Music 

PREVIEW: BOSTON CALLING

the-national

Of course you’re going 

There’s no point in introducing Boston Calling as though you’ve never heard of it: this is one of the most anticipated events in all of New England this summer. And rightfully so, because the lineup is completely stacked, the location—smack dab in the middle of City Hall Plaza—is unexpected, and even the mystique surrounding the thing is of unforeseeable proportions.

I mean, they got the freakin’ National to help curate. Did you think you could be more excited for this?

With less than a week before the gates open, it’s nearly sold out, save for a few VIP packages. That alone is an accomplishment for any first-time event. And while it’s not, strictly speaking, Boston’s first music festival, in terms of multi-day, big-name gatherings on par with the likes of Governor’s Ball or Coachella, Boston Calling is definitely a new one for us.

And as Brian Appel, co-founder of Crash Line Productions—the company putting on Boston Calling—told the Dig last week, getting to this point was no small task. “The process really begins first with the idea, which was developed over a couple years from concept,” he said. “And then, really, you can’t do anything without city approval. So it takes a long time to work through the channels in City Hall and the various departments to make sure this is a viable option … Once you have [city approval] things start to come together in different pieces.” With the marathon bombings such a recent and painful memory, Appel acknowledged that safety rightfully should—and will—be the primary concern for one of the first large-scale public events in Boston since the atrocities. But a good relationship with the city based on prior events that Appel and his Crash Line co-founder Mike Snow had already established helped garner cooperation from city officials, which helped make Boston Calling a reality.

The next step was curating the lineup. “We wanted it to be a festival that covered a couple of different genres,” said Appel. “[And] we wanted it to be a festival that wasn’t necessarily going to be a crowd that posed a dangerous threat to the middle of the city.”

Fortunately, one of the festival’s investors introduced its founders to The National, and after a meeting last year in New York, the band agreed not only to headline, but to take an active role in curating.

“Aaron [Dessner], the guitarist, has been very hands-on in terms of reaching out to bands that are interested in the festival,” said Appel. “Having the credibility of the National involved really helped ease a lot of bands’ [hesitations] about wanting to play a first-time festival.”

Criticism for omission of local music acts is a complaint that’s been echoed since Boston Calling was announced in February. The only two Mass.-based bands on the bill are Bad Rabbits and Caspian, the latter of which has a label and longstanding national recognition.

But, according to Bad Rabbits’ drummer, Sheel Davé, to focus on that aspect is to miss the point: “I don’t think there is a lack of local bands on the lineup. I think it is fitting,”

he told the Dig this week. “A lot of consumers aren’t willing to pay top-dollar to even see their favorite band anymore, so I think that artists (us included), especially on a local level, should always be focused on creating an experience for the people in the crowd. Even if it’s five people watching.”

Besides, only a city chock-full o’ music lovers can support a festival of this magnitude. And since this one’s gearing up to be a success, consider it a compliment to Boston’s taste. C’mon, you know you wouldn’t miss this.

BOSTON CALLING
PRESENTED BY CRASH LINE PRODUCTIONS AND BOWERY BOSTON

SAT 5.25.13-SUN 5.26.13
CITY HALL PLAZA

GOVERNMENT CENTER
BOSTON
ALL DAY/G.A. ALL AGES, VIP 21+/PRICES VARY
@BOSTON_CALLING
BOSTONCALLING.COM

About CADY DRELL

Cady is the A+E Editor. You can send her an email at any time, as she gets separation anxiety when away from her phone longer than 30 seconds.
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