Keeping the masses fed at the 2014 Firefly Music Festival is literally like trying to feed an army.
Keeping the masses fed at the 2014 Firefly Music Festival is literally like trying to feed an army. However, rather than cranking out generic concert venue food like chicken tenders, fries and cheeseburgers, the vendors at the festival bring a variety of flavors from every corner of the earth.
Everything from fruit smoothies to fried Oreos and, of course, the aforementioned chicken tenders and burgers were must-haves at Firefly, held in The Woodlands of Dover International Speedway.
I personally feasted on falafel, teriyaki chicken, iced coffee and pig tails. Before you cringe, they weren’t literal pig tails, but rather curly fries topped with pulled pork barbecue and topped with a dash of smoky, sweet barbecue sauce. It is just as delicious as it sounds. This delectable dish was served up by Outlaw Barbecue, an Oregon and Las Vegas-based company that follows the festival and NASCAR circuit. The pig tails, which are Outlaw Barbecue’s original recipe, were a great seller at Firefly, said Grace McGraw, co-owner of Outlaw Barbecue.
“We just thought that it was really cute to see that the fires were curly to put pork on top, and so we said ‘oh it’s pig tails’,” McGraw said. “People thought they were actually pigtails and I thought ‘do you know how many pigs that would take?’”
I personally added a little spice to my pigtails by adding a bit of Siracha hot sauce, which seems to be the condiment of Firefly. There are stations specifically set up for mustard and ketchup, but it seems that every booth at Firefly has a bottle of Siracha hanging around.
Another of my favorite Siracha-topped dishes was the falafel with hummus from Southern Most Falafel. This stand consistently had a long line, and once I tasted their fare I knew why. They make all of their hummus, falafel and sour cream dill sauce in house. They fry their pitas, which gives them a crusty quality. The pita is stuffed with falafel that is crusty on the outside, creamy on the inside. A generous spread of creamy hummus holds the falafel in place and the whole ordeal is topped with a fresh, crunchy slaw and a drizzle of refreshing and zingy sour cream dill sauce pulls the whole affair together. The falafel is their best seller at Firefly, but the stand also serves curry and barbecue chicken on pitas and lamb gyro wraps.
Louie Ruvo is the man behind Southern Most Falafel and he has become known as the falafel man, he said.
Ruvo has been in the business for roughly 25 years. He began his roving food business while he was following the Grateful Dead around the country.
“This is just hippie food,” Ruvo said. “I loved Jerry Garcia so much that I gave up my union job to follow The Dead, and now here I am.”
One dish I would had advised avoiding at Firefly is the chicken and Waffles served at The Front Porch stand. When you say chicken and waffles I picture crisp, yet fluffy waffles topped with spicy fried chicken, with a drizzle of maple syrup. I was handed a waffle cone that had a puddle of pancake syrup at the bottom and was filled with fried chunks of chicken that were coated in a stick, sweet mixture. At $10 it was a disappointment me and an insult to Southern cooking.
I wasn’t the only one chowing down at Firefly. Maryland resident Matt Jenner got the chance to grab several meals at the festival, and the Korean barbecue tacos from Lemongrass were a favorite. The noodles from Island Noodles were also popular, Jenner said.
“You can get them with chicken or without,” he said. “The texture of the noodles is actually pretty nice as well. It’s not like regular lo mein or spaghetti. It has an interesting texture.”
Jenner did admit that some of the prices were a little steep for his taste. Most meals ran around $9 or $10, but every once in a while a $15 price tag could be spotted. An iced coffee at The Coffee House was also $5. The coffee was half decent, but wasn’t as strong as Starbucks. By the time cream was added to the brew it felt a bit weak
There was still plenty of good food to be had though. New Yorker Mali Weiss sampled the vegetarian mac and cheese and grabbed a strawberry banana smoothie, both of which were good, she said. When it comes to festival food it’s all about a balance, Weiss added.
“The weather is so beautiful. I’ve just been trying to eat fresh, yummy food,” she said. “I’m looking for a balance between healthy food and yummy fried food. I’m definitely looking for French fries and popcorn, but also smoothies.”
When it comes to festival food it’s all about options said Lizzie Pucora of Philadelphia, Pa..
“Because I’m so hot, I don’t want fried food or warm stuff like pizza,” she said. “I want something light. I’m also looking for reasonably health food. I like that I had gluten-free vegan options.”