Boston Calling Takes Over Common
by Henry Claudy on Friday, April 8th, 2016
Boston Calling is a twice-a-year music festival that takes place in the heart of Boston. The first Boston Calling took place in the spring of 2013 at Boston City Hall, and since then it has presented famous artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Vampire Weekend, Neutral Milk Hotel, Nas, Beck, and Tame Impala. Music review website “Consequence of Sound” even called it one of the Top Ten Music Festivals, placing above music festival staples Sasquatch! and Bonnaroo.
This year’s iteration of Boston Calling takes place Memorial Day Weekend, May 27-29. Historically, Boston Calling has had the same venue set-up: two major stages where artists perform. Unlike other music festivals like Governor’s Ball or Coachella, the sets of performers at Boston never overlap, so potentially one may see every set. A new addition to this year’s festival is a smaller third stage, where instead of a focus on music, the stage showcases local standup comedy.
The Friday date of the festival is a much shorter affair. Unlike the other days with full-day performances with several artists, Friday performances are a nighttime showcase with three artists, and are always more relaxed. This year has two powerhouses: Sufjan Stevens and Sia. Sia, famous for her attempts to remain anonymous, released her seventh studio album This Is Acting this past January. Expect to hear crowd pleasers such as “Chandelier” and “Elastic Heart” during her set. The other major player is Sufjan Stevens. Stevens has a discography as unique as his name, and most recently released his seventh album, Carrie & Lowell, last year. You never know what Sufjan will perform during his concerts, but I would highly recommend listening to some of his extensive history.
Saturday and Sunday are equally packed with talent. Some highlights for the Saturday performances are Courtney Barnett, an oscar-nominated Australian artist known for descriptive storytelling, Miike Snow, a Swedish indie pop trio, and the acclaimed electronic duo Odesza. On Sunday is an even more stacked setlist. Long Beach rapper Vince Staples is almost guaranteed to be a highpoint of Sunday; his concerts are said to always be extremely energetic experiences. Staples released his debut album Summertime 06 last year, and I would recommend giving it a listen. Other highlights for the day will be Disclosure, famous for their hit with Sam Smith “Latch,” R&B queen Janelle Monáe, famous for her concepts album ArchAndroid and collaboration with band fun. on their single “We Are Young”, and the LA sister band HAIM.
Boston Calling is not only a huge event in the Boston area, but also for the Milton community. Every year lots of Milton students navigate the T and find themselves at Government Center to listen to great music and even discover a band or two. Madeline Barnes (I) says that the festival is “an amazing excuse to spend an entire day with friends listening to music that sounds really good live”. The atmosphere at Boston Calling is extremely friendly, and even if you don’t know many of the artists who are performing, there is no better place to be this Memorial Day weekend. Sophia Wilson Pelton (II) adds that Boston Calling is “a good festival for teens, plus it’s nice that it’s in the city”.
If you are looking to attend Boston Calling this year, tickets can be purchased on their website. Daily tickets run $60 for Friday, and $85 for Saturday and Sunday tickets. This year’s festival really shows the progression Boston Calling has made since its first showing, and I look forward to seeing how the festival progresses in the next couple of years.
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