Home Lady Gaga Fantasy Firefly '18: Fans choose Eminem, Fleetwood Mac
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Fantasy Firefly '18: Fans choose Eminem, Fleetwood Mac

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Firefly Questions: Who do you want to see headline Firefly 2018? Ryan Cormier and Daniel Sato/The News Journal

Can we do it again?

After readers wrote to The News Journal last year with their most-wanted acts for Firefly Music Festival — with Muse topping the list — fans got a surprise when the English rockers were named a headliner two months later.

This time around for our annual Fantasy Firefly poll, nearly 130 fans responded to our call for the top three acts they’d want to see this summer in The Woodlands near Dover International Speedway.

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And for the first time, we have a tie. (See the breakdown below.) 

While the lineup is not expected to be released until later this winter, that doesn’t mean that Firefly die-hards can’t have a little fun in the meantime, fantasizing about which of their musical heroes will come to little ol’ Delaware June 15-18.

The pressure is on for Firefly to deliver this year, perhaps more than others.

Last year’s sixth annual fest boasted five headliners for the first time –The Weeknd, Muse, Twenty One Pilots, Chance the Rapper and Bob Dylan — but attendance was noticeably down. (Festival officials dutifully reported that the festival had one again drawn 90,000 fans, but multiple on-site vendors put the number closer to 60,000.)

It was the first year that Firefly re-launched itself as a “fan-curated festival,” allowing fans to vote online for everything from acts and food.

In the past, the festival’s biggest moments have come from its biggest names, such as Paul McCartney’s dazzling headlining set in 2015 and the Foo Fighters’ thunderous romp on the main stage the year prior.

While we await official word on this year’s roster, let’s dig into who fans want to see and speculate on whether it will happen.

Fleetwood Mac (25 votes): Wait. What? It’s 2017, not 1977. Why is Fleetwood Mac tied atop the list this year? Because Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood and John and Christine McVie are preparing to re-emerge in 2018, already announcing that they will tour. Nostalgia will be running high, especially since the act is re-issuing its self-titled 1975 album next month, which boasts hits such as “Landslide” and “Rhiannon.” Plus, Nicks is having a renaissance of her own, especially with the younger set thanks to appearances on FX’s “American Horror Story” and NBC’s “The Voice” in recent years.   Could the act be eyeing big money festival dates for the summer? Absolutely. Would young and old alike stream to the festival to see them? No doubt.

Eminem (25 votes): Speaking of a renaissance, Eminem has also re-emerged, planning to release “Revival” on Dec. 15 — his first new album in four years. Even though the album isn’t out yet, Marshall Mathers has already put his mark on 2017, most notably with his ferocious freestyle attacking President Trump on the BET Hip Hop Awards in October. “And any fan of mine who’s a supporter of his/I’m drawing in the sand a line, you’re either for or against,” he seethed. It’s also been four years since Eminem launched a full-scale tour, so odds are he’ll be on the road this summer. 

Pearl Jam (18 votes): Each year, Pearl Jam either wins (2015) or places in our Fantasy Firefly poll. After watching the Foo Fighters bring ’90s rock (and Grotto Pizza shout-outs) to Dover, it’s easy to visualize Eddie Vedder & Co. delivering as epic a sweat-filled set as the Foos. But not this year. PJ is in Europe that weekend playing the Pinkpop Festival in the Netherlands and London’s 02 Arena.

Coldplay (11 votes): Will Chris Martin come to Delaware to perform for the second time in recent years? Probably not. Martin, who performed at Beau Biden’s funeral service at Wilmington’s St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in 2015, wrapped up a massive 122-show world tour last month — a tour that started back in March 2016. With no new album and much-needed rest time ahead, don’t expect to feel a rush of blood to the head in Dover this summer. Plus, they don’t need the money. Their tour just grossed $523 million according to promoter Live Nation, making it the third-highest grossing tour of all time behind U2’s $736 million 360 tour (2009-2011) and The Rolling Stones’ $558 million A Bigger Bang tour (2005-2007).

Arcade Fire (9 votes): Another perennial Firefly fan favorite, the rollicking Canadian six-piece are known for their exciting leave-it-all-on-the-stage live shows — something they have never brought to Firefly. Win Butler’s band has been touring since June behind the band’s (critically panned) album “Everything Now,” which was released in July. The indie rockers have a European tour on the books through the end of April and no other dates listed, so it’s a possibility.

U2 (8 votes): When U2 announced its tour behind the just-released “Songs of Experience,” the Irish rock band’s 14th studio album, the rumors started to spread immediately. Even though Bono and the boys have shows booked for Firefly weekend (Philadelphia on Thursday and Washington, D.C,. on Sunday), fans were buzzing that they might squeeze a Delaware drop-in. Don’t count on it. The band would have to perform shows on back-to-back nights, which they are only doing on this tour a few times and only when they are in the same venue for multiple shows. 

Arctic Monkeys (8 votes): It’s been more than three years since baby-faced frontman Alex Turner strode on stage with his slicked back hair and delivered one of the weekend’s best sets, kicking it off with the swagger-filled single “Do I Wanna Know.” It obviously left a mark with fans who want the English rockers back. With no new album since that sunny summer day in 2014 and no tour dates listed, it doesn’t look promising for a redux in 2018.

The Rolling Stones (7 votes): If you think Baby Boomers would storm the Firefly gates to see Fleetwood Mac, just imagine if the Stones brought their seemingly ageless stage show to Delaware for the first time ever? Fresh from this fall’s quick 13-show European tour, they have no other tour dates on the docket. And since 2016’s “Blue & Lonesome” was their first studio album in 11 years, we’re not betting on them having a new batch of songs to push by this summer.

Lady Gaga (7 votes): As the #MeToo movement grows, Lady Gaga would be an especially timely booking. After all, she was the one who sang “Til It Happens to You” at the 2016 Academy Awards accompanied on-stage by 50 sexual assault victims. (Vice President Joe Biden introduced her.) With Florence + the Machine as the festival’s *only* female-fronted headliner out of the 22 that have rocked Firefly since 2012, Firefly is in desperate need of some one-stage girl power. After her halftime Super Bowl performance earlier this year, Gaga waited until the summer to launch her North American tour, which wraps up in Utah next week. With Lady Gaga starring in Bradley Coopers’ directorial debut (“A Star is Born”) in May, she’ll most likely be busily doing press for the film instead of wiggling in Dover.

Contact Ryan Cormier of The News Journal at [email protected] or (302) 324-2863. Follow him on Facebook (@ryancormier), Twitter (@ryancormier) and Instagram (@ryancormier).

FANTASY FIREFLY ’18 RESULTS

25 — Fleetwood Mac, Eminem 

18 — Pearl Jam

11 — Coldplay

9 — Arcade Fire

8 — U2, Arctic Monkeys

7 — Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga

6 — Foo Fighters, Bruno Mars, Lana Del Rey, Panic at the Disco!

FIREFLY MUSIC FESTIVAL TICKETS

The festival’s discounted $199 pre-sale tickets sold out months ago. There are currently no festival passes for sale. However, passes usually go on sale around the same time as the festival announces its line-up, which is expected later this winter.

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