See Firefly Festival 2021 coverage here.
Firefly Festival 2021’s first full day brought an eclectic lineup with headliners The Killers, Wiz Khalifa, and Cage The Elephant leading a jam-packed day highlighted by indie and electronic acts like Aluna, Surf Mesa, Peach Pit, Sylvan Esso, Rezz, and Chris Lake. See Friday highlights in our Firefly 2021 Day 2 Recap:
KennyHoopla was on fire during his performance on the Backyard stage. Throughout the pandemic, his breakthrough song “how will i rest in peace if a highway buries me? /” remained on repeat, and to finally hear it live was a great start to the day. Gaining a pivotal co-sign from Travis Barker last year, Kenny recently shared an 8-track collaboration with Barker featuring the hit tracks “estella//,” “hollywood sucks/” and others that made his Firefly set a must-see on Friday.
Appearing for her first-ever solo DJ set was Aluna. Since kick-starting her solo endeavor last year, the AlunaGeorge songstress has utilized her platform to uplift fellow BIPOC creatives, as seen by her expansive debut album, Renaissance, and accompanying visuals. Tearing up the Pavilion stage, she commanded the crowd from behind the decks and even took the mic to unleash her distinct vocals on some of her era-defining tracks. See more in our interview with Aluna here.
You may know almost monday as the band burning up Alternative Radio with tracks like the Top 20 hit “broken people,” “live forever” and the title track off their most recent EP, til the end of time, and when they hit the Treehouse stage on Friday, it was clear fans were there to soak in the band’s sunkissed, Cali sound. A set filled with their recent hits, the band unleashed a memorable performance of their new single, “cool enough.”
With a voice so pure and songs that hit deep in your soul, Arlo Parks took the Wonder stage with the sun magically setting in the distance – the perfect time to share music from her debut album, Collapsed In Sunbeams. Singing fans favorites like “Caroline” alongside her rocking band, swarms flocked to witness the breathtaking show. This soulful performance really showed Firefly why Arlo was recently awarded the Mercury Prize and has garnered so much attention.
Breakout artist Surf Mesa held it down on the Pavilion stage during the coveted sunset hour. Over the last two years, the rising producer has made a quick name for himself on the heels of his chart-topping, smash single, “ily (i love you baby)” ft. Emilee. While there are no doubts fans flocked to hear the platinum-selling track, Surf’s on-stage persona, as he energized the crowd from atop the decks and delivered live edits of his new singles, made the show a great time for anyone wanting to let go and dance to vibrant, upbeat music. Currently on his first run of in-person festival sets, it was incredible to see a detailed visual show behind the rising artist. Fans in attendance will remember this set the next time they see him leading an even larger festival show.
Hip-hop fans quickly packed the Backyard stage afterKennyHoopla’ss set, and with good reason, the stage also promised sets from rising rapper Flo Milli, newly-minted superstar iann dior and a set from Wiz Khalifa. When the time finally arrived, iann dior was a captivating force on stage. In between hyping the crowd, he played some of his biggest hits like “emotions” 24kGoldn megahit, “Mood,” and Trippie Redd collab “shots in the dark.”
Cage The Elephant
One of the world’s best bands, Cage The Elephant, took over main stage as iann dior’s set wrapped and as Taking Back Sunday wowed on the Wonder stage. CTE is consistently great live, largely because Matt Shultz is an unpredictable frontman hellbent on making every performance better than the last. Somehow, they always manage to pull it off, delivering recent hits off Social Cues in between some of their absolute classics off Melophobia and their self-titled debut album. Regardless of how many years have passed, there’s simply nothing like hearing an entire festival roaring to the sounds of “Come a Little Closer” and “Cigarette Daydreams.”
Even before Wiz Khalifa hit the stage, the energy radiating from fans was off the charts. Signs repping Pittsburgh and Wiz began popping up in the crowd, and it was clear nearly the entire festival was venturing toward the Backyard stage for one of the weekend’s most memorable shows. It was only a matter of time before fans chanting for Wiz got their wish. For over a decade, Wiz has delivered countless hits, which was clear as his setlist effortlessly flowed between his classic projects Kush & OJ and Rolling Papers, with hazy live performances of “In The Cut” “Black and Yellow,” and “Roll Up.” One of our generation’s best rappers, hearing the immediate response to his 2009 track “The Thrill,” a song made officially available just last year, was a true testament to his longstanding influence.
Closing Friday night on the main stage was legendary rock band The Killers. With nearly two decades worth of hits and nine albums under their belt, Friday’s set was a heart-warming trip down memory lane led by live cuts of groundbreaking Hot Fuss singles “Mr. Brightside,” “Somebody Told Me,” and “All These Things That I’ve Done” causing an already excited crowd to scream at the top of their lungs. While set highlights include a fan joining the band to rip through the drums on “For Reasons Unknown,” there’s nothing like hearing a song we all perfected on Guitar Hero, “When You Were Young,” close out a stunning night.