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Flying Solo At Firefly: THE FESTIVAL THAT ALMOST NEVER WAS

Firefly 2013 changed my life. Going to a music festival for me was long overdue, and I had longed for my place in the history books among the Woodstock goers, Jack Kerouac hitchhikers, and music lovers of America. Firefly gave me so much more. Firefly isn’t just a series of concerts; it is a gigantic community. My first Firefly was the most fun and magical weekend I’d ever had. My friends from those few days became family, and we were all looking forward to round two in 2014. Long story short, plans fell apart, it was one week before the festival, and not a single member of my original crew could make it.

I was devastated. I had been looking forward to my favorite event for a whole year and suddenly I wasn’t going anymore. I certainly couldn’t go alone, could I? I went on the Firefly Facebook page with the intention of selling my four-day pass, but I stumbled upon a discussion thread called “Going to Firefly Solo.”

Next thing I know, I’m calling someone I’d never met or spoken to in my life, though we shared a Firefly friend. We were able to camp together, recruit two more people, and all split the cost. My festival was back on! Firefly was still a week away and I was already encountering the friendliest, nicest people.

Fast-forward to Wednesday before the festival: move-in day. I met up with my new friend and we bonded over music while setting up tents together. Our neighbors saw that we were having a little trouble with set-up, so they helped us. When our additional campers arrived, they greeted me with my own hand-made flower wreath for my hair. Within the hour, we were trading sandwiches, beer, music suggestions, and stories. Our whole settlement met up inside the venue and then reconvened back at “home” to catch up and party together all night long.

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As I took in a few of my favorite sets myself, I talked to a lot of strangers. One person in particular happened to be at that show alone as well. We had a similar plan to see some upcoming bands, so we said we’d meet again. We did, and are still in touch despite the distance from New England to Michigan.

In The Woodlands in 2013, I felt like I had finally arrived at my true home. In 2014 I went back and felt like I was returning to my natural habitat. Now, I’m counting down the days until Summer 2015 and beyond. Enjoying life is so important, and June in Dover serves as a yearly reminder. Between volunteers, vendors, security staff, and fellow concertgoers, there were more friendly interactions and random acts of kindness than I can count. I met so many people who are still my friends, all because I decided to go to Firefly alone. Turns out that going “alone” didn’t mean I was alone at all — so whether you have a small group, a huge crew, or just yourself, you’ll find a place to call home at Firefly. ♥

 

Maria Bartolotta
Two-Time Firefly Attendee

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