you select which set to experience? Fortunately, we’re here to help.
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Below is our round-up of the 10 toughest scheduling showdowns at this year’s Firefly Music Festival — ranked according to how frustrating the conflict is — in which we explain each conflict and offer a “right choice” to make. None of these artists should feel insulted if they end up on the wrong side of the coin, since none of these decisions are easy!
10. Cathedrals (Sunday, 1:15 PM – 2:15 PM, Firefly Main Stage) vs. Børns (Sunday, 1:30 PM – 2:15 PM, Porch Stage)
The Conflict: San Francisco duo Cathedrals have been given the opportunity to play the main stage against Børns, Garrett Borns’ pop project that once helped remix Cathedrals’ standout track “Harlem.” Both acts are worth drinking in on Sunday afternoon…
The Right Choice: … So split the difference between them! Check out Cathedrals’ affecting mood music from the beginning, then bop over to soak in Børns’ musical melancholy at 1:45 PM. The Best of Both Worlds is not just a Jay Z-R. Kelly joint album, you know.
9. The Kooks (Thursday, 11:00 PM – 12:00 AM, Lawn Stage) vs. Tycho (Thursday, 10:45 PM – 12:00 AM, Pavilion Stage)
The Conflict: The major showdown of the opening night of Firefly: the crowd-pleasing Brit-pop of the Kooks will be tested against San Francisco producer Scott Hansen, better known as Tycho. The Kooks get top billing, but Tycho’s chilled-out electronica will attract a sizable audience.
The Right Choice: The Kooks. Thursday night is all about getting amped for the wild weekend ahead, and the Kooks will offer a more energetic night-capping performance than Tycho.
8. Sturgill Simpson (Saturday, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM, Lawn Stage) vs. Betty Who (Saturday, 5:30 PM – 6:15 PM, Backyard Stage)
The Conflict: Down-home country-folk pitted against technicolor synth-pop, with both Sturgill Simpson and Betty Who currently earning rave reviews for their festival sets. Coming down from a Betty Who performance with a Sturgill Simpson set sounds ideal, actually, but the scheduling gods have not made it so.
The Right Choice: Betty Who. The Australian singer’s 2014 debut Take Me When You Go delivers dizzying highs, and the euphoric set-closer “Somebody Loves You” is not to be passed up this weekend.
7. Bastille (Sunday, 6:45 PM – 8:00 PM, Firefly Main Stage) vs. Citizen Cope (Sunday, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM, Porch Stage) vs. Raury (Sunday, 6:45 PM – 7:45 PM, Forest Stage)
The Conflict: There’s a lot to like on the final day of Firefly, but this pile-up of synth-rock, acoustic musings and socially conscious hip-hop is not one of them.
The Right Choice: Bastille, simply because the “Pompeii” group’s main-stage spectacle can usually be described as “epic” when they find the right crowd to tenderly entertain. Bastille, then the Killers? Not a bad way to close out an alt-rock festival.
6. Manchester Orchestra (Friday, 3:15 PM – 4:15 PM, Firefly Main Stage) vs. Echosmith (Friday, 3:30 PM – 4:15 PM, Lawn Stage) vs. Logic (Friday, 3:30 PM – 4:15 PM, Backyard Stage)
The Conflict: Manchester Orchestra get their rightful spot on the Firefly main stage after over a decade of grinding out shows, while relative newcomers Echosmith and Logic will fight to dazzle you with their recent hits.
The Right Choice: Split the difference. Catch the first half-hour on Manchester Orchestra’s indie-rock extravaganza, and if the mood fits you, check out the end of either Echosmith or Logic, depending on whether you want to hear “Cool Kids” or “Under Pressure.”
5. Matt & Kim (Saturday, 6:15 PM – 7:15 PM, Firefly Main Stage) vs. Elliphant (Saturday, 6:30 PM – 7:15 PM, Porch Stage)
The Conflict: Matt & Kim’s just-released album New Glow has some excellent tunes to complement older hits like “Daylight” and “Let’s Go,” while Elliphant continues to unveil lovably berserk pop tracks leading up to her fall album release.
The Right Choice: Elliphant. The Swedish singer-producer’s new single “Love Me Badder” is a certified banger, and Elliphant could play a good amount of fresh material on Saturday afternoon. Sorry, Matt; sorry, Kim.
4. Spoon (Saturday, 7:15 PM – 8:15 PM, Lawn Stage) vs. Dirty Heads (Saturday, 7:15 PM – 8:15 PM, Backyard Stage) vs. Alison Wonderland (Saturday, 7:15 PM – 8:15 PM, Pavilion Stage)
The Conflict: Indie rock’s most celebrated stalwarts have been pitted against the breezy ska-punk vibes of the Dirty Heads and one of EDM’s most undeniable new talents. Decisions, decisions.
The Right Choice: Spoon. Missing Dirty Heads and Alison Wonderland would be a shame, but not seeing Spoon at any point of their run in support of They Want My Soul would be tragic. Don’t overthink this one — place a bet on the sure thing.
3. Modest Mouse (Friday, 8:45 PM -10:00 PM, Lawn Stage) vs. Run The Jewels (Friday, 9:00 PM – 10:00 PM, Pavilion Stage)
The Conflict: Run The Jewels don’t have the stunning discography of Modest Mouse, who just released their first album in eight years. However, Isaac Brock and co. can’t offer the immediacy of Killer Mike and El-P in a festival setting.
The Right Choice: Run The Jewels. Oh my darling Modest Mouse fans, don’t cry, but until Mike and El disappoint me during a festival performance — or any performance, for that matter — I’m sticking with their raucous, righteous sets.
2. Walk The Moon (Friday, 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM, Lawn Stage) vs. Sylvan Esso (Friday, 5:00 PM – 5:45 PM, Backyard Stage) vs. DJ Mustard (Friday, 5:00 – 5:45 PM, Pavilion Stage)
The Conflict: Three great acts and a limited amount of time to see them. Sylvan Esso bring the chill festival vibes on the festival’s first big day, DJ Mustard drops the beats ruling rap radio over the past 18 months, and Walk The Moon offers joyous pop-rock as the midday heat begins to subside.
The Right Choice: DJ Mustard. Start off Firefly right by giving in to the L.A. producer’s afternoon party — and for those feeling particularly expeditious, buzz over to Walk The Moon’s last 15 minutes to hear “Shut Up and Dance” live.
1. Snoop Dogg (Sunday, 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM, Lawn Stage) vs. Empire of the Sun (Sunday, 8:00 PM – 9:15 PM, Backyard Stage) vs. Tove Lo (Sunday, 8:15 PM – 9:15 PM, Pavilion Stage)
The Conflict: A totally brutal pile-up of must-see acts. Tove Lo is an enchanting pop performer, Empire of the Sun brings a theatrical flair to their slick electro-dance songs, and Snoop Dogg is… well, a legend who will perform “Gin N Juice.” Good luck picking against any of these!
The Right Choice: Split the difference. Start with Empire of the Sun to see their always-memorable stage arrival, head to Snoop Dogg to catch the back half of his puffs of marijuana smoke, and run to Tove Lo for her finale of “Habits (Stay High).” Ambitious? Sure. Worth it? Absolutely.