Music Festival Returns to City Hall Plaza After Initial Success
Published: Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 5, 2013 10:09
After its first successful run this past May, the Boston Calling Music Festival will return to City Hall Plaza this weekend in a continued effort to meet the demand for a festival in Boston. Boston Calling is a two-day festival that will launch at 12:50 p.m. on both Sept. 7 and 8. College students in Greater Boston will have a more readily available opportunity to attend the festival than during the festival’s inaugural outing, which took place in late May after many college students had already left the region. With college students present in droves this time around, the second installment of Boston Calling could top attendance at the first, which added up to around 19,000 people.
“We anticipate a great crowd this weekend,” said Brian Appel, co-founder of Crash Line Productions and the festival.
Organizers have drawn a total of 20 acts from a variety of genres.
“We never wanted to be pigeonholed or typecast as one specific genre of music,” Appel said. “We feel that this lineup is reflective of what’s current and important in music.”
Reflecting this sentiment, musical acts at the festival range from the indie alternative of Vampire Weekend to the rap of the much talked about Kendrick Lamar.
Appel and co-founder Mike Snow, who were colleagues together at WFNX, had already begun booking acts for the upcoming Boston Calling before the first one occurred. “It was definitely the initial vision to do it twice a year,” Appel said.
With Boston having formerly lacked a music festival to match the likes of Chicago’s Lollapalooza or New York’s Governors Ball, a smaller festival occurring twice a year was considered to be within the city’s resources and a reasonable way to fill that void.
Aaron Dressner, guitarist of The National and one of the curators for Boston Calling, told The Boston Globe last February that when Appel and Snow reached out to him to be curator he found it “odd that there wasn’t a major annual festival in the Boston area, just because it is such a great music scene.”
Appel and Snow wanted to create a defining outlet for music in Boston. “It was our initiative from the get-go that local Boston artists were going to be included in Boston Calling,” Appel said.
With organizers bringing the festival to life for a second time, Appel said that production has gone smoothly, and noted that there will be some changes at the upcoming festival.
“We changed the entrance so that now it’s over on Congress Street,” he said, adding that organizers have done away with using the existing city hall stage, which is not conducive to the festival’s size and faces a direction that is not ideal.
Attendees can also expect a range of food vendors, including one run by Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, and a beer garden for those of legal drinking age.
When talks began between Boston Calling’s founders and Mayor Thomas M. Menino for the first festival, Appel said that Menino’s first concern was “public safety.”
“Once we had built up the relationship with the mayor’s office, he became more and more receptive to making [the festival] a reality,” Appel said. Menino even made an appearance at the first Boston Calling festival. “We were honored that he came out on stage in May,” Appel said.
Appel, who moved to Boston from San Diego in 2003, found the transition away from the sunny beaches of California to a wintrier Boston to be jarring. “Now,” he said, “I can’t really picture myself living anywhere else.”