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Firefly Music Festival officially canceled for 2024

Katie Tabeling

After a decade of shows, Firefly Music Festival will not be held in 2024. | PHOTO COURTESY OF AEG PRESENTS

DOVER — After months of speculation, AEG Presents officially announced that Firefly Music Festival has been canceled for this year at the Woodlands at Dover Motor Speedway.

First reported by the Daily State News, the Los Angeles-based promoter confirmed that the festival, which had drawn thousands to central Delaware over a decade and spurs millions in economic impact would not happen this year.

“We look forward to powering Firefly’s lights back on when the timing is right, but until then, The Woodlands will continue to host new music events for years to come,” read a statement posted to Firefly branded social media pages.  AEG Presents Chief Communications Officer Dennis Dennehy declined to comment further.

Firefly Music Festival launched in 2012 under Red Frog Events and was later bought by Coachella promoter AEG Presents six years later. At its height, Firefly reportedly attracted around 90,000 people in 2015 — that year featured headliners like Paul McCartney and The Killers.

But as the COVID-19 pandemic hit many live entertainment options in 2020, Firefly was postponed and returned the following year under restricted capacity. Organizers capped attendance at 50,000 for the four-day festival, and moved it from summer to late September.

For years, Firefly Music Festival has been a boon to central Delaware, as the sheer number of people flocking to Dover to camp out, stay in hotel rooms and enjoy the music have brought in significant cash flows to gas stations and grocery stores. Kent County Tourism and other partners do aid AEG Presents to book hotel rooms for staff and vendors.

A 2014 study reported that $68 million was spent in buying goods and services in the region, or roughly $850 per guest. There has not been an updated economic study on Firefly’s impact done since. 

“While the Delaware Tourism Office is disappointed that Firefly Music Festival will not be returning this year, we are hopeful that AEG will revive the festival in the future or consider the Woodlands for other events,” Delaware Tourism Office Director Jessica Welch said. “We have partnered with AEG and Dover Motor Speedway on Firefly Music Festival for more than a decade, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with these organizations.”

The festival was a welcome addition to central Delaware, as NASCAR had been waning in popularity in the late 2000s. Dover International Speedway spent about $1.5 million to decrease its seating capacity from 83,000 to 54,000 in 2019. At its height a decade ago, the racetrack had a capacity of about 135,000.

Dover International Speedway General Manager Mike Tatoian said that the speedway had enjoyed a decade of collaboration together on Firefly, and he remains excited about future events at the Woodlands. This year, the sole Dover NASCAR race will be held in late April. Other events in the works include Goodguys Mid-Atlantic Nationals car show in June and the new Phish festival, Mondegreen in mid-August.

“[These are] more opportunities to provide unique experiences and introduce new fans to our property,” Tatoian said. “Our team, along with local and state tourism officials, are proud of the economic impact and awareness these events continue to bring to our community.”

Welch echoed that sentiment, noting that Mondegreen will bring a whole different variety of people to Dover this fall.

“This new festival offers us the opportunity to showcase our state to a different audience while providing a significant boost to the state and local economy,” she said.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with a comment from the Delaware Tourism Office.

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