Words & Photos by Carina Duffy

October 15, 2022

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For those in need of a festival on the East Coast, Firefly Festival is a one-of-a-kind, multi-genre music festival tucked away in the Woodlands of Delaware. Spanning across the fourth weekend of September for the second year in a row (pre-pandemic, Firefly was held every June), festival goers from all around the world bustle in to dance among the stars and sing in celebration of 10 glorious years of Firefly’s roots being planted in 2012. And what a celebration it was!

Now, having experienced Firefly myself in the thick summer’s heat and most recently in the cooler months of fall, I always dabble back and forth on my preference; maybe it’s the crisp weather and transition into fall with summer still shimmering in the rearview, maybe it’s the beauty of music festivals being re-birthed again after too much uncertainty, but there’s just something magical about finding yourself here amongst this experience with strangers and friends that makes me fall in love with it over and over again.

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Avril Lavigne



Firefly is known for camping galore and when I say our camping crew of four arrived in a Ford Escape packed to the brim on a Wednesday afternoon, the day before the official festivities began… we sure did. Since camping spots are reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis, we wanted to pull in there as early as possible so we could take our time setting up our space, meeting our neighbors, and taking walks around the grounds to navigate our paths to the necessities. The North entrance to the festival where we had access to the bathrooms and water refill stations were within close proximity and the North Hub wasn’t too far beyond either which was lucky for us. The North Hub had a few food vendors such as the Gouda Boys that served us delicious mac and cheese concoctions, along with Mr. B’s Festival Needs, a convenience store with all camping essentials you could possibly need (and we totally took advantage of that!), and Capuano’s Pizza with all the cheesy pizza and iced coffee we could ask for. There were also a few boutique craft and clothing vendors where you could get a head start on shopping for outfits and accessories!

Also around this area, you could find the showers and a Spruce-Up Lounge, a bonus area (for an additional $120 for the weekend) that allows for quick, skip-the-line access to the showers’ bathhouse and a colorfully decorated space full of comfy lounge chairs and fluffy rugs where folks can utilize hair styling tools, mirrors, and the services of volunteer beauty artists. One of the girls was even kind enough to braid my hair for me and encouraged me to indulge in the pampering before the festival grounds opened up at 3p (say less!!!) For real, look how cute this is!

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Once the festival gates officially opened up, we were off! Since I was at the festival with a group of friends who had General Admission passes and we all had various and diverse music curiosities, we did part ways however we made sure to try and cross paths for a meal or link up again back at camp to exchange stories, photos/videos, and laughs over all the shenanigans we got ourselves into.

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Briston Maroney



Despite having different schedules, we all somehow managed to find ourselves at every stage for one act or another, whether it be at The Nest, the Treehouse, the Pavillion, the Backyard, or the mothership stage a.k.a the Firefly Stage.

This stacked bill of close to one hundred artists threw me through a vortex and my angsty punk inner-child reappeared, threw down into a head-banging frenzy as I lost my voice and revived a part of my soul to every melody that was blasted into my face. Every minute was *chef’s kiss*

I loved how many new wave musicians were also weaved into the mix - Gayle, Yungblud, Briston Maroney, Mod Sun, and Matt Maeson all gave their audiences what they came for, plus some, and the fans were ready. Even more exciting among these chart-topping artists were my new friends, The 502’s! If you’re not familiar yet, you better get caught up - The 502’s are a sky-high-energy band of brothers from the sunny side of Orlando, FL and LEMME TELL YOU - they are not ones to sleep on!

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The 502's

A band at this time last year I had zero knowledge, but instantly became a fan of, I’ve learned that The 502’s can (and will) swiftly steal the hearts of anyone within earshot. I was able to sit down with the guys for a quick interview before they hit the stage and the road to finish off their "Perfect Night Tour "down the East coast and they are soaring. I’m sincerely stoked for them because the last I had seen them (which was also one of the first times), I was working behind their merch table on an earlier tour just this year in a packed room of 250 people and since then, they’ve truly taken off. In just the past 8 months alone, they’ve sold out bigger and bigger rooms on several US and UK tours, released a few singles along with an EP by the name of Just Another EP, launched a new merch line, and even blasted out a few music videos filmed inside recording studios, a van by the beach and a sweet diner. To catch them on their journey and witness them winding up the almost tripled-in-size audience at Firefly was simply awe-inspiring.

Getting to witness artists like these electrified and alive in their element and connecting so intensely with their fans is something I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of.

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Firefly Vendors

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In addition to the music, festival-goers had an endless array of activities to enjoy - Drag Bingo (the first annual!), Drag Brunch, a Pride Parade, Silent Disco in The Thicket, The Bazaar with tons of cool boutique vendors selling their crafts and clothes, a hammock-hangout nestled in the trees, and of course, the Good Hub, a special place for fans to directly connect with non-profits and get involved - here’s who were hanging at the Good Hub this year:

~Planned Parenthood

~To Write Love On Her Arms

~Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health

~Camp Rehoboth Mission

~Code Purple




~Mental Edge Counseling, LLC.

~YWCA Sexual Assault Response Center

~Brandywine Valley SPCA

Mod Sun

With something for everyone and getting lost in a world of my own, there was real magic I was carrying with me throughout the four days of the Firefly Festival. Although an oncoming storm chased us out on Sunday morning, I darted my way across the festival grounds to catch anyone and everyone I could, I listened to and photographed bands live that soundtracked my youth and saw new bands I love, got to chat with friends old and new, fans, crew, security, other photographers, vendors and everyone in between. It made my time in the Woodlands so worth the trip once again. An eclectic mix of over 25,000 locals, travelers, die-hards, and newbies all alike, we were all there for one reason or another but ultimately, the weekend overflowed with love, celebrating an enchanting ten years in The Woodlands.

Until next time!🧚🏻‍♂️✨🏕

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Carina Duffy is a contributing photojournalist for APV!

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