Firefly music festival flickered for one bright, and hot, weekend


Firefly Music Festival is huge, eclectic and — this year, at least — very hot and humid. But it had great cell phone service.

How big was the four-day festival, which was last weekend in Dover, Del.? I don’t have exact attendance figures, but Saturday’s throng had to approach 90,000. The other days weren’t nearly as crowded, though.

Reports say that attendance was down this year. Maybe it was the heat, or the rainy forecasts that never materialized. Or maybe it was the insertion of too many craptastic DJ acts.

All told, Firefly had more than 140 acts on eight stages, with headliners Chance the Rapper, Twenty One Pilots, The Weeknd, Bob Dylan and Muse, plus an undercard with the likes of Weezer, OAR, Kesha, Franz Ferdinand and Daya.

Dylan did his typical career-spanning set list in the Americana style he prefers these days, roughing over the melodies and foregoing all small talk. Still, it was one more chance to see the legend who played Covelli Centre in 2012.

It was a hoot to see the foul-mouthed Kesha immediately after Dylan’s set ended. Kesha is the polar opposite of almost every musical genre, but especially Dylan.

Unlike Dylan, she talked so much between songs (maybe to catch her breath from all the choreography), that it ate up her stage time. One fan took her up on the invitation to “Take It Off” when she did that song.

Kesha told the crowd she has a lot of new music that she can’t release until her contract battle with producer Dr. Luke is resolved. She put her anger and frustration into words by singing the 1963 Lesley Gore hit “You Don’t Own Me.”

The best night — for me, at least — was Sunday, when the crowd was much more manageable, and the evening delivered a tag team of great acts that I had not seen live before, including Nahko and Medicine for the People, Thirty Seconds to Mars, the Shins (my favorite set), and Muse, who totally won me over.

Firefly is in the mega-festival category, with a site that is sprawling but sort of circular. For its size, the logistics are fine-tuned — including cell phone reception. At most rock fests, phone service is spotty and messages fail. That’ll happen when you have tens of thousands of people in one place, each furiously sending texts and Tweets.

FILM INITIATIVE PLANS EVENT

The new Mahoning Valley Film Initiative’s first public event will be Friday at The Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St., downtown, at 8 p.m. The group will introduce itself and its goals at the free event, which will feature boxing champ and occasional filmmaker Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini as special guest.

Formed in May by local filmmakers, including John Chechitelli, Josh Menning, Jim Fogarty, Justin Ciminero, and Ken and Dan Mizicko, the MVFI hopes to empower locals to create, watch and enjoy movies. Check it out on Facebook at mahoningvalleyfilm. Anyone with an interest in filmmaking, writing and storytelling, or who just likes movies, is welcome to attend.

FIRESTONE FARMS FESTIVAL

Firestone Farms Town Center, at state routes 7 and 14 in Columbiana, will also introduce itself this weekend with Summerfest. The event will be Friday from 5-10 p.m., with Jimmy and the Soulblazers, and Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. with the Sums Divide (1 p.m.), Brent Bregar (4 p.m.), and John Reese Project (7 p.m.). There will also be food trucks, vendors, beer, and children’s activities, plus the development’s unique shops will be open.

Town Center is building an amphitheater on the site that will resemble the 1828 Firestone farmhouse that once stood there. The actual house where tire maker Harvey Firestone grew up has been moved to the Ford Museum in Detroit, which has a collection of historic homes.

THEATER PROPS FOR SALE

Here is a unique place to find things for your next Halloween costume or event: The Victorian Players Theater’s yard sale, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. til 4 p.m. each day, at 313-317 N. Belle Vista Ave. on the West Side. Furniture, props and costumes used in plays will be sold at bargain prices.

Guy D’Astolfo covers entertainment for The Vindicator. Follow him on Twitter at @VindyVibe

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