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October 28, 2022

Firefly Music Festival canceled for next year, but will return to Delaware in 2024

The annual four-day event was most recently held in September, when concertgoers celebrated its 10th anniversary

Music Festivals
Firefly Music Festival Cancelled 2023 Firefly Music Festival/Facebook

The 2023 Firefly Music Festival, set to take place in The Woodlands at Dover Motor Speedway next year, has been cancelled, organizers said on Thursday. Its creators will take a brief hiatus before planning a return to Delaware in 2024. Firefly celebrated its 10th anniversary during its most recent festival in September, with headliners including Halsey and My Chemical Romance.

The Firefly Music Festival has been hosting live music acts and other special events at The Woodlands of Dover Motor Speedway for 10 years. But event organizers said Thursday that they are canceling next year's event, with plans to return in 2024. 

Af the most recent festival, held Sept. 22-25, Halsey, Dua Lipa, Green Day and My Chemical Romance served as headliners. 

The first Firefly Music Festival was held in Delaware in 2012, with The Killers, Jack White and The Black Keys performing as headliners. Over the last 10 years, Firefly lineups have included Tom Petty, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Outkast, Foo Fighters, Blink 182, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, The Weeknd, Lizzo and Billie Eilish. 

"We'll be cherishing these moments until we reunite," organizers tweeted Thursday. "After 10 magical years of Firefly in the The Woodlands, we've decided to take a year to recharge our lights. We will see you in 2024." 

Organizers did not immediately respond to PhillyVoice's request for comment regarding the hiatus, though the festival's social media channels and website have been updated to inform fans about the decision. They included a video featuring highlights from previous festivals. 

Firefly Music Festival also was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it returned for a slightly altered show in 2021, with an estimated 50,000 people in attendance. At its height, more than 90,000 people attended the event. 

"Across 10 events and 11 years, the Firefly Music Festival has given the mid-Atlantic region countless musical memories," organizers at the Dover Motor Speedway told Delaware Online. "Dover Motor Speedway has been proud to co-host Firefly since its inception and we look forward to its return to The Woodlands in 2024." 

Hundreds of fans took to social media Thursday to share their favorite memories of the festival, some expressing sadness and frustration at the loss of one of their favorite summer events. 

A few expressed interest in the four-day festival moving back to the summer. The event has been held in September since the beginning of the pandemic, but it is unclear what motivated organizers to cancel the festival.

On the Firefly Music Festival's fan page on Facebook, which includes more than 22,000 members, fans speculated about the reasons for the hiatus and shared their thoughts about the festival's future.

"We all want to be back at The Woodlands making memories, listening to our favs, and just spending time with the ones we love," wrote Michael Greco, an admin of the Facebook group from Phoenixville, Chester County. "It's heartbreaking to have to take a year off from that, but there's a saying, 'temporary inconvenience, permanent improvement.' We have weathered the storm as a community before and we will again." 

After initial success with Firefly, events production company Red Frog teamed up with Goldenvoice — an arm of Anschuntz Entertainment Group — that organizes the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in 2014 to expand the festival and add higher-profile musicians to its lineup. AEG Entertainment later bought out Red Frog in 2018, and has run the festival each year since then.