It’s hard to top a lineup that featured Paul McCartney at the top last year, but in 2016, for the event’s five-year anniversary, that’s just what Firefly Music Festival attempted to do. Essential acts like Blink-182, Tame Impala, Deadmau5, Kings of Leon, Florence + the Machine, and Mumford & Sons capped a bill that might not have been as top-heavy as the previous year, but presented a strong and eclectic group of headliners.
A refusal to rest on laurels also characterized the individual performances. With founding member Tom DeLonge no longer with the band, Blink-182 proved that, after the lineup shakeup, their existence isn’t futile. CHVRCHES’ festival shows have become demonstrations on why they’re one of the most exciting acts in music today. Earth, Wind & Fire bridged generations and reminded us how much we need propulsive, groovy funk.
The lineup was also peppered with a healthy smattering of lesser-known groups who proved fit to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with everybody on the bill. Swim Deep brought dreamy, shoegaze-inspired indie pop over from the UK, St. Lucia had potentially the most engaging stage presence of the entire festival, and Hollis Brown, to put it simply, rocked.
It was beautiful, all of it.
But still, few things are perfect. Fetty Wap ceded the first 30 minutes of his set to a DJ, and as badly as the crowd wanted to know what exactly was in that man’s Spotify library, they grew restless until Fetty finally emerged and breathed life back into his audience. Ludacris also didn’t make it to his Friday night performance, but not for any diva-ish reasons: Filming on Fast 8 was delayed, and he just couldn’t get away. The good news is that he still came to the East Coast to make up for his set and kick off Sunday with a rousing, upbeat performance.
Luckily, the festival was plenty strong enough to overcome these minor hurdles. Check out a gallery below of the highlights from Firefly Music Festival 2016.