The inaugural Firefly Festival in Dover was arguably the top story for 2012 as more than 30,000 music fans, some of whom traveled across the country, descended on Dover and filled up hotels from Wilmington to Rehoboth Beach.
The STORY Red Frog Events, a Chicago-based event production company, put the music world on notice in April — On the east coast, the new yearly destination for indie music would be Dover, Delaware. As jaws dropped and people began questioning the logic of hosting a large-scale festival in Dover (Why Dover? Who will perform? Will people really come?), plans moved forward. A portion of the property at Dover International Speedway was renamed "The Woodlands" and details were leaked: There would be hot air balloon rides, craft beer, an arcade, a wine garden, and, of course, almost two-and-a-half days of music featuring more than 40 artists like Jack White, The Killers, The Black Keys and Modest Mouse
THE IMPACT The lasting impression of the inaugural festival was palpable for the entire state. More than 30,000 fans, some of whom traveled across the country, descended on Dover each day, filling up hotels from Wilmington to Rehoboth. Locally, Delaware Tourism Office Director Linda Parkowski said that the festival brought in a huge influx of people into Kent County as anticipated, with noise and traffic being the only consistent complaints.
"Local restaurants like the Hollywood Diner and Kirby & Holloway Family Restaurant were packed," she said. "There were lines of people everywhere."
WHAT'S NEXT Despite Red Frog Event's reluctance to release any hard numbers at the conclusion of the event, within two days, the company announced that Firefly would flicker again in 2013. Pre-sale tickets went on sale Wednesday, July 25 for a reduced rate and fans clamored for the $148 weekend passes. But, by Thursday, Aug. 2, those tickets were gone. In recent weeks, organizers announced through Facebook that the new lineup will be announced mid-February for the Friday, June 21 through Sunday, June 23 performances.