So what should one do one week before taking off on a 3 week RV vacation? Go to Firefly, of course! We went to the first Firefly in 2012 and really enjoyed the music and small crowd of approximately 30,000 people. We rented an RV for 2012 Firefly, and considering there seemed to be 1 toilet for every 300 people in the tent camping area, we reached the conclusion that the RV was money well spent. However, the festival was so poorly organized and run (volunteers not doing their jobs, parking rules changing constantly, water price gouging, lack of water, Jack White’s sound not working – which may have been a blessing in disguise), we were not going to come back unless there was an amazing line-up.
Then Firefly 2015 was announced. And Paul McCartney was the headliner. And we figured in 20 years Alex could say he saw Paul McCartney in concert. So, against our better judgement, we bought our tickets and reserved an RV spot and made plans to take a one year old to a music festival with a targeted ticket sales to reach 90,000.
We should have taken a closer look at Paul McCartney’s tour schedule. We would have discovered he was playing the Wells-Fargo Center in Philly the night after his Firefly appearance, it would have been a wiser use of our money. So, the good and the bad.
Alex: He had an absolute blast. Loved listening to the music and people watching. Even better, there was a 12-week old there. So just turning one was a late start for a first concert experience.
Music: It was a fantastic line up. We were never close to the stage, but we enjoyed the acts from a distance.
Weather: Okay, we know the organizers can’t control the weather, but a little advance planning goes a long way. Delaware experienced torrential rains ahead of the festival and the RV camping areas were swampy. Fill was being brought in the day the before the gates were to open, but it wasn’t nearly enough. More rains were experienced during the festival, creating a giant mud pit where shoes were lost. To top it all off, severe storms were predicted the last night of the festival, canceling the headliner and spurring announcements to seek shelter. The poor tent campers were directed to their cars, some a 45 minute walk away from their tents. Perhaps using every available golf cart and shuttle to help concert goers seek shelter would have been wise. We left ahead of the rain. We saw people come in and attempt to park their big rigs, and knew if the grounds got much sloppier, there was a strong likelihood these folks were going to get stuck and block the only exit. No point in having to deal with that mess right before our 2015 Western Odyssey.
Organization: We had passes for the camping sites next to the entrance and had to load in by Wednesday. It seemed foolish for Jess to take an extra day off of work and sit around in an RV when there weren’t going to be any acts. So, we purchased a vehicle parking pass, and Jess and Alex drove down to Dover on Thursday. After picking up the parking pass at will call, Jess drove to the appropriate parking lot as indicated on her map. This was the incorrect thing to do. Apparently, festival organizers wanted all traffic directed to a single choke point, and then redirect people to their appropriate location once viewing the pass. This would have meant sitting in line for 45 minutes plus with an antsy 1 year old.
Upon arriving at the appropriate parking lot, Jess discovered that no one was checking for passes or even directing parking. This was also beneficial because Jess got to select her own premium parking spot, but it was clear wasted $40 to buy the pass. The lack of guidance with parking was clear when Jess picked up the car. People had played the always fun game of create your own parking space and block someone else in.
A laundry list of rules that were disregarded or sporadically enforced. Throw in the lovely gentleman who believed that the two foot strip of grass we weren’t occupying in our camping spot was his invitation to park there.
Sound: You think they would have someone in the audience, or several someones at different points in the audience listening to ensure that Paul McCartney’s sound was working just fine. His one mic was not working, but we got to see his lips move on the giant TV screens.
Kids these days: Yes, here is our inner curmudgeons. We should have stayed home right (don’t we wish). But,these are the people who will be wiping our rear ends in a nursing home later, and I am concerned that kids these days cannot even find their own rear end even using their phone GPS.
Again? Would we go again . . . would have to be a truly awesome line-up. And we would spring for the Super VIP passes. We’ve heard good things about Lollapalooza.