Boston Calling Festival, Accept the Charges

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Posted April 26, 2013 by Tony McMillen in Theater & Arts
The National

Boston has long been suffering from rock festival envy. Chicago gets to host Lollapalooza. New York has the Governors Ball. New Orleans enjoys its Jazz Fest. And, of course, Indio, California, is home to Coachella. So where does that leave Beantown? We like getting drunk and sunburned just as much as those other cities, and we’re better at it too. Well, we’re finally getting our own outdoor rock extravaganza with the Boston Calling festival. So grab your CharlieCard and pack some sunscreen, because we’re doing this, Boston. And we’re doing it right.

Boston Calling will be a gigantic two-day, two-stage event held on May 25 and 26 downtown at City Hall Plaza. Expected to draw some 20,000 fans, the outdoor rock festival boasts a bevy of big-name performers—including recent Grammy winner Fun, the group behind the ubiquitous hit “We Are Young”, which probably got stuck in your head like peanut butter on the brain a couple years ago.

There will be a set from MS MR, whose brooding and seductive music you may have heard in the advertisements for the latest season of Game of Thrones. And yes, I will be listening to MS MR at Boston Calling with my eyes shut, imagining that I am rocking out with White Walkers and Direwolves the entire time. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you really need to start watching Game of Thrones. Seriously.)

Of Monsters and Men

Boston’s in for a treat: Of Monsters And Men gives a blistering live performance. Photo Credit: Brendan Tonkin

Other groups preparing to rock the masses include The National, The Shins (who, despite Natalie Portman’s recommendation, might not change your life, but will certainly put on a fine live show), Dirty Projectors, Portugal, The Man, Of Monsters and Men, Marina and The Diamonds, and a bunch of other acts that your parents have never heard of (thankfully).

Local acts such as Caspian and Bad Rabbits also will be on hand, representing Boston’s diverse and ever burgeoning music scene. This is why finally having a big music hullabaloo of our own is such a great idea and really a no-brainer. Boston has always been a home to great music—and for great music, too. This is the city that spawned artists as popular, respected, and diverse as Aerosmith, The Pixies, Aimee Mann, and The Lemonheads.

So many national touring musicians make it a point to say how much they love playing to a Boston crowd. That’s because you’d be hard-pressed to match the sheer energy of a Bostonian musical audience anywhere else. As someone who has seen plenty of shows in plenty of cities across this country, I can attest to that. This town is such a fulcrum for live music that it boggles the mind that an event like Boston Calling hasn’t appeared already.

Which is why it’s so important for Boston Calling to succeed. This could very well be the start of a welcome new tradition in downtown Boston. And with the way the tickets are being snatched up, chances are already good that this event is here to stay. So why not get in on this thing from the ground floor, Boston? That way, years from now, when your kids are lousy teenagers and pestering you for cash (or whatever we’re using for currency by then) so that they can go to the 20th annual Boston Calling, you can tell them that you went to the first festival in 2013. You can bring up how you saw The Shins, and that they changed your life. Then your kids can take your money and ask, “Who are The Shins?”

Boston Calling is a rain-or-shine event, and its location downtown at City Hall Plaza is easily accessible from multiple MBTA stations. Tickets are still available here.

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