Capturing Firefly: A Jar of Photographs

Capturing Firefly: A Jar of Photographs

Photographer Ben Fraternale's visual journey through the Firefly Music Festival and what lurks beneath.
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Faint echos of an early-morning opener permeated the grass-fed air. Fairy dust still drifting from Woodstock '69 seemed to drizzle over an army of virgin festival goers. A giant concrete structure welcomed us down his mysterious pathway to nirvana: the inaugural Firefly Music Festival.

The festival, now 5 years running, operates adjacent to the Dover International Speedway. That concrete structure is Miles the Monster, who "destroys racecars" and in turn brutally kills or badly mangles the human beings inside them. It's all very special stuff.

Once past the homicidal beast and his savage barbarity, the inaugural festival lived up to its "Premier East Coast Experience." Armed with headliners The Killers, Jack White, and The Black Keys, bursting with unbelievable bands on four stages simultaneously, it was a dazzling experience. The festival kept me coming back, bit by the urge to speak with Miles The Monster and his merry band of musicians, but this year I brought my camera along for the ride. The following are from the final day of the 2016 Firefly Festival:

Miles the Monster, who took $6 million to construct, became sentient, and has since destroyed the lives of countless NASCAR drivers.

Crowd-surfing. Classic festival bit. Problematic. Rife with ethical questions. Where should we be touching this person? What would Miles the Monster do?



Going up and down in a balloon only yards away from where Miles the Monster claimed 18 cars in a pileup only a month earlier? Irresistible!


Signage is a true staple of festival culture and so is digging into the tough politic questions of our time. Like, shouldn't we do something about Miles the Monster?


Only those behind the fence are safe. They have surely watched this Dover International Speedway crash compilation video.



When Miles comes knocking at your door, ready for your bones, you better hope your phone or tablet is juiced up!


If only they knew.



Will a sip of this nectar help us remember the truth?


Parks & Recreation is a great show, please watch it on Netflix.


But has she seen Dover's 10 Most Monstrous Moments on Nascar.com?


#FIREFLY2016 #MilesHasTheInsatiableLustForYourBoneMarrow



If we can win, though I don't believe it to be possible, we'll need these hammocks to gather valuable rest between the scores of violence.



According to Joe Heller, head of PR for the racetrack, Miles was built on the "theme of concrete," and "You could hit him with a sledgehammer, and you know what? You'd probably suffer more damage than he would." I believe you, Joe.



Maybe they could host the festival somewhere else? Parking near him only makes him hungrier.


Blink-182 was amazing!


Look at all that confetti!

Cover Image Credit: Ben Fraternale

Popular Right Now

22 Post Malone ‘beerbongs & bentleys’ Lyrics College Kids Will Use As Insta Captions This Summer

It's here, and it's fire.
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If you didn't know, I am really not sure how you wouldn't know, but it's fine, Post Malone's new album FINALLY came out! Posty has time and time again proven that he's a trailblazer in the music industry. His genre is a mix of everything, from rap to acoustic guitar, and he sounds like he's at home in both settings.

Here it is, a list of Post Malone lyrics you'll use or see as Instagram captions. I can already feel it, this summer is Posty's summer –– a summer for "beerbongs & bentleys."

1. "Spoil My Night" - "Won't you come spoil my night?"

2. "Spoil My Night" - "Feelings come into play and I'm thinkin' this happens every time"

3. "Spoil My Night" - "Yeah, when I walk up in a party, they all act like they know me"

4. "Zack and Codeine" - "Been livin' fast, no I can't take it slowly"

5. "Zack and Codeine" - "But it don't mean nothing without all my people"

6. "Zack and Codeine" - "Pour that drink 'cause we ain't sleepin' tonight"

7. "Takin Shots" - "Heard that there's a party, I might pay a visit"

8. "Takin Shots" - "Baby, just for the night, you my soulmate"

9. "Over Now" - "I'ma turn the tables, promise you will not forget it"

10. "Stay" - "Damn, who are we right now?"

11. "Blame It On Me" - "These hurricanes inside of my brain"

12. "Same Bitches" - "Bottles on deck, and my drink full"

13. "Same Bitches" - "Population four million, how I see the same bitches?"

14. "Jonestown" - "It happens every time"

15. "92 Explorer" - "She in the front seat head bangin'"

16. "Sugar Wraith" - "And then I went and changed my life"

17. "Sugar Wraith" - "I take the lead, they just follow"

18. "Rockstar" - "Sayin, 'I'm with the band'"

19. "Rockstar" - "Livin’ like a Rockstar, I’m livin’ like a Rockstar"

20. "Rockstar" - "Sweeter than a Pop-Tart”

21. "Psycho" - "Can’t really trust nobody with all this jewelry on you"

22. "Psycho" - "I got homies, let it go"

Cover Image Credit: Post Malone // Instagram

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Fiction On The Odyssey: Without Chaos Part 2

The world is a broken record; history is a pattern that repeats itself.
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Click here to read part one.


25. Stove

There is no massive pot of potato stew when she returns.

Instead, the living room is filled with barrels.

26. Smug

She used be so smug when she was younger, back when everything was perfect.

God, she wants to punch that brat.

27. Emotion

Her first emotion, when the boy with the steadfast gaze offers her a shower at his house, is fear.

28. Chin

The boy with the steadfast gaze, she learns upon closer inspection, has dimples when he smiles, as well as a small mole on his chin.

The mole fascinates her.

How must it feel to have such a perfect life that even something as insignificant as a mole sits perfectly equidistant from either side of his face?

29. Winter

When she’s not shivering, dirty, and sitting beneath the shadow of a leafless tree, she can appreciate the beauty. The view from his bathroom is positively gorgeous. The world, powdered with white and covered in icicles, is a winter wonderland.

With this comfortably sheltered view through the window frame, it’s hard to believe that such beauty could be so deadly.

30. Knots

The clothes that adorn her body are clean and warm. The air smells deliciously salty, wonderfully sweet, and perfectly spicy. For a moment, she can almost believe she’s somewhere else - somewhere where the view is vast and blue in the best possible way, the wind tangles tangles her hair, and she feels her father’s hand on her own.

“Dad, how fast are we going?” she had yelled.

“Twenty-three knots!” he’d screamed back.

“Don’t yell,” her mother had reprimanded.

But when she had glanced behind at her mother, she had seen that her mother was smiling, too.

31. Stay

“Thank you for everything,” she says to the mother of the boy with the steadfast gaze. “I’ll return the clothes tomorrow.”

“Oh, honey,” the mother says, “Wouldn’t you like to stay? I’ve made you tomato soup. My son says it’s your favorite.”

She would love to stay if not only for the tomato soup, but her mother had once told her to never, at all costs, leave herself indebted to another. “Oh, um - “

“I insist.”

But then again, her mother spends most of her time unconscious on the apartment’s puke-filled couch.

32. Rarest

The rarest feeling in the world, she decides, is that of genuine belonging.

33. Describe

“What’s the world’s most impossible task?” he asks her one windy morning.

Her shoulders lift into a shrug.

“Describing a color to a blind person.”

34. Surrounds

She learns quickly that silence is one thing that he cannot tolerate for long. As a result, the space between them is often filled to the brim with random trivia facts.

She doesn’t mind. To her, it’s a welcome distraction from everything else that surrounds her.

35. Step

She takes a step towards him and stumbles.

She’s righted before she ever had the chance to fall.

36. Eyes

His gaze still speaks of steadfast loyalty.

She no longer wants to punch him.

37. Know

“Did you know that vodka is made from potatoes?”

“Nope,” she replies breezily before feeling the full impact of their words. She pauses.

The potatoes. The massive pot. The barrels.

Oh, no.

She’s off before he can utter another word.

38. Can

She can make it home before the officers arrive.

She can make it home before the officers arrive.

She must.

39. Tasteless

His mother sets a bowl of steaming tomato soup down in front of her.

Her stomach churns.

The soup is red, bright red. It’s the exact shade of the ugly red tape that had been hastily applied in a severe “X” across the front door of the apartment: the one that read: RESTRICTED AREA: AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY.

Her mother was arrested. The apartment was locked up.

All remnants of her previous life is gone.

And it took her four days to realize.

Briefly, she wonders why she has yet to be pulled aside by the school and placed in a community home. She wonders if, when her mother told the police that she was childless, her mother had been thinking of her daughter, for once, or if her mother had simply forgotten about the existence of her daughter.

Bitterly, she concludes that it was the latter.

His mother frowns at the untouched bowl. “Eat up. You’ll need your strength.”

The soup is tasteless.

40. Aimless

She aches from the sudden detachedness from her previous life. And yet, her release relieves her.

She thinks of everything. She thinks of nothing.

She doesn’t know what to do.

41. Weary

When he smiles, she’s too weary to smile back.

42. Tentatively

It’s a few days before the sky finally decides to reflect her the state of her soul.

He has kept quiet for the past few days. Their silences aren’t tense like they once were, but they haven’t been comfortable, either. She can feel his pressing curiosity, threatening to crush their delicate silence. She knows she should tell him before he asks, as he’s bound to find out either way. And yet, she can’t find the words.

“So, uh,” he says, tentatively.

His voice wavers slightly.

He’s also scared, she realizes with amazement. Of what, she doesn’t know. But she can guess.

“I didn’t realize that -” she breaks off abruptly, temporarily shocked by the sound of her voice. After a brief glance at him, she catches sight of the encouraging smile tugging at his lips. She continues. “I didn’t realize that my mother had been making vodka until you told me that bit of trivia, the one about vodka and potatoes.”

“You didn’t realize?” he asked, astonishment written all over his face. “But, wouldn’t you notice if your apartment started smelling like alcohol?”

Has she really not told him?

“It always smells like alcohol.”

43. Remembers

For the first time in years, she gets tucked into bed, complete with a kiss on her forehead.

Tears slide silently down her cheeks as she thinks of her father.

44. Signature

“Did you know,” she says, testing his signature phrase on her lips, “that one time, a crack junkie complained to the police about the cocaine he bought being of subpar quality?”

His head is back and he’s laughing, laughing, laughing.

She can’t process anything, she can’t process nothing, not when that jovial sound is cascading freely though his mouth. Her heart has stopped beating. She stops breathing. Her eyes are wide. She watches, and watches, and watches, and -

“W-well?” he asks, still wheezing and still giggling. “What h-happened t-to him?”

She’s caught completely off guard. Her heart is still in her throat. “Um. Oh. Right, er, uh - arrested. Obviously. He got arrested.”

He roars into laughter once again.

After a few seconds, she stops watching.

She joins him.

45. Intelligent

She never has the the guts to say it herself, but she’s grateful for his presence in her life. He always knows what to say, what not to say, and when to say nothing at all.

She’s glad to have met someone as intelligent as him.

46. Notice

It takes her a while, but finally, she visits her mother.

Her mother doesn’t even seem to notice her presence.

It takes her much, much longer, but eventually, she realizes that it’s okay that her mother cannot recognize her, much less pay her any attention. There are better people that can.

47. Strong

Once upon a time, she thought she was strong.

Fate has confirmed that.

48. Home

Over a bowl of ripe raspberries, in a blanket fort, they do silly, memorable things in the way that friends do. They talk of unimportant things and make unspoken promises. It takes her some time, but finally, it registers that she has inadvertently found herself a home with the boy with eyes that speak of steadfast loyalty.

She might as well make herself at home.

49. Carve

“What's your name?”

He smiles broadly. “I thought you'd never ask.”

She takes his name and carves it onto her heart.

50. Everything

The world is a broken record. History is a pattern that repeats itself.

Without chaos, everything remains.


Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash / Lane Jackman

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