Boston Calling Festival Review

Photo by Jill Noorily

Photo by Jill Noorily

A couple months ago, I saw an advertisement for a music festival called “Boston Calling.” I had never heard of the festival before, but curiosity led me to looking at the lineup. Chance the Rapper, Cage the Elephant, the XX, the 1975, and Bon Iver were just a few of the many artist names that caught my eye. I couldn’t believe that I had never heard of a festival with such an amazing lineup and so I made it my mission to attend. Both of my siblings were determined to go once they saw the lineup as well, so we booked a bus to Boston and bought some festival tickets.

The festival was located on several of Harvard’s athletic fields and the large grounds hosted 3 large stages along with several tents and open field area. Walking into the festival on the first day, you could feel the energy in the air. We arrived around 3:00pm just in time to see Lucy Dacus and Francis and The Lights. Because the stages were so wide, it was pretty easy to make your way to the front. I had only recently heard of Francis and The Lights from the track he did with Bon Iver called “Friends.” After just the first song he played, I fell in love with his music and energy. My favorite song he performed was definitely “See Her Out,” a unique piece with basic electronics and soft vocals.

On the first day there were rumors that Solange was being replaced with Migos, but there wasn’t any confirmation until just about an hour before they went on. I don’t consider myself a Migos fan, but I was interested in seeing their stage presence. I would have to say it was the strangest performance I ever experienced. Although the music was decent, they were mostly just speaking into the microphones as they paced the stage. Really nothing to be hyped about in my opinion. After they finished their set, we decided to make our way towards another stage where Bon Iver was performing. Given that I have seen Bon Iver before live, I wasn’t that impressed with the actual performance, but the music was great as expected. Chance was scheduled to come on around 9:20pm and so we decided to leave Bon Iver around 8:00pm and sprint to the front of the stage Chance was performing at. We somehow got lucky and managed to get to the front barricade. After waiting for what seemed like a year, he came out and caught the attention of thousands in the crowd. Not only did he play his newest tracks off of Coloring Book, but he also made sure to play some of his old classics such as “Sunday Candy.

After a day of pure excitement and fun, we couldn’t believe there were still two days left of music. A few months ago I found out about this band called Oh Wonder. Through the past couple months I have been listening to their music on repeat. Their new album Ultralife is coming out in July and a few songs have already been released. Their performance on Saturday was magical and I’m sure it converted several audience members into Oh Wonder fans.

Following their set, The XX, The 1975, and Mumford and Sons played one directly after another. There was constantly music playing and because of this the night flew by. After listening to The XX live, I have really given their music a second chance. Although their indie electronic style is not something I would listen to everyday, I do have a newfound appreciation for their songs. The 1975 performance was also interesting to see given that I had not previously listened to that much of their music. They had a lot of energy on stage and had a good amount of interaction with the crowd. The last performance of the night, Mumford and Sons was exceptional. You could feel the anticipation in the crowd before they took stage and people of all ages pushed towards the front. Although we weren’t close to the stage, the well known sounds of the banjo and guitar radiated through the entire festival grounds.

After two days of continuous energy, we were a bit burnt out. Cage the Elephant was the just about the only band I was looking forward to on Sunday. After seeing them at the Central Park SummerStage just about a year ago, I knew the how energized they could get the audience. They came on in the late afternoon and didn’t hesitate to play some of their big hits such as “Trouble” and “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked.” The Sunday headliner, Weezer, I wasn’t too excited about, so we ended up leaving the festival pretty early on Sunday night. Overall the weekend was pretty insane. It greatly exceeded my expectations and I am already eager to see who will appear on the lineup for next year.