Looks like Boston Calling got sick of dial-up. In May 2017, our hometown music festival will move from City Hall Plaza over to Harvard University’s Athletics Complex. That means the concrete ground will be replaced with grassy fields along North Harvard Street. It’s a pricey exchange, one that leaves the festival unable to double dip and, instead, throwing the festival once a year now on Memorial Day weekend. With it comes plenty of changes, but some have us more excited than others.
SPACE (I BELIEVE IN)
With giant Ivy League fields comes a whole lotta space. Moving over to Allston allows Boston Calling to feel less cramped and, in the process, book acts that will draw even bigger crowds without upsetting our beloved BPD. Plus people who don’t buy festival tickets may get a better sound bite to chew on, but they won’t be able to see the stage screens anymore.
Hosting a music festival with dozens of elongated buildings around it looks cool. It doesn’t sound cool. All the delayed reverb and eerie echoes of City Hall will now be a thing of the past. Open-air festivals lend to a naturally swollen, warm, grandiose sound. Ditching a metallic wall is for the better.
A MOVIE SCRIPT ENDING
Boston Calling’s new location includes another type of expansion: film screenings. Producer, director, and Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman will curate a new film festival segment. Now when an artist who doesn’t fit your vibe takes the stage, you can camp out in a mini theater setup instead. Don’t forget your favorite candy.
OUTSIDE THE TRAINS DON’T RUN ON TIME
Government Center is smack dab in the heart of Boston. No matter where you were coming from, Boston Calling was easy to get to when the Blue Line, Green Line, Red Line, Orange Line, and Silver Line (!) all dumped you out less than a 10-minute walk away. Harvard’s fields in Allston are a 15-minute walk from the Harvard Square T stop. Looks like it’s time to buy a bike.
MAKE UP YOUR MIND
It’s only logical for the excess space to result in more stages. This past Boston Calling saw a third stage added for local acts and comedy sets. A fourth stage will likely pop up in Allston. That means overlapping performances are guaranteed. Everyone who takes longer than five minutes to decide what to order at a restaurant, you’re screwed when it comes to picking which band to watch.
DEAD LEAVES AND THE DIRTY GROUND
Arguably the best pro of a city-based festival is the lack of nature. Trees are pretty and grass is soft, but the moment more than a few hundred people trample on it, things get dirty… fast. Expect soaked shoes, mud-speckled legs, and a new hatred of rain.
Read our coverage of Day 1 (Sia!), Day 2 (Robyn!), and Day 3 (Janelle Monae!) from this year’s Boston Calling.