Boston Calling Music Festival
When the microphones turned on and thousands of people poured into City Hall plaza, the second installment of the Boston Calling Music Festival offered several story lines for people to follow. From the smaller local acts that captured the city like Bearstronaut, Viva Viva, and You Won’t, to the rise of EDM, and the crowning of Passion Pit as Boston’s latest music kings, everybody had something to cheer for.
Luckily for fans, this installment of the festival had perfect weather all weekend except for some chilly wind on Sunday. A revamped VIP package and a vibrant beer garden also helped create an environment that seemed to get richer and richer as each night progressed.
Each day of the festival featured a different sound. Saturday focused more on rock while Sunday highlighted more electronic music.
The common theme through both days was Boston’s importance to each artist. Vampire Weekend, Saturday night’s headliners, took a moment during their set to think back to how they had made their way up from playing at small Boston venues such as MFA’s Auditorium and the Middle East, to now headlining a festival in the middle of the city. The New York band then played a tribute for Bostonians with their song ‘Boston (ladies of Cambridge).’
As the sun started to set on Saturday night, Mayor Thomas Menino took the Blue Stage and introduced the harmonic Local Natives.
Sunday morning started with two energetic sets by Royal Teeth, and local band Bearstronaut. Playing in their hometown proved to be emotional for all involved. While on stage Bearstronaut admitted that playing at the festival was a “big deal” for them.
“Nerves were at an all time high; especially in those 10 minutes before we played,” the band said after their set. By the amount of merch people wore and their reaction to the set, it was easy to tell that Bearstronaut were one of the biggest winners of the weekend.
While Saturday was guitar driven, Sunday was made up of synths, DJs, and dancing. Flume’s beats got the crowd fired up before Flosstradamus and Major Lazer changed City Hall into a block party.
As event organizers tried to prevent the crowd from crowd surfing and jumping up on people’s shoulders, Flosstradamus asked them to do it anyways. Major Lazer even asked the audience to take off their clothes and throw them in the air. Another memorable moment proved to be when Diplo from Major Lazer jumped inside a plastic air bubble and navigated his way over the crowd.
The emotional climax of the weekend came when Passion Pit dedicated their set to the Boston Phoenix and WFNX. Passion Pit’s members must have remembered going to school and living downtown, not too far away from City Hall plaza. Reflecting on their roots must have been even more memorable for them as they headlined the festival, especially as the last performance of the event.
Overall, the mixture of music succeeded in drawing different types of crowds and diversifying the event. Although some customers complained about the price of the food and long lines, festival-goers were allowed reentry so that they could explore the city over the weekend as well.
Organizers are hoping to make the festival a twice a year event in the future. If they do, then it is highly recommend to just about any student. Boston’s music scene finally has a festival to call home.
Top 5 performances:
5. Local Natives
3. Passion Pit
2. Major Lazer
1. Vampire Weekend