Day 170: Firefly

Given that I went camping for the past four days—first time in a tent, might I add—I’m making up for these these next four days of posts all at one go, the Monday after we returned!

The performances for Firefly Music Festival 2014 in Dover, DE began on Thursday at 6 p.m., but I didn’t know anyone scheduled to perform that day, and the friend from Boston with whom I went (two girls at a music festival? So grateful our Asian parents are among the most lenient…) knew of one band, Phosphorescent, so we aimed on just arriving before they played at 8:45 p.m. and having enough time to set up and acclimate to our surroundings.

Firefly Music Festival campgrounds
So proud of how quickly we set up our tent for the three-night haul. My first time, too 🙂

Honestly, I wasn’t prepared for this festival. My friend told me about this festival while I was studying abroad in Shanghai, and I had bought the tickets, and although I had the festival in the (very) back of my mind, I had only glanced the lineup and hardly bothered thinking about the logistics.

It really wasn’t until I picked up my friend from the airport when she told me about the things we would need to bring (biodegradable shampoo, jugs of water just in case showers aren’t ideal, wipes for our body, etc.) that the potential conditions of our four days and three nights could be that bad.

Literally a few hours before heading out on our journey, I desperately Googled “music festival tips.” Thankfully, my friend had covered much of what I found, except the attractive-at-the-time idea of battery-powered phone chargers. I later realized they wouldn’t have been absolutely necessary, given my car is able to charge phones, though without the engine on, it stops charging after about five minutes, making it necessary to constantly lock and unlock the car for any progress. There were festival chargers available to rent for $6 and free charging stations, as well.

With our four-person tent, cooler, two bright orange Tommy Bahama beach chairs, a bunch of camping toiletries from Target, and an 18-pack Bud Light and four cans of Twisted Tea, we ended up departing around 3 p.m. Getting the alcohol, by the way, was an interesting experience. It was my first time buying alcohol since I’ve turned 21 a few months ago, and it felt so foreign to me walking into a liquor store (locating one near my house even proved to be a sadly funny challenge.) Unlike many people, I have never had a fake ID or an urge to obtain one, since I really didn’t develop an “appreciation” (the best word I can think to describe it. That, or understanding) for alcohol until junior year, especially in Shanghai.

The less-than-two-hour drive was painless, disproving our expectations of terrible standstill traffic. Upon arriving, we received one trash bag and another for recycling and a green line drawn with marker on the top corner of my windshield. We followed a line of cars and parked at our fairly roomy campsite.

Firefly Music Festival 2014 campgrounds
Lot 1 of the festival campgrounds.

After a quick, one-hour setup, we made The Trek to the festival grounds. My friend and I still don’t know the exact distance of The Trek from campgrounds to the festival but our estimate is two miles. Maybe between one and two, but when it’s midnight and you’ve been walking around under the heat, surrounded by a cloud of dust and, yes, pot that never really goes away, The Trek up a hill, over a bridge, and through a massive parking lot feels like the Long March. But I’m getting ahead of myself—the direness of The Trek really didn’t hit till at least the next night.

Still, even the first time walking to the festival made us all feel slightly uneasy. Sure, there’s something called The Hub in between where food trucks and showers are that may help to ease the anxiety of such a walk…but still.

Anyway, we arrived at one of the seven stages just in time to see the end of Kodaline, an Irish rock band. Currently listening to what seems like its most popular song “All I Want (Part One)” on YouTube. Glad we made it in time for them—a cool discovery and addition to my study/work/blogging playlist.

Firefly Music Festival 2014
Day one photo at the picturesque Firefly sign at the entrance of the festival grounds.

Phosphorescent was cool, too. Being amateur festivalgoers, we headed back to campgrounds afterward instead of further exploring, so we were inside our tents by around 10 p.m. with nothing to do except read our books in the dark. Yeah. That happened. (My book is Eddie Huang’s autobiography-turned-TV-series Fresh Off the Boat—a surprisingly good read so far!) Of course, it wasn’t that easy to fall asleep, especially given that our neighbors’ car alarm kept going off (they don’t know how to use a key or unlock their trunks apparently) and blasting music at 1 a.m. is apparently okay for them.

Nevertheless, for my first day at a festival, all went well!