The Boston Calling music festival is always a great time, and this year was no exception. The festival was during Memorial Day weekend - so I’ve had some time to reflect on the experiences - and here are my takeaways:
- The daytime shows on Friday were great: Mura Masa, Lord Huron, Christine and the Queens, CHVRCHES, and the bizarrely fantastic Greta Van Fleet all rocked.
- Saturday started a little slow, but closed out with Anderson Paak, ODESZA, and Tame Impala. Paak’s show was a party, I wouldn’t be surprised if he started to headline large festivals soon. ODESZA has a special importance to Jess and I, since they played shortly after we got engaged last year. And lastly, Tame Impala was a spiritual experience - top notch performance, music, lights - superb.
- Sunday was ... complex. The daytime music didn’t impress us (but maybe we didn’t pick the right stages). Brandi Carlile saved the evening with a solid rock and roll show. We weren’t fans of the Sunday headliner, Travis Scott, but we watched a few songs from a distance; and we were amazed to feel the ground literally undulating after big moments in his show. Woah, that’s how you know the fans are into it. We finished the night at a DJ set by Chromeo - exceeded expectations!
- As always, music festivals are just as much about friends and relationships as they’re about music. Lucky for us, we were with great friends all weekend.
- Unexpectedly, Boston Calling was a growing opportunity for me! My office had a super busy weekend while I was at the festival. Despite all the fun, I sometimes had a hard time turning work off in my head - which is completely my fault! This is something I’ll continue to work on.
- Like last year, Boston Calling did a good job keeping security, bathroom, and food lines manageable, the music (generally) started on time, sound quality was good, and transportation to and from the festival was always easy. However, the festival had a dance music mini-stage last year that was completely gone this year, plus a few strips of food vendors were gone this year. So it felt a tiny bit “scaled back”.
- In comparison to other music festivals, Boston Calling is lacking character. The little branding it does have (ie, the dog wearing a bowler hat) isn’t compelling - it’s boring! The festival could really use some interesting non-music attractions to get people talking. The festival is located in Harvard’s athletic fields, and sometimes it feels like the theme of the festival is “athletic complex”.
- I’d hate to end on a negative note - so let me just reiterate that Tame Impala is incredible.