WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Firefly Festival a great success, but would you ever go to a big outdoor event like that?

This past weekend's Firefly Festival (which temporarily doubled to tripled the population of Dover) was, by all accounts, a big success... although some folks who attended last year's fest lamented the bigger crowd, missing the intimacy of last year's inaugural fest. And some residents in nearby neighborhoods said they could not only hear, but FEEL the festival.

It's obviously a great economic boost for Delaware, particularly Dover, with the unfortunate side-effect, however, of turning Friday afternoon beach traffic into numbing gridlock.

Here's my question: Assuming you wanted to see one or more of the groups on stage, would you ever attend such an event? To adjust for the generation gap - for readers here in their 50's and '60's - did you attend a large marathon outdoor event such as this during your formative years, or did you WANT to, only to have your parents put the kabosh on your attendance?

Me? If you read my blog regularly, I probably won't surprise you.

I couldn't imagine shelling out three hundred bucks for the privilege of getting caught in a colossal traffic jam, then spending hour after hour in the sun, sweating, in the company of so many other people, not to mention presumably, the persistent high-decibel levels wafting from the stage. To me, that's the definition of misery, not nirvana.

Even I were younger, even if the festival featured several of my favorite groups of all time, it would be just too much. I just couldn't imagine. Too draining.

If you, or more likely, a younger family member attended Firefly, please tell me why I'm wrong. Tell me how you, or that younger family member, coped. Conversely, maybe you could share a story from an earlier time. Woodstock, anyone?

Posted at 7:31am on June 24, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Mon, Jun 24, 2013 8:07am
All those same points could be said about the NASCAR races. NASCAR creates traffic jams. And you pay big bucks to be stuck in a huge crowd. That said, I would rate concert-goers higher on the evolutionary scale than NASCAR fans. What draws mouth-breathers to NASCAR races? It seems like their entertainment comes from the possibility (or reality) of a crash. Even music I don't like and don't get is based on some creative ability. Driving an over-powered car in a circle for long hours, trying to beat someone without hitting them, ranks down there with animal fights (bulls, dogs, roosters), MMA and gladiatorial games. Sick.

In any case, it sounds like Allan Loudell got stuck in the traffic jam on his way to or from someplace. Those radio traffic reports don't help much.

Allan Loudell
Mon, Jun 24, 2013 8:35am
Hi Mr. Smith---

Didn't get "stuck" in any jam, as a matter of fact.

Came Friday night from the Chinese Festival south of Hockessin, from where we did some remote broadcasting.

Went early Saturday to Northeast, Maryland... then to White Clay Creek Preserve in Pennsylvania... virtually no traffic.

Went early Sunday to south Jersey, hardly any traffic at 6:30 a.m. Then drove back around Noon (more traffic northbound, people coming back early from Cape May).

Biggest jam for me is always the Route One and Route 7 construction in the Bear--Christiana area.

Our traffic reports provided alternative routes all through the day Friday & Saturday morning. Problem: Here in tiny Delaware, it doesn't take much to create time-consuming delays on nearly all north--south routes.

Agree with you completely on the merits of musical concerts vs. NASCAR.

Allan Loudell

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Jun 24, 2013 9:37am
The only outdoor music events, but much smaller in scale certainly would be the outdoor concerts at Philly's Mann Music Center [saw the Manhattan Transfer], New Castle's Battery Park for their outdoor concert series [have played in that series years ago in Del Nat Guard Jazz Band], Wilmington's Rodney Square [Clifford Brown Jazz Fest], and the old Kahoona at the River Front had a Jazz show once on their outdoor stage, Rehoboth's outdoor concerts [actually played in a couple of their concerts there while in Delaware National Guard Jazz Band years ago], and some outdoor concerts at Carpenter State Park. Went to a Bluegrass festival once, and that was good too. Frankly my tastes in music [Swing, Jazz, Classical, Classic Country, Folk, and Oldies] aren't popular enough to support such a large outdoor event like a FireFly.

The FireFly event, like its counterpart in Tennessee [Bonnaroo] isn't my type of music, and I'm not partial to being IN large crowds, and even less so, when much liquor and any drugs are being consumed. Even as a teen in the 60's, I had no interest in what then was called Psychedelic Rock [Jimmy Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Led Zeppelin, etc, -"drug music" [what today is known as heavy metal] so events like Woodstock was of no interest. I was more of a pop music listener in terms of rock music I preferred and still do today: Beatles, Beach Boys, Brooklyn Bridge, Blood Sweat & Tears, Chicago, Rascals, Spanky and Our Gang, Abba, etc.

The CCM {Contemporary Christian Music] venues that would be similar to FireFly [yes even the Christian version of this type of music isn't not my type of music - the heavy metal style is just not my sound] would be Creation, I believe it's held somewhere in PA. Delaware used to have one of these "Creation type outdoor events", but hasn't in a number of years [Lambjam was held just about 10 miles north of Lewes].

Mon, Jun 24, 2013 10:00am
MikeFromDelaware mentioned the Mann Music Center.

Actually, the last outdoor concert I attended was there - several years ago. It was the Warner Brothers Symphony Orchestra. They took several classic Warner Brothers cartoons which used classical music, removed the original music track and the live orchestra played the music instead - concluding of course with "What's Opera, Doc?" (Wagner).

Before the concert began, as the audience waited for the conductor to come out, people on the lawn began stage whispering, "Leopold!" "Leopold!"

Allan Loudell, I realize you have to stick to the company line but traffic reports are mostly useless. Most traffic back-ups come and go quickly, so usually the information is obsolete by the time you hear it. Traffic reports don't keep you from getting stuck; at most they tell you why you're stuck. Alternate routes are no help because announcing them does nothing other than to get them backed up, too.

Allan Loudell
Mon, Jun 24, 2013 10:28am
Mr. Smith---

You live in PA and I seriously doubt you'd be in a position to judge.

But research has shown traffic is vitally important for us; obviously, a lot of folks don't see it as you do. That's why we recently went to the time and expense of expanding our traffic updates to between drivetimes.

I readily concede - however - as I did in my previous comments, that gridlock on one north-south route, in particular, can lead to gridlock on the others. Because Delaware is so narrow geographically, we may be the only state in the union to face such traffic paralysis on north-south-routes from east to west. I concede that point.

You forget the third option for people hearing traffic reports: If they're listening to WDEL at home before leaving for work; or at work, before leaving for home, a listener may opt for an extremely indirect route OR just stay put. Granted, easier to do at the END of the workday than the beginning. (I've done that here at the office, particularly on Friday evenings. I just stay put, and get more work done -- maybe even responding to this blog -- or take a more indirect route for me, such as 141. Mornings, not an issue. I leave for work before A.M. rush really begins!)

A related point: Perhaps a person has a job with geographic flexibility. Example: My late father sold printing (as in folders, brochures, etc.). His office was in Chicago, and he drove in from the western suburbs of Chicago. But he also met clients around the suburbs. If driving to Chicago, he almost always took the Eisenhower Expressway, the "Ike". But if traffic on the Ike was exceptionally blocked, he might quickly rearrange his appointments and drive to a client in the suburbs rather than go first downtown.

My father also played clarinet and sax for a band which did wedding and anniversary receptions, etc. Listening to WBBM Newsradio on weekends, he might change routes based on the traffic reports. (The outer Chicago suburbs were and are sufficiently "open" that a traffic accident on a particular route might not necessarily affect other routes.)

My final point on traffic: Even if you're hopelessly "stuck" in traffic, you still might want to hear what's going on, how big the accident, etc. And a couple of times while on long road trips - tuning in to the local news/talk station doing traffic - I might opt for the outer beltway rather than just go through a particular city, based on traffic reports.

By the way, if I always stuck to the "company line" here, I suppose I'd be cheerleading sports (since WDEL carries so many pro- and high schools sports). You know I haven't. (I get even more vocal about this subject in public appearances, comparing Delaware to Texas.) And no one from the station has EVER directed me to tone it down.

Mike from Delaware---

Apart from most country music (except for Canadian) and hip-hop, my music tastes are very catholic (with a small "c"): Pop, hard rock, heavy metal, r & b, especially symphonic rock, country-rock, jazz rock fusion, classical, Europop, other global music.

Over the years, I have attended concerts by The Who, Yes, Styx, Queen, REO Speedwagon, Three Dog Night, Chicago, Smokey Robinson, Quarterflash, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, and lesser-known groups from the Midwest and Illinois such as The Ides of March, Starcastle, The Ship, Megan McDonough, etc.

More recent names: Tori Amos, Alanis Morissette, The Indigo Girls, The Like, etc.

I saw Tori and Alanis at a joint concert in Camden a few years ago. The facility was partly outside, and although on a delightful summer night, I think that event tested my tolerance for being outside in the heat and humidity.

Allan Loudell

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Jun 24, 2013 10:56am
Billsmith: That sounds like that would have been a fun concert. Also, maybe a cool way of exposing kids [via cartoons, along with a live Orchestra so the kids can actually see the music being made] to some Classical Music.

I agree with both Billsmith and Allan that attending a NASCAR race is not the same thing as attending an outdoor concert.

My definition of a NASCAR race is you're simply watching colored marbles being swirled around in a bowl for 4 hours. Besides the miserable traffic, you paid dearly for those tickets to sit there at Dover Raceway with many of the 100,000 "rednecks" in attendance who are pretty well liquored up on beer. I guess different strokes for different folks. That sure isn't my idea of a good time.

I've kidded someone I know, who's into NASCAR, that when the race comes to Dover twice a year, I feel there's a "brain drain" in Delaware, as the state is invaded by Rednecks. For those two weekends each year, Delaware actually becomes a "Red State".

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Jun 24, 2013 11:05am
Allan: I remember The Ides of March had a hit that I liked, "Vehicle". I just found their website. They had a clip of Vehicle with other songs. Apparently they still are performing. I haven't heard them on any radio station probably in 20+ years. I enjoyed hearing the clip. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

Allan Loudell
Mon, Jun 24, 2013 11:14am
The Ides of March (original members) played at my high school alma mater's student union/concert facility a few years ago and I was lucky enough to be "home" and see them again.

They also had a more regional hit, "L.A. Goodbye", which I enjoyed even more than "Vehicle". Jim Peterik briefly left the group to co-found Survivor, which spawned the hit, "Eye of the Tiger".

The Ides of March came out of Berywn, Illinois, where I happened to be born.

Allan Loudell

Mon, Jun 24, 2013 11:19am
There really are two Delawares. One is still part of Pennsylvania - socially, culturally, economically. The other is part of the Eastern Shore, and has more than its share of rednecks (and red voters). Delaware tipping "Blue" is never a sure thing. That canal is more than symbolic.
And the beer they drink at NASCAR is almost certainly the mass produced, tasteless cheap stuff.
But remember, Mitt has friends who own NASCAR racing teams.

Mon, Jun 24, 2013 11:40am
If I had the cash to burn and fewer responsibilities at the homefront, I would gladly attend the Firefly event...quite a few of my friends were there this weekend.
I've been to many festivals like this one over the years...even been to Creation a couple times but the Cornerstone festival is more my style. Cornerstone is very different from Creation but it's still Christian bands...just much harder music and grungier participants.

Mon, Jun 24, 2013 1:50pm
Waaaaay too old for concert-going at this point since I do not like to be in large crowds and am far less tolerant at my age now. My first was a JFK Stadium Bicentennial concert, June 1976: Gary Wright, Peter Frampton, and Yes (and some other group). We were there from noon til after dark, alcohol involved (we were over 21), and, Imagine! We walked in with a cooler. Can't remember how we managed that! Do remember nasty backed-up bathrooms... Also saw Grateful Dead at Red Rocks, awesome, especially the complementary lightning show over Denver in the distance! My last was a Lilith Fair concert in Camden, what a rip-off, from the pricey tickets, to having to leave our hoagies and drinks in the car and pay through the teeth for a beer, AND not even being able to see the performers on stage, only on a large screen, AND not being able to see more than one song by Sarah McLachlin for fear of not being able to get out of Camden before the next day. So, no, don't expect to see me at any concert in the future, anywhere.

Mon, Jun 24, 2013 4:44pm
Glass: Good point. The audience for right-wing talk radio in general is waaaaaay too old for anything this side of Lawrence Welk. Look for ditto-heads in Branson, MO. Not Dover. a1ana2a.

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Jun 25, 2013 8:45am
Billsmith: I know a few young guys who definitely are rednecks who love NASCAR and who are very conservative, i.e., hate Obama and the DEMS with as much passion as Sean Hannity. They may not listen to Rush (because they are young and listen to Today's Country on their Ipods, Iphones, and sometimes even FM and listen to WDSD, WXCY, or WXTU [yes there are 3 country stations we can get here in the Wilmington area].) But these young redneck turks DO watch FOX News for their news, and are definitely conservatives. These guys call me a bleeding heart liberal. So it would seem [Yes, based on anecdotal evidence] that my statement about Delaware becoming more Red on Race Weekends is probably correct.

But I do agree with you, that Rush's audience probably doesn't go to the race and yes would more likely make a trip to Branson to hear Lawrence Welk, Andy Williams, [or A Classic Country performers' place there in Branson] than go to Dover Downs for the race. They listen to the race on the radio or watch it on TV.

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