by Patrick Fuller ’21
The past few weeks have brought an exciting surge of music festival lineup reveals. While big names like Coachella and Bonnaroo plan to draw the masses in through advertising headliners like Beyoncé, Muse, and The Weeknd, a local music festival, Boston Calling, attempts to solidify its standing.
Boston Calling which is he;d at the Harvard Athletic Complex from May 25-27, is a much larger and better developed project than the festival at its debut in May 2013. Originally, the festival took place in City Hall Plaza twice a year, in May and September. In May 2016, Boston Calling decided to relocate to the Harvard Athletic Complex and focus on one festival per year.
With these bold choices came a seemingly infinite pool of logistical nightmares ranging from long lines at food vendors and entrance gates to inconvenient stage planning. However, through the feedback from last year, Boston Calling organizers have promised lots of improvements.
Although the festival suffered some unavoidable difficulties due to a simple lack of experience, it has never let the people down as far as performers go. In fact, Rolling Stone and The Boston Globe have praised Boston Calling for its diverse lineup and quality of production. Furthermore, the festival was placed in the Top 10 Festivals in the United States by Consequence of Sounds in 2017.
Much of the credit, therefore, must be given to Crash Line Productions, the Boston-based production company which makes this festival possible, and curator Aaron Dessner of rock band The National. Thanks to them, Boston Calling has boasted artists such as Sia, My Morning Jacket, Of Monsters and Men, Kendrick Lamar, Vampire Weekend, and Disclosure.
To the excitement of many, on Jan. 4, Boston Calling released the lineup for the 2018 event, adding more names to an already reputable legacy of musicians. The main attraction lies in the three big headliners: Eminem, The Killers, and Jack White.
With the release of his album Revival, the controversial yet legendary Eminem has taken the hip-hop scene by storm once again. Without warning or hype, Marshall Mathers ignored accusations of misogyny and offensive lyrics to craft a narrative of reflection and human nature. Now, he plans to conquer the music festival scene by planting his crosshairs on Coachella, Bonnaroo, and Boston Calling, among others. Such a passionate resurrection from the graveyard of 2000s music should be motivation enough for a stellar performance.
Meanwhile, another band of the early 2000s, The Killers, is slated to headline the Boston Calling Music Festival after releasing Wonderful Wonderful in 2017. Finally, Jack White, guitarist and vocalist for the former White Stripes, will headline the remaining night.
However, equal excitement comes from the amount of quality undercards snagged for the festival ranging from Queens of the Stone Age, The National, and Portugal. The Man, to Tyler, the Creator, Bryson Tiller, Brockhampton, and Daniel Caesar. The festival, currently has a total of 45 artists.
Aside from the music, Boston Calling plans to host a sea of stand-up comedians, including Cameron Esposito and Jenny Slate, as well as a feature on political debate stemming from Pod Save America, a podcast consisting of four former aides to 44th President Barack Obama. Moreover, Academy Award winning actress Natalie Portman is curating films for the festival after withdrawing last year due to her pregnancy.
With such a variety of genres and activities, Boston Calling has set itself up for a successful, well-attended festival. As of now, three-day general admission tickets are being sold for $289 on bostoncalling.com, a great price compared to Coachella’s $429 entrance fee. Hopefully, over time, Boston Calling will come to rival major festivals like Austin City Limits and Lollapalooza and the loyalty of traveling music lovers will be split between the coasts.