Delaware’s Firefly Music Festival has just been acquired by the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), the owners of music festivals such as Coachella and Electric Forest. Red Frog Events, who founded the festival back in 2012, sold the festival to AEG after four years of partnership with the entertain mogul, The Brooklyn Vegan reports.
The festival also announced that they will be holding the event from June 20 to June 22, to accommodate for Bonnaroo 2019, which will take place the week before. This 2019 event will be the first time that the festival will not be held on Father’s Day weekend.
According to Delaware Online, the festival’s organizers have stated that “fans will not see many radical changes,”despite the acquisition. In addition, AEG’s chief operating officer of festivals Melissa Ormond has stated that they have retained much of Red Frog’s staff for the event. “We feel like it’s run really well for the last several years and we just want to continue that with small improvements,” Ormond explained.
Ormond also told Delaware Online that the “timing was right for both of us,” regarding the acquisition. Discussions regarding Red Frog possibly selling the festival sale occurred last winter, with the decision being finalized once AEG bought out its remaining shares.
Firefly will not be run by Goldenvoice, who operates several music festivals around Southern California including Coachella and FYF, but by AEG Presents.
“Coachella is a unique situation, in a desert. You can go on and on about why its unique, but similarly, Firefly is unique,” Ormond explained to Delaware Online. “In the Northeast, in The Woodlands with a fantastic environment and camping. Many of the festivals that we own are not camping festivals. We wouldn’t look to replicate any of our festivals anywhere across the U.S.”
AEG’s acquisition of the Firefly Music Festival is the latest of many acquisitions by the sporting and music event presenter. In February of 2018, Billboard reported that AEG bought out FYF founder Sean Carlson’s shares of the music festival after allegations of sexual misconduct.
While FYF had been partnered with AEG since 2011, Carlson stated that the fest remained an independent company. During its most recent iteration in 2017, the festival had changed from a two-day event, which typically occurred toward the end of August or early September to a three-day event in July.
Once the festival was entirely acquired by Goldenvoice, the AEG subsidiary, the event was planned to be scaled back to a two-day event in July. However, due to poor ticket sales the planned FYF Fest was cancelled.
According to Mikael Wood, a pop music critic for the LA Times, the low ticket sales were likely attributed to the acts that were booked for the performance. “At a moment of festival over-saturation, none of those bookings did anything to help establish FYF as a must-see event, which is how the show was rightly perceived in 2017,” Wood explained.
Many of the acts, such as Kali Uchis and St.Vincent had already performed at Coachella this year, while other large acts such as Janet Jackson and The XX, were scheduled to perform at Outside Lands in San Francisco, CA a month later.
Despite concerns, one of Firefly’s founder Stephanie Mezzano, who had previously worked with Red Frog and is now with AEG Presents, is hopeful for the future. “We really want our eighth year of Firefly to feel fresh,” Mezzano told Delaware Online. “I hope that when people see the year of work we went into planning, they see changes. Music festivals are ever-changing and we need to evolve and continue to innovate if we want to stay at the top.”