Opinion: My near death experience at Firefly Music Festival

People gather at Firefly Music Festival in front of a Firefly sign.
People gather at Firefly Music Festival in front of a Firefly sign.

Sweltering sunshine and thousands of people roamed around Dover, Delaware for Firefly Music Festival.  The temperature was probably around 191.6 degrees if you include the body temperature of a human and the temperature of the surrounding air.  Concerned about dehydration, I made sure I had the right amount of water in my body. This was what I dealt with for the next four days.

The heat was the least of my issues once inside the festival. Everyone was dressed as appropriately as we should all dress for the incalescence of the sun.  Having arrived on Thursday, the first day of the festival, not many bands performed and so there was not much to see except the festival grounds. Notable performances included Kodaline, Local Natives and Amos Lee.

Friday, my group of friends and I were finally well rested and ready for the day. We went to see the performance of the electro-pop Ghost Beach. They threw potted plants out into the audience to have the trees in those plants crowd-surf. My one friend wanted to see Sky Ferreira, but unfortunately she didn’t perform.

Up next was Chance the Rapper, and the audience waiting for him was probably the most diverse group of people at the festival. Once he started rapping, everyone chimed in simultaneously. At that point, everyone connected to him singing and rapping. I’d continue experiencing this connectable phenomenon throughout the rest of the festival. Every crowd was different with each performance. There was Band of Horses, and later in the evening, White Denim. My friend and I stood at the front for White Denim and tried to dance as goofy as possible, in turn making the guitarist smile a little.

Merrill Garbus, vocalist of Tune-Yards, performed at Firefly.
Merrill Garbus, vocalist of Tune-Yards, performed at Firefly.

Saturday, I stood at the front of one stage for Lucius, Kaiser Chiefs, Tune-Yards and Beck.  They were all excellent. Tune-Yards stood out the most because of their modesty on stage. They were thankful for the audience there, and they energized the audience with their dancing. Everyone danced with them.  This was a new connection between the performers and the audience I hadn’t witnessed previously.

A sea of many expressions was waiting for the next performance
A sea of many expressions was waiting for the next performance

Sunday, I almost died. Once again, standing at the second-to-front of the stage for about eight hours, red like a freshly picked hang nail (sunburnt), I enjoyed Weezer, Washed Out, Broken Bells and Childish Gambino. The festival had almost come to a close, with Childish Gambino as my last show. The audience grew larger. After the Broken Bells show, I couldn’t lift up my arms or move. Once Gambino jumped out onto stage, everyone propelled forward. Everyone was jumping and so was I. Not voluntarily, my feet were above the ground. I stuck to everyone’s bodies. Two security guards had to pull me out. One commented, “Wow, you’re really stuck!” That’s what you get for being a toothpick at a Childish Gambino stand-up concert. It was by far the most forceful crowd I had ever been a part of, but I’d definitely go do it again.

Drew LaFasto is a junior at UT. She is the social media coordinator for TNJN.

Edited by Jessica Carr

Opinion: Experiences and lessons from studying abroad

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Jessica Carr is the managing editor at TNJN. She aspires to be the editor of a food magazine one day.

I have to admit I never really saw myself studying abroad.

I remember sitting at freshman orientation during the studying abroad presentation and thinking to myself there is no way I can afford this. The University of Tennessee Study Abroad Office made it sound so easy to just travel to another country.

In retrospect it was a long process, but looking back I can see it was worth it.

It started with acquiring the funds.

After getting a journalism scholarship, the Hope summer scholarship and working long hours at a movie theater, I was finally able to afford my trip to Italy.

The next step involved some interesting logistics.

After several studying abroad orientations and hearing my mom recite to me the plot of the movie: “Taken,” and learning where the U.S. Embassy was, I was finally ready to get on the plane to Urbino, Italy.

I never thought it could happen, but I firmly believe that in life everything happens for a reason.

All in all, studying there for 5 weeks was an amazing experience.

That’s not to say that there weren’t challenges along the way. I was knee deep in culture shock for at least the first week, and I would’ve given anything for my room to have air conditioning.

However, looking back now, those were all just petty things. They feel like minor bumps in the road when you consider how amazing it was to stand in front of the statue of “David” by Michelangelo or to feel the breeze in your hair while you stand inside the Colosseum.

I’ll never forget the best spaghetti I ever ate in Italy and the sweet Italian lady that made it for me.

So, what did I learn from studying abroad in Italy?

I learned that everything good comes with some sort of challenge.

You just can’t let those challenges ruin the amazing experiences you are going to have. I’ll never get a first time in Italy again, but I’ll always have my little comforts and my home in America.

I met the coolest UT students, ate delicious pizza and walked where Romans did thousands of years ago.

So don’t worry about the money. Apply for scholarships and plan on saving for at least six months. It’s all worth it, and in the end when you’re standing in your dream destination, you’ll know that everything you did to get there made you a stronger person.

Edited Maggie Jones