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FESTIVAL COVERAGE: Sweltering Saturday Line-Up Delivers Thrills at Firefly Music Festival

As a seasoned festival-goer it felt odd to purchase a single day pass to Firefly Music Festival. Typically I spend the entire weekend at any festival I attend, but my budget this summer (plus my busy work schedule) only allowed for a single day at Firefly. Luckily, the day I chose to attend Firefly was day three (Saturday, June 17th) of the festival, and the hugest headliners were playing that evening on Firefly Stage.Performers such as Capital Cities, Bob Dylan and The Weeknd lit up the night on Saturday with electric (and acoustic in Dylan's case) performances that fans and festival-goers will never forget. As I arrived at Firefly on Saturday the energy was high and only building throughout the afternoon as the hot sun settled lower into the sky. Festival-goers were decked out in glitter and body paint as everyone stood around for T-Pain's midday performance on Firefly Stage. T-Pain came onstage to a roaring crowd and performed his top radio hits such as "Buy You a Drank", and "I'm in Love with a Stripper". The party had only just begun, though. As more and more bands filled up the Backyard, Lawn and Firefly stages, attendees strolled about The Woodlands and explored Firefly's many unique features and attractions. Firefly boasts a Treehouse, a silent-disco "thicket", a hammock "nook", a coffeehouse, and so much more. Vendors and designers pack the campgrounds and the festival grounds alike each year, selling their goods and services to hot and hungry festival-goers seeking some relief from nature. As I explored the Firefly festival grounds, I found a jellyfish forest complete with LED lamps hanging from trees (all in the shape of jellyfish, of course) and an artist working on a giant, spray-painted mural. Firefly is clearly just as much of a cultural experience as it is a musical one. As the evening began to set in, I ran over to "The Pavilion", Firefly's partially enclosed EDM venue, to see a performance by DJ Jazzy Jeff. Jazzy Jeff is best known for his multiple appearances on Will Smith's show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and of course Jazzy Jeff spun The Fresh Prince theme song as fans danced along. Jazzy Jeff also spun some tunes from artists such as Kendrick Lamar to Nirvana, heavily playing up the nostalgia factor during his set. After DJ Jazzy Jeff wrapped up his set, Capital Cities played on Firefly Stage just across the way. Capital Cities boasted live trumpet jam sessions and some lovely vocals, along with an awesome closing performance of their hit song "Safe and Sound". D.C. rapper Wale played next on Backyard Stage, while EDM favorite Slushi took over the Pavillion until roughly 8 PM. As the sun began to set, the crowd arrived in droves to see living legend Bob Dylan. I, myself, was one of the many coming in droves to Firefly Stage in order to see my hero in person. Bob Dylan came out on stage and began his set rather abruptly, which surprised many fans. Dylan and his band jammed for an hour straight, playing none of his more popular songs but incessantly rocking out to the blues which made his set all the more impressive. Surprisingly enough, fellow singer/songwriter Kesha was spotted in the crowd watching Bob Dylan's set shortly before her own performance began on Lawn Stage (and I may or may not have been fifteen feet away from Kesha and her bodyguard during Dylan's set). As Dylan abruptly walked off stage just as he had entered, fans ran over to see Kesha's performance (during which she confessed that, yes, she had in fact just been in the crowd during Bob Dylan's performance). Kesha played her old songs and a few covers, mentioning to fans that her current lawsuit against Dr. Luke and Sony Records prevents her from playing or recording any new music until her contract term ends. Kesha gave a bold, inspiring speech to her fans about the struggle of ownership and hard times during her fight against Dr. Luke, and reassured fans that no one can ever own them nor take the key to their happiness. Kesha was bold, brave, and sounded better than ever as she played on through the adversity surrounding her life and her career at the moment. As Kesha finished a surprisingly emotional set, The Weeknd was preparing to make his debut on Firefly Stage. The Weeknd came on stage to the hyped-up beat of his chart-topping hit "Starboy", and sang many of his hit songs amidst a whirlwind of dancing fans, pyrotechnics (complete with REAL FIRE and FIREWORKS), and an impressive band of musicians in tow. The Weeknd is a showman, that's for sure, and as he closed his set with "The Hills" flames came up from the stage and fireworks shot off in the background. Fans stopped dancing for a moment and stood in awe of the spectacle of lights before them. The Weeknd took a bow before leaving the stage, and I heard fans throughout the crowd remarking things such as "man, that was incredible". The final (and perhaps most anticipated) performance of the night was Chance the Rapper, who closed out Saturday night on the Backyard Stage. The Grammy award winning performer Chance the Rapped played his hit songs "Juke Jam" and "No Problem", as well as many other tracks from his "Coloring Book" album. Needless to say, Chance's set was an amazing way to end Saturday night. Although I had to head home after Chance the Rapper's set, I was overjoyed to have experienced a day at Firefly Music Festival. Saturday was the day to attend, for sure, and I cannot wait to attend all four days of the mega-festival next summer.

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