Pssssssh If you missed day one of my Firefly Music Festival 2015 recap, catch up here.
I first came to Firefly in 2013. That year, Paul McCartney headlined the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, a similar festival held annually in Manchester, Tennessee.
At Firefly that year, I met a young woman who had attended Bonnaroo a few weeks earlier. She told me how she held a spot in the front row for 12 hours so that she could see Paul McCartney up close and personal. “It was the most amazing experience of my life,” she told me.
She was so giddy with excitement that you could tell she wasn’t lying. But as she told me this story I thought to myself, “There is no way in hell I would ever wait 12 hours in the hot sun to see anyone – especially an aging rocker.”
Boy was I wrong because at Firefly 2015 I did almost exactly that. I held a spot for 10 hours so that I could see McCartney up close and personal when he headlined the festival on Friday.
It seems that when I am presented with the opportunity to see a member of The Beatles – the most influential band of all time – I want to see him up close and personal too.
So I waited. I waited and waited and waited all day long to see Paul McCartney. When he finally entered the stage at precisely 10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time that evening, I was so close that I could see all the wrinkles on his 73-year-old face (there really weren’t that many, he must have had a facelift).
It was the most amazing night of my life.
But let me backup a bit.
Earlier that day, my campmates Rachel S., Chelsea and Kailyn joined me at a Firefly fan meetup shortly after the festival gates opened at noon.
This was an event held by people who participate in a Firefly fan Facebook group – a community on Facebook where people talk about all things related to Firefly. It’s a very active group of more than 7,000 people.
The meetup was a chance for people to get to know each other in real life at Firefly.
I have to say, it’s pretty incredible what you can do with the Internet. Before finding this group, I didn’t know many people who liked the same kind of music as me. I never had anyone to get into an intense discussion with about the new Mumford & Sons album and my life was really lacking. That’s what I can do with these folks and I love it!
Anyway, the meetup was just like any gathering of friends, really. People were catching up and chatting about what was to come that day. A girl slapped me with a hand full of glitter.
Afterwards, my campmates and I went to the merchandise table to pick up some goodies. They had special Paul McCartney at Firefly t-shirts for about $25. I bought one because I needed it.
The merch table was located right next to the main stage – where Paul McCartney would play later that evening.
The band Clean Bandit (you know their song “Rather Be”) had just finished their set on the main stage and my campmates and I both marveled at how empty the place was.
There was nobody there! If we wanted to, we could definitely snag a spot very close to the stage to see McCartney. The only thing was, we’d have to wait there all day long to hold the spot and we wouldn’t be able to see any other artists that day beside those playing on the main stage.
We thought about it for about 30 seconds and then we decided to do it.
“I am never going to see Paul McCartney again,” I thought. I wanted to be close to the stage when I saw him.
We actually really lucked out because not only did we get spots roughly 20 feet from the stage, but we also landed spots on a railing that was placed in the center of the crowd to make an aisle. This meant we could *LEAN* on the rail and *REST* throughout the day. Very important when it’s 95 degrees and sunny out.
So not only did we have prime spots for Paul McCartney, but we also had good spots for Manchester Orchestra, Morrissey and Cage The Elephant.
Manchester Orchestra was OK, just not my kind of music. Morrissey was terrible. There were bloody animals shown during his set. Read more about it on Billboard here. I don’t feel like wasting any more words on him.
Cage The Elephant, however, was AmAzInG. Absolutely, hands down, the best moment of the festival for me. I heard they were good live, but WOW. I had no idea.
The lead singer of Cage, Matt Shultz, gave one of the most energetic performances I’ve ever seen. He danced like Mick Jagger, ripped off his shirt and jumped into the crowd.
A few times he ran down the center aisle – where I happened to be standing on the rail with my friends – and stopped right in front of me and sang into my face.
For every year that I have attended Firefly, there has been one band whose performance was so powerful that I felt like it was a religious experience. At Firefly 2013 it was Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, at Firefly 2014 it was Grouplove and at Firefly 2015 it was Cage The Elephant.
I didn’t think the day could get any better, but it did when Paul McCartney took the stage. I sang “Band on The Run,” “Let It Be” “Hey Jude” and more with him and 90,000 people. A young woman with a tattoo of McCartney’s face on her body got to meet him.
What more can I say? It was incredible.
Next week: On day three of Firefly, I fall in love with a burgeoning Australian pop star and narrowly survive a major rainstorm.