This weekend’s Boston Calling (BC) festival must have already “arrived,” even though it’s just in its second year. Entertainment Weekly is naming it in the same breath as other 2014 Memorial Day weekend aural orgies like Rocklahoma (Pryor, Okla.), Electric Daisy Carnival (NewYork) and Sasquatch! (George, Wash.).
But BC is looking more and more like just the highest-priced of a slew of local start-to-summer bashes, judging from all the satellite parties leading up to, during, and following it. So, if you couldn’t afford passes to the big show this weekend or just don’t fancy elbowing your way through 20,000 rowdies at Government Center, that doesn’t mean you can’t par-TEE.
Both editions of Boston Calling 2014 will span three days this year (after a pair of two-day festivals in 2013) on City Hall Plaza, its admittedly far-from-cool venue. Headliners include Jack Johnson (May 23), Death Cab for Cutie (May 24), and Modest Mouse (May 25). This spring’s “mystery band” was revealed to be The Decemberists, in their first live performance since 2011 and their only festival appearance of 2014. Saturday and Sunday there will be bands playing on both the Red and Blue Stages.
As they did last year, BC organizers have been sponsoring free Boston Calling Block Parties in Dewey Square every Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. leading up to this weekend’s invasion. A glance at its Facebook page shows sizeable post-work throngs on the Rose Kennedy Greenway taking in the free music and beverages while grooving to live local bands.
Mayor Martin Walsh has applauded the block party change of venue from Downtown Crossing, saying, “The popular Block Party Series’ move to Dewey Square, where food trucks and the Boston Public Market already bring people together, will add additional energy to the square. It will create a new environment for friends to gather after work, and will make the Rose Kennedy Greenway and our whole city even more vibrant.”
These Thursday gatherings (which run through September) will keep the momentum going up to the Fall BC (Sept. 5-7), which will headline The National and 17-year-old New Zealand sensation Lorde, whose hit “Royals” won a Grammy and a Billboard Top Rock Song. Other attractions include The Replacements, Nas x the Roots, and Neutral Milk Hotel.
Tickets to the Fall BC are already almost as scarce as the ones to the Spring events.
The rowdy, Lynn-based Tigerman WOAH and Magic Man are the only two local acts performing at the spring BC. But the impressively bearded Tigerman is also the headliner at their own free “Boston Clawing” festival at Ned Devine’s, presented by Narragansett and the team behind the SXNE party down in Austin, Texas. Boston Magazine has dubbed it the “anti-prom” to the City Hall Plaza show.
The lineup of “Boston Clawing” includes Oldjack, the Life Electric, Parlour Bells, Eddie Japan, the Silks, Chadley Kolb of Coyote Kolb, Airport, Friendly People and more bands TBA.
As if all this weren’t enough, Allston businesses are simultaneously holding their own 15-band “Awesome Day Fest.” So, no one in Boston should have to go to bed without loud music this weekend.