Made In America Celebrates Five Years In The City Of Brotherly Love!

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(PCM) The Budweiser Made In America Festival has become a Labor Day tradition in the city of Philadelphia and this year the eclectic Jay-Z curated musical extravaganza celebrated it’s fifth anniversary in the city of brotherly love. It has been truly amazing to witness this festival continue to grow each and every year and we don’t think another festival in the country features the same level of artist diversity as Made In America.

At times the Made In America festival can truly seem like a game of spot the celebrity and this year was no different. Throughout the weekend there were many reported (and confirmed) sightings of former President Bill Clinton, Malia Obama, a slew of secret service and S.W.A.T. team officers, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Michael B. Jordan, and someone even claimed they saw Kanye West on the grounds (but we doubt it). It is a who’s who of the entertainment industry and we adore being right in the thick of it!

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Headliners Rihanna on Saturday night and Coldplay on Sunday night absolutely slayed with their performances. We seriously can’t believe it had taken Rihanna this long to coordinate schedules with Jay-Z to make an appearance at the festival, as she has been a Roc Nation artist for years. Reading several other reviews of Rihanna’s performance, we couldn’t believe that more people were taking the time to comment on her clothing and boots (which were fantastic by the way) and not her absolutely amazing showmanship. This lady knows how to commandeer an audience and was hypnotizing to watch.

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Rihanna opened with a very dark and soulful rendition of the hit “Stay” which she performed from the top of the soundboard behind the audience before sashaying her way across a lowered catwalk which carried her across the Ben Franklin Parkway directly over top of the audience. It was magical. Rihanna plowed through her hits such as “B*tch Better Have My Money”, “Umbrella”, “Live Your Life” and “Rude Boy”. Fans were hoping that we might get a glimpse of current boy toy Drake at some point during her performance, however no such luck here in Philly.

If we thought Rihanna’s performance to close out Saturday night was impressive, we had no idea what was about to hit with Coldplay’s amazing set to close out Sunday night. They were phenomenal. Vocalist Chris Martin and the rest of the band brought their A-game to their 90 minute Made In America performance.

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The stage was bright and colorful and a glorious array of fireworks went off as Coldplay kicked off their set with the trippy “Headful of Dreams”. The band then kicked things into high gear incorporating the entire audience into the show with the use of LED lighted bracelets that lit up in time with the music that was being played. It was an amazing sight to behold. Highlights of their set included “Yellow”, “Paradise”, “Clocks” and a gorgeous rendition of “Evergold” that nearly brought us to tears.

Music has always had the power to unite and looking out around the crowd we saw that unity on full display. There were no lines of separation between race, religion, political affiliation or sexuality. It was just people, coming together as one, getting lost in the music that spoke to our souls.

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The overall diversity of this year’s line-up was fantastic, while there were of course some performances we could have lived without for example, the utter boredom we endured during the Sunday evening set from FKA Twigs and not being all that impressed with Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, majority of the performances this year were spot-on. We loved rocking out with Collegrove ( 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne), Chance The Rapper,  Jamie XX, Martin Garrix, and DJ Khaled.  Artists such as Gary Clark, Jr and Dorothy are always a treat, however we definitely are hoping that 2017 features just a few more artists that lean heavier on the rock side, as this year was incredibly hip-hop heavy.

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What we love about Made In America also has a lot to do with their charitable activities as well. The Cause Village is a wonderful area to visit as it is chock full of ways in which we can all become involved to help our world become a better place. It is not something you see at a lot of other festivals, so we certainly praise Made In America for teaching individuals, especially the younger generation, about the importance of giving back.

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The audience, as in years past, was sea of red, white and blue and it was fantastic to see so many young people out having a good time and showing a ton of pride for their country. Diversity is what makes America great and yet again it was wonderful to witness so many people coming together as one in the spirit of music and the close out the summer festival season having the time of their lives.

Please visit the PopCultureMadness Facebook page to see more incredible images from the Budweiser Made In America 2016 festival!

For more information, please visit: 

Made In America Festival | http://www.madeinamericafest.com/
Live Nation | http://www.livenation.com/
Tidal | http://tidal.com/

Photography credits:
Cynthia Good
Andrew Wendowski
Kevin Mazur (Getty)

 

This post came fromMade In America Celebrates Five Years In The City Of Brotherly Love! - unSkinny Pop

Concert Review: Slipknot And Marilyn Manson Annihilate The BB&T Pavilion In Camden, NJ

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Photography credit: Ken Schuler Photography

(PCM) Talk about an amazing show! Two rock n’ roll juggernauts, Slipknot and Marilyn Manson, absolutely annihilated the BB&T Pavilion in Camden, NJ and we were loving each and every moment. Of Mice and Men were the evenings openers. It was the first time in quite awhile we have seen a near sell-out crowd at the BB&T Pavilion, but with the theatricality and showmanship of these powerhouse bands you seriously couldn’t go wrong.

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Throughout this tour Marilyn Manson has been making a lot of headlines with many claiming that he was incredibly inebriated during his performances in various cities. Stories were told about him falling off the stage, busting up sound equipment and heckling the crowd, however we felt his performance in Camden, NJ was one of the best we’ve seen from him in recent years.

He looked and sounded fantastic. Maybe he was in a good mood that evening, but either way he was sounded better than he has in years and it was refreshing. We are always a little biased, being ridiculously huge Manson fans, but we can certainly admit when an artist has not performed to their best standards. This was definitely not the case with Manson’s Camden performance as he exceeded our expectations by a landslide.

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Entering a darkened stage, Manson appeared from within a cloud of fog tossing bags of Manson dollars which were emblazoned with his face and a “666” while covering the crowd in red and blue paint powder. Manson and the band blasted through some of their major hits including “Angel with the Scabbed Wings”, “No Reflection”, “mOBSCENE” and “The Dope Show”.  We were thrilled to see that Manson’s stage theatrics were as strong as ever, as he once again brought out the pulpit and burning Bible for “Antichrist Superstar” before leaping down into the pit to perform “The Beautiful People” up close and personal with the fans.

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As the time neared for Slipknot to grace the stage, anticipation was building to an all time high within the building. Once the band entered the stage, they were firing from all cylinders from beginning to end. Talk about an intense performance!  Slipknot always gives their all to each and every performance and their show is absolutely electrifying.  Despite the fact that Slipknot vocalist Corey Taylor recently underwent spinal surgery, he showed absolutely no signs of slowing down for even a moment. The dedication to the art from the members of this band is absolutely awe-inspiring.

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The band plowed through their extensive catalog of hits putting together the perfect set list which combined both old and new material. We can’t even imagine how hard it is for a band like Slipknot to craft a set list for the tour, as they have such a plethora of material from which to pull. The band’s latest album “.5: The Gray Chapter” has been a huge success for the band and we were thrilled to hear songs such as “The Devil and I” and “The Negative One” included in the evenings performance.

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Slipknot never ceases to thrill in the live environment and their Camden performance was stellar as always!  This touring package certainly provided a ton of bang for your buck and is certainly worth checking out!

This post came fromConcert Review: Slipknot And Marilyn Manson Annihilate The BB&T Pavilion In Camden, NJ - unSkinny Pop

Mixtape Festival Makes A Sweet Return To Hersheypark Stadium!

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All photography credit:  Liana Marie Photography

(PCM)  The fourth-annual Mixtape Festival, presented by Live Nation, made a sweet return to Hershey Park Stadium with an all-star lineup of pop icons. We were beyond thrilled to attend this year’s festival and witness some truly mind-blowing performances, especially the legendary Paula Abdul’s return to the stage after nearly 25 years and of course the always phenomenal New Kids On The Block who brought their A-game to their Mixtape Festival performance once again. Mixtape alums 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men as well as festival newcomers O-Town, Ryan Cabrera and Dream rounded out Mixtape Festival’s stellar lineup of pop superstars and legacy acts.

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Dream kicked Mixtape Festival into high gear right away, making note that they had performed at Hershey Park fifteen years ago.  It was a truly touching moment when they performed the very same song they had performed at Hershey Park so many years ago and truly showcases the incredible trajectory of Dream’s overall career.  The crowd was dancing and singing along throughout their entire set!

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Next up was O-Town and let’s just say the crowd went absolutely wild. They jokingly commented that they were “taking Hershey Park back to 2005”. This group of four stellar vocalists had amazing stage presence and their “old school” stage costuming consisted of tie-dye, overalls and ripped skin tight jeans was certainly raising the heat factor inside the stadium.  O-Town even threw a few covers of recent hits into their set, such as a wonderful remix of The Weeknd’s “I Can’t Feel My Face”.  The group had amazing energy and kept the crowd both energized and engaged throughout their performance from beginning to end.

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We have to say that everyone was on their feet and at full attention when 98 Degrees made their way on stage, deliciously sporting black and white camouflage pants and all black vests. They looked smoking, taking us back to when we had our bedroom walls covered in posters of these boys from floor to ceiling. The group incorporated some amazing stage techniques including fog and strobe lighting and the background video screen featured videos of 98 Degrees from back in 1998. Such a trip down memory lane! Several times the guys came down and performed at the front of the stage and our favorite moment was hearing their rendition of “This is How We Do It”, playfully changing the lyrics to give a shout-out to Hershey Park. It is truly amazing to watch these guys stay in completely rhythm with one another during the dancing and singing, proving that they are the true masters of the boy band formation.

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98 Degrees also reminded the crowd that they had last performed in Hershey four years ago during their comeback tour. In addition to all of their hit, they also covered a slew of 90’s songs for artists such as Britney Spears, NSYNC, The Spice Girls and Blink 182. They gave a huge shout-out and thank you to all of the fans in attendance. At one point during their set, vocalist Nick Lachey got down on one knee and purposed to a fan while singing “I Do (Cherish You)”, all members were down on one knee by the end of song … it was quite an adorable moment.

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After 98 Degrees the heat was brought up another notch when Boyz II Men graced the stage looking incredibly dapper in their all white attire. Boyz II Men had a wonderful time interacting with the audience and began their set by playing various bits and pieces of all their songs.  There was a ton of dancing and they exuded a great amount of energy while on-stage. They had the audience in the palm of their hand from their very first song. One of the funniest moments of their set was when the group made an attempt at singing Lynryd Skynrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” but only made it through a verse of two before laughing and admitting they didn’t know anymore words.  They did however perform an amazing cover of the The Guess Who’s “American Woman”.

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Boyz II Men are a group that is highly involved with their fans while on-stage. They were laughing and joking around and even got down on their knees and sang directly to the fans in the front row. They did a fantastic job of taking fans back to 1991, to a time, as they said on stage “when life was good”.  For the group’s last song they even brought their own children out to the stage to dance with them to close out a fantastic set.

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We were super excited for Paula Abdul’s huge comeback to the stage. The entire stadium was blacked out and the anticipation was high as Paula gracefully took to the stage. It was incredible to witness Paula’s first time back on stage after 25 years and she was just amazing. Using a large projector screen as an interactive background, Paula’s set had it all from an amazing group of back-up dancers to some absolutely amazing lighting effects and costume changes between every set.  She looked and sounded utterly fantastic, almost as if no time had gone by at all.

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Paula was very gracious with the fans and thanked the audience for all her years of success. She was very talkative with the crowd and adorably dedicated “Forever Your Girl” to her father saying she will “always be his girl”.

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Yet again the entire stadium was blacked out prior to New Kids On The Block taking the stage to close out Mixtape Festival 2016. The group played a video for the crowd which showcased their extensive career and after the video all five members of New Kids On The Black came out on stage wearing all blue, black and white.  Talk about boundless energy!  These guys were all over the place on stage and the audience was loving every moment.  Red and white confetti and huge streamers rained down upon the crowd and at one point during the set New Kids On The Block was super imposed on a Hershey Bar wrapper on the projection screen.  Multiple times during their set the group came down into the audience to interact and sing with the fans.

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Vocalist Donnie Wahlberg even at one point fell backwards on the stage while doing hip thrusts (which in our opinion, he could do all night) and the group played a clip for the infamous 80’s film “Dirty Dancing” before launching into their song by the same name. The group was incredibly involved with the audience and New Kids On The Block have certainly proven that they still have the “Right Stuff” to put on a fantastic performance.

New Kids On the Block’s Donnie Wahlberg had the following comments about this year’s Mixtape Festival saying, “This year’s Mixtape Festival was the best yet! The enthusiasm of both the artists and the audience was at an all-time high- and the return of Paula Abdul was the ultimate cherry on top!”

Boasting the title of “biggest pop music festival in the US” and hailed by MTV as having “something for every music lover,” festival goers were once again treated to Mixtape’s lineup of performers that won’t be found anywhere else this summer. The festival has brought rising pop stars and legacy acts alike to the world famous Hershey Park Stadium in Hershey, PA for the past three years, with previous performances including a reunion of female hip hop pioneers TLC for the first time in 11 years and a show-stopping performance by super-group NKOTBSB (New Kids on The Block with Backstreet Boys).

This post came fromMixtape Festival Makes A Sweet Return To Hersheypark Stadium! - unSkinny Pop

Guns N’ Roses Make A Triumphant Return To The City Of Brotherly Love!

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(PCM) The smell of sweat, beer and raw adrenaline permeated throughout Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia when Guns N’ Roses brought their “Not In This Lifetime” tour to the city of brotherly love! Fans have been waiting years to see this incantation of Guns N’ Roses once again gracing the stage together and believe us, they are sounding better than ever! If the Linc had a roof it would have been blown off for sure!

GN’R frontman Axl Rose looked and sounded fantastic. In my opinion his vocal range got better and better as the night went on and once he found his footing there was absolutely no stopping him from beginning to end. Slash, Duff and the other hired musicians brought on for the tour effortlessly plowed through Gun N’ Roses catalog of hits. Keep in mind that Guns N’ Roses are not spring chickens any longer, so those that are nitpicking and judging every little nuance from their physical appearances to vocal prowess, need to keep in mind that these guys have been doing this for a long time, probably before some of the naysayers were even born, cut them some slack!  They have earned their title of rock royalty and rightfully so! Playing a nearly 3 hour long set is no small feat and Guns N’ Roses made it appear like a walk in the park.

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We had such an amazing time sweating it out (literally, as Philly was enduring some sweltering temps) with the tens of thousands of fans in attendance for this absolutely historic show. Those can recall that one of the last times that Guns N’ Roses performed in Philadelphia, Axl Rose did not show up for the concert and a complete riot broke out at the venue as fans were infuriated, and rightfully so. This time around Axl and the rest of Guns N’ Roses stormed onto the stage at exactly 9:45pm, which is precisely when we were told they would be on!  The show ran solidly without a hitch. Axl even slid a subtle apology in to the folks of Philadelphia by saying “Thank you all so much for coming. I would have understood if you didn’t”.  Axl does not do a whole lot of banter on stage, as he allows the music to pretty much speak for itself, however Philly truly did appreciate the gesture.

One of the most beautiful moments for me, as a fan, was a slight moments of absolute camaraderie between Axl and Slash, who were famously involved in a on-going feud in the past, when performing “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” and several other songs throughout the evening.  They were moments that can’t even be properly put into words, however just witnessing these two amazing musicians on stage together, playing off one another once again was a truly amazing sight to behold and melted my heart of the Guns N’ Roses fan for sure!

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All in all it was a fantastic show and we certainly look forward to seeing what is in-store for the next chapter in the epic Guns N’ Roses story.

 

Guns N’ Roses Set List Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA

It’s So Easy
Mr. Brownstone
Chinese Democracy
Welcome to the Jungle
Double Talkin’ Jive
Estranged
Live and Let Die (Wings)
Rocket Queen
You Could Be Mine
You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory/New Rose (Johnny Thunders/The Damned)
This I Love
Civil War
Sorry
Out Ta Get Me
Coma
Band intros into Slash solo – Speak Softly Love (Love Theme From The Godfather/Andy Williams)
Sweet Child O’ Mine
Better
Jam (“Wish You Were Here” Pink Floyd/Layla (Derek and The Dominos)
November Rain
Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door (Bob Dylan)
Nightrain

Encore:
Jam into Don’t Cry
The Seeker (The Who)
Paradise City
Read more at http://www.phillymag.com/ticket/2016/07/15/guns-n-roses-review-2016-tour/#mvHuSUcjqLX32pbM.99

This post came fromGuns N’ Roses Make A Triumphant Return To The City Of Brotherly Love! - unSkinny Pop

Dirty Heads Gear Up For New Album Release! Exclusive Interview With Drummer Jon Olazabal And Live Review!

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Photography credit: Tom Newforge

(PCM) Dirty Heads is a name that is popping up everywhere on the music scene these days and they are busy gearing up for the release of their fifth self-titled album which will drop on July 15. We were absolutely thrilled to nab an early listen to the upcoming album and we can say with certainly that fans are sure to be in for a treat.

Dirty Heads are a band that has the uncanny ability to flawlessly blend together a multitude of both musical style and genre to create a unique sound that is very much their own. In our humble opinion we feel that the new self-titled album showcases some of Dirty Head’s best work to date and is sure to appeal to both longtime fans and quite a few new ones as well!

We had a chance to catch up with Dirty Heads drummer Jon Olazabel to of course discuss the new album, but also share some details about upcoming touring plans and more. When asked what fans should be expecting for the new album Jon told us “You should be expecting some of our greatest work ever done”.  We couldn’t agree more.

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Digging a little deeper we asked Jon to chat with us about what the mindset was like in the recording studio when the band was putting together the album. He replied ” For this album, as far as the studio goes, we decided that instead of going out of town or isolating ourselves from everything as we have done in the past,  for this one we decided to stay close to home, here in a studio in L.A..  It was awesome to be able to record for a few days and then if you weren’t needed you could actually go home and spend some time with the family. We worked with a few different producers and feel that we really came out with some good stuff that we are stoked on.”

Sometimes the area which a band records can have an influence on the overall sound or theme of a record. Jon commented “I don’t feel that area really influences our sound too much, as all of influence mostly comes from experiences and such that occurred before we get into the studio. This time around the recording process was definitely a very easy, light-hearted and fun studio experience for us and I’m sure that somehow translated into the music.”

When speaking about the band’s evolution to this point in the career, Jon tells us “We have definitely learned a lot over the years with all the different albums we’ve done and with the last one we kind of experimented with a new sound. It was a bit more alternative and we had some different ideas that we wanted to try and kind of get out of our system. We thought it came out great and now with this record we are going back a little bit more towards our original sound and older styles we did in the beginning. It’s awesome.”

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We feel that it is wonderful that Dirty Heads can not be boxed into any particular genre and that they very much have the ability to do their own thing. Jon says “It’s funny because we never really made a conscious effort to do that, but I guess that’s just the music that we’ve always been influenced by and it came out that way. Somehow we have managed to blend different styles and genres and we are able to pull it off”.

We were recently able to catch Dirty Head’s out on the road with both Bleeker and Sublime w/ Rome and there is such an amazing generational appeal to their music. You see fans of every age group and demographic imaginable all rocking out and having the time of their lives. Jon comments “That is one of our favorite things. It is one of the things that we are most proud of and it’s crazy to see. We do a lot of meet and greets before our shows and we’ll have everyone from little kids all the way up to grandparents coming through that love the music and somehow find a similar connection through it.  It’s great for us.”

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When speaking about the changes in the music industry and the fact that the band’s music actually says something to listeners, we asked Jon if there was anything he would change. He replied “We just try to stick to our guns and do what we do because we know that we believe in our music and have faith in what we do. Things are always going to change around us, but if we just keep our head down and keep working and stick to our original plan, it’s all gonna work. It’s also super hard to keep up with everything that’s going on out there.”

It can be hard for artist’s to earn a solid stream of revenue these days especially when it comes to streaming and illegal downloading. Jon adds “It is definitely a little frustrating, but I guess that is just the way that things go now. ”

Jon reveals that music first began speaking to him when he was a very young child. He says “In probably the fifth or sixth grade I started messing around with drums and I had an older sister that was big into music and she kind of dragged me along for the ride.  She exposed me to a lot of cool stuff early on and it stuck with me and somehow I link up with these guys in the band and it worked out. ”

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Dirty Heads are certainly true road warriors, playing a ton of live dates each year. Speaking about upcoming touring plans, Jon reveals, “We are going to be doing a lot of touring this year. We start in a few days in Florida out with Sublime w/ Rome and that tour runs through August and we are pretty much just going to be going constantly till the end of the year.  We are trying to support this record and get in as many shows as possible.”

Every fan is going to have a different favorite song, so we were curious if Jon was ever surprised by which ones fans tend to gravitate towards. He says “It’s so funny because we think we know what we’re talking about thinking this particular song will be the best single and we’re always surprised by what people gravitate towards. It’s impossible for us to know.”

In the day and age of the internet there is often times a bunch of misinformation floating around out there about certain bands. Jon comments ” I feel like the guys are pretty clear with their lyrics and they kind of wear everything on their sleeve. They are upfront about who they are and who we are and we try to be pretty honest about that. We don’t really hide anything so hopefully people get it.”

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Jon reveals that the Dirty Head’s creative process is a collaborative one saying ” Duddy and Jared, usually have all the starts to the songs and then we work together holed up in a room and start beating on the stuff to try to figure out how to put the song together.  We definitely work together in that way.”

For more information about Dirty Heads, please visit:

http://www.dirtyheads.com/tour

 

This post came fromDirty Heads Gear Up For New Album Release! Exclusive Interview With Drummer Jon Olazabal And Live Review! - unSkinny Pop

Firefly Music Festival Celebrates Five Years!

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(PCM) Firefly Music Festival is celebrating their fifth year anniversary and what a glorious five years it has been!  We have been attending Firefly since its’ inaugural year and it has been amazing to witness the ways in which it continues to grow and expand becoming one of the staples of the summer music festival circuit.

Like a beacon from above, the sun was shining bright to kick-off the weekend and Thursday’s mild rain showers did nothing to dampen the spirits of the over 90,000 fans in attendance for this year’s incredible festival. The crew at both RedFrog and Goldenvoice, who work tirelessly for month to put Firefly together, have truly outdone themselves this year and without a doubt the festival is looking better than ever before!

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Five years marks a huge celebration for Firefly Music Festival and just walking around the grounds taking notice of all the new improvements and added features was breathtaking. There were several fantastic art installations, photo op areas, new (and improved) pathways to cross between stages and most importantly a new drainage system in place to deal with an inclement weather that could have (and thankfully didn’t) arise.

The areas surrounding both the Treehouse Stage and the CoffeeHouse stages have become permanent fixtures on the grounds and the addition of the elevated viewing platform, with super swanky cabanas, in the VIP area  are fantastic additions to the ever expanding festival experience.

2016 also marks the first time that Firefly Music Festival was live streaming thanks to a partnership between Red Frog Events, Yahoo and Toyota. The festival had previously worked with AXS TV in the past for some live streaming, but it is much more seamless this year, so folks at home that couldn’t make it out can see exactly how much fun they are missing.

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During the kick-off press conference for Firefly, Delaware Tourism Director Linda Parkowski commented that Delaware is truly embracing Firefly 2016 and it has been absolutely wonderful to witness so many individuals having a great time in Delaware, many of whom may be visiting for the very first time.

Parkowski went on to say that the age demographic for tourism in Delaware has expanded to ages 25-55 and millennials are now visiting Delaware thanks of course to Firefly and it’s impact.  Governor Jack Markell was also on hand for the press conference and was throughly enjoying spending his weekend at Firefly Music Festival. He was thrilled with all the “great food vendors, amenities, and overall hospitality from the people of Delaware” and added that Firefly will continue to “define Delaware for years to come”.

There were so many performance highlights throughout the four-day festival that we almost don’t know where to begin. While many felt that this year’s line-up was a bit weak compared to some of the heavy hitting headliners from years past such as Paul McCartney, Foo Fighters and Tom Petty, we actually think that the 2016 line-up brought more of an eclectic group of artists together and made for quite an interesting smorgasbord of performances to catch throughout the day.

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Stealing the show this year was undoubtedly, Florence & The Machine, A$AP Rocky and Blink 182. Seeing Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker perform on the festivals Treehouse Stage, snuggled deeply in the woods was an extra special treat. We also thoroughly enjoyed sets from Deadmau5, Tame Imapala, Ludacris (who made up for his missed performance Friday night, but waking us up bright and early on Sunday), Fitz and The Tantrums, Flogging Molly, Saint Motel, The Struts, Gallant, Major Lazer and M83 to name just a few.

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We absolutely can’t wait to see what Firefly 2017 will have in-store, as they are always a festival full of good times and surprises! Great job!

 

This post came fromFirefly Music Festival Celebrates Five Years! - unSkinny Pop

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