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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Boston Calling Music Festival offers diverse array of music

Performances vary from dance-pop group Passion Pit to hip-hop rapper Kendrick Lamar.

Performances vary from dance-pop group Passion Pit to hip-hop rapper Kendrick Lamar.

On Sept. 7 and 8, City Hall Plaza will host the second Boston Calling Music Festival. The festival’s website describes it as a “two-day, two-stage festival featuring some of the biggest and best acts in live music,” adding, “The event will be one big party with easy access to stages, food, services, and more.”
The first festival in May had more than 19,000 people in attendance at the plaza. There could be even more at this month’s festival because of the diverse array of music being offered.
“You got all these students coming back and these people who were not here in May getting a chance to come here in September. So you create a little bit of variety in the lineup expanding what we had in May and getting R&B and hip-hop,” said Brian Appel, co-producer of Boston Calling.
The lineup of musicians is varied compared to the more alternative-genre music in the May lineup. The September headliners include Vampire Weekend on Saturday and Passion Pit on Sunday. Kendrick Lamar will also be playing, and Solange too. Sunday will feature DJs Major Lazer and Wolfgang Gartner.
The music isn’t the only thing changing at the second Boston Calling event. There will be new food vendors and an extended beer lineup. The reshaped festival is all the work of Appel and producing partner Mike Snow, who listened to what people said after the May shows.
“We took a lot of suggestions from the public and from partners and vendors of ours and changed things around for the user who’s coming that was there in May is going to be like, ‘Oh, I think they listened to the feedback from the crowd and did a lot of things differently here to make it better,’” said Appel.
One of the unique aspects of this Boston Calling is the venue, Boston City Hall Plaza. The festival may be the biggest ticketed event the plaza has ever hosted. It was Appel’s and Snow’s first choice to have Boston Calling there.
With the plaza’s concrete floor, there is no need to worry about muddy grounds because of rain, like there would be if a park were the venue. And the plaza is accessible from all of the MBTA subway lines. “We think it’s a good spot; it just needs a little bit of attention and love in order to get it set up properly,” said Appel.
As producer, Appel is enthusiastic to see all the performers. After all, he picked them. But when pressured to just choose one he’s really thrilled about, he chose The Gaslight Anthem.
“We’re really excited that they’re coming to play. They’re a little bit under the radar, and I think people are going to be really surprised when they see how high energy that band is,” said Appel.
Tickets for Boston Calling are being sold for $130 for the whole weekend and $75 for each individual day. VIP passes are also being sold. Students can get a discount on a two-day pass for $99 by entering the code COLLEGE at this link. Can’t afford the tickets? You could win a pass by helping to promote the festival in a Jamplify competition.
Volunteers for the festival also get to enjoy the weekend for free. “People come and help us out for a couple of hours and then get to spend the weekend for free. It’s been a big part of our success,” said Appel.
And next year? “We’re starting to have those conversations now but we really aren’t focusing on it until we get through with our September event,” said Appel.