Pollstar + VenuesNow 2022 Women Of Live: Stephanie Mezzano

Firefly Music Festival · AEG Presents
Vice President & Festival Director

After being forced to cancel 2020’s edition of Firefly Music Festival because of the pandemic, followed by uncertainty in the live business in regards to navigating COVID protocols, vice president and festival director Stephanie Mezzano notes that “2021 was a big question mark for a long time for us.”

In record time, Mezzano and the rest of the team at AEG Presents turned the Sept. 23-26 event at The Woodlands of Dover International Speedway in Dover, Del., into an exclamation point, with a stellar lineup featuring Billie Eilish, The Killers, Tame Impala, and Lizzo.

“This event wasn’t actually launched until the middle of May. So, this was the fastest year I’ve ever planned a music festival. Our entire team has never done anything quite like it. From the middle of May to the actual festival weekend – so four and a half months,” Mezzano said.

The festival site was drenched in rain nearly all day on day one, causing organizers to push Thursday’s opening to 8 p.m., with some artists rescheduled to other stages that evening.

“Sure, it was a little bit muddy that first day. And it was tough for everybody involved. But to me, it was like we were all trying to bring live music back and put this big show on and I’ll be damned if anything stops us!” Mezzano said. “Billie Eilish got on stage and it was
like, who cares what happened that day?!”

Mezzano is one of the co-founders of Firefly and discovered the festival’s home in 2011, having been drawn to the site’s “unbelievably gorgeous, giant trees.” She previously served as president of operations for Red Frog and joined AEG Presents after the company bought Red Frog Events’ shares of Firefly in 2018.

In addition to making Firefly’s post-lockdown return, in 2021 the festival hosted its first-ever pride parade from one stage through the festival to the other.

Firefly returns Sept. 22-25 with headliners Halsey, My Chemical Romance, Green Day and Dua Lipa, along with the 2022 Pride Parade and the return of the Bazaar Central Market, the Thicket Silent Disco, Treehouse Stage, Drag Brunch and more.