Festival Preview: Boston Calling

If you live in Massachusetts you probably get the offer to go to Boston Calling almost every year. Your buddy from high school’s uncle’s ex-wife is catering back stage so she was able to scrounge up some tickets for the boys. Now normally, you pass. This is because your other buddy from high school’s family invited you to spend the weekend at their grandparents cape house for memorial day weekend and the weather is looking dope. This year, however, I wouldn’t make that decision so fast.

A Brief History

Boston Calling has been around since 2013, but it used to be two different weekends in May and September and take place at City Hall Plaza. The headliners used to be people like Jack Johnson (who I love), Vampire Weekend, The National, or Of Monsters and Men. Don’t get me wrong, these aren’t bad artists, but a lot more “hipster” than most festival headliners. Flash-forward to 2017, and it’s a big enough event to rival amongst other North East festivals like Gov Ball and Firefly.


Boston Calling is now only one weekend. Memorial Day Weekend (May 26-28) and it’s at the Harvard Athletic Complex.

But probably the biggest change is the number of A-list performers that will be in attendance.

Who Will be Where When?

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Right off the bat they’ve got probably the biggest rapper in the game right now: Chance the Rapper. This dude had a huge year with his Grammy-winning album “Coloring Book” and his numerous performances on hit shows like Ellen and Jimmy Fallon. A friend of Chance’s and up-and-coming artist Francis and the Lights will also be there to play some of their songs (like my personal favorite Kanye-assisted “Friends”). Bring your tissues because Bon Iver will be there and he makes some of the most beautifully depressing music of all time. The last person that I’m excited for is Solange (Beyonce’s sister) who released a sick album last year that featured one of my favorite songs of 2016 “Cranes in the Sky”. The cherry on top for this festival is the comedy aspect that they recently added. Eugene Mirman (aka Gene from Bob’s Burgers) will be there along with Pete Holmes who stars in one of my new favorite shows “Crashing”. If you can only make one day I’d hit this one. Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 12.20.26 PM.png

This day has a little bit of everything. Obviously the hot ticket name is Mumford and Sons who everybody knows and to be honest has been quiet lately but do not sleep on how AMAZING this band is. On top of that they’ve got some alternative guys like The 1975 and the XX. Nathaniel Rateliffe and The Night Sweats would be so fun (especially after a few beers) and then we get a whole grab bag of diversity. Hip-Hop artists like Majid Jordan, Danny Brown, and Cousin Stizz are gonna be there to fill that category. Comedy juggernaut Hannibal Buress will be there murdering the stage as well so Saturday is a pretty solid move as well. Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 12.20.37 PM.png

Although this day may have the least popular names, they have more than the other days. Major Lazer is one of my favorite EDM artists, not to mention Weezer who will most likely play their old bangers and newer slightly less bangers, Cage the Elephant who I personally love and would jam the hell out to, and then Run the Jewels who have a couple great songs as well. For comedy they also have Tig Notaro whose special blew up last year and is one of the smartest stand-ups I’ve seen. Again, not a bad choice either.


Ahh money. The reason why nobody except athletes, actors, and randomly famous people like Kylie Jenner can actually go to these huge festivals. It’s cheaper than Coachella but it’ll still leave a dent in your wallet.

$99 day pass is the move if you ask me. Pick the day that interests you most and just hit that one. I personally did this for Chance the Rapper because he’s probably my favorite artist right now and then bonuses of Solange, Bon Iver, and Pete Holmes make up for the rest.

$269 3 day pass…go for it if you really like artists in all several days. Or maybe get figure it out with friends and split the days or something. Overall though, that’s a lot of money for a concert with good performers, but not huge festival performers.


This is just plain dumb. They offer VIP lounges, VIP viewing areas, VIP phone charging stations…and for an extra 100 bucks. If you ask me, this is for the wicked rich girls who got these as a gift from their parents for their Super Sweet Sixteen and need their phone to be charged at all times so they can snapchat every second of every show. Just the worst.


You should go. This is the first year they stepped up their game and probably the last year prices will be this low after they see the demand for this year. They’ve got some massive artists that you won’t want to miss. You can go to the cape every memorial day weekend for the rest of your life, but seeing artists like Chance, Mumford and Sons, Major Lazer and more while their hot? It’s a once in a lifetime chance.


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