Previewing Boston Calling 2015 and Its Cultural Impact

Posted February 5, 2015 by Jon Erik Christianson in Theater & Arts
Boston Calling 2015

Boston Calling, one of the city’s most anticipated musical and cultural events, recently announced its May 2015 lineup. It features a total of 23 different acts. This biannual, three-day festival regularly merges disparate musical voices into one blockbuster show, and this upcoming performance is no different.

Representatives of the rock genre for May’s event include the wildly creative Beck, the psychedelic My Morning Jacket, and the Boston-native group Pixies. Though often referred to as a “rock festival,” Boston Calling also plays host to a vast array of musical genres. Indie fans are certain to enjoy the quirky crooning of British juggernaut Marina and the Diamonds and the enchanting allure of Swedish star Tove Lo. St. Vincent lends her haunting voice to May’s arrangement, as does Gerard Way, the former My Chemical Romance frontman who has since gone solo.

Danish superstar MØ will be in attendance, fresh off of her four award wins (“Breakthrough Artist of the Year,” “Record of the Year,” “Solo artist of the Year,” “Music Video of the Year”) at the Danish Music Awards. Fans of soul will find solace with Jungle, a modern musical collective hailing from London. Hip-hop will be represented through the lyrical stylings of Run the Jewels, and country will be in attendance via Alabama-native Jason Isbell. Even fans of the rock/comedy hybrid get a spot in this year’s lineup, as actors Jack Black and Kyle Gass bring Tenacious D to Boston Calling.

The remaining acts are: Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, Tame Impala, TV on the Radio, Vance Joy, Chet Faker, The Lone Bellow, Sharon Van Etten, Grizfolk, DMA’s, The Ballroom Thieves, and Krill. The lineup is subject to change, and the exact day-to-day schedule should be released in upcoming weeks.

The lineup of the CrashLine Productions event was revealed in a “Find the Vinyl” scavenger hunt across the city, where dedicated fans found vinyl records corresponding with the event’s associated acts.

As always, Boston Calling will plant its roots firmly at City Hall Plaza in Government Center. The outdoor festival, which takes place over Memorial Day weekend from May 22-24th, is set upon two stages and encircled by a variety of food and retail services. It is family-friendly and welcome to music fans of all ages. It regularly attracts attendees numbering in the ten thousands, and soldiers on during rain or shine.

Though Boston has a higher ratio of people between the ages of 20-34 than any other American city (35%), it is unfortunately notorious for having a comparatively lame entertainment scene. Massachusetts and Boston laws ban happy-hour drink promotions, enforce cumbersome and expensive licenses for bars (some of which require quantifying dartboards and a license for patrons to dance), close drinking establishments at 2 a.m., and ultimately disappoint much of the city’s younger population. Uncooperative public transportation has also contributed to the issue, although the new regime at city hall has taken steps to address this.

Of American cities, Boston is hardly one that places on any top ten list for music, theatre, arts, or nightlife. Boston’s indie scene is still vibrant and growing despite these hurdles, but these city-wide issues continue to keep the city from achieving its true entertainment potential.

Boston Calling, fortunately, is having an epic hand in changing Boston’s image for the better. With each and every concert, Boston Calling pulls together a consistently better, more genre diverse, and more international lineup. Its scheduling ideally bookends the beginning and end of the typical school year; given the city’s hundreds of thousands of students ravenous for entertainment, this planning has helped cultivate a more youth-friendly Boston.

Those who attend this May’s event will inadvertently take part in the Boston’s ongoing cultural revolution.