Boston Calling blew up its original model when it moved the festival to Harvard in 2017. Now the lineup finally feels as big as the space does.
With headlining sets from Foo Fighters on Friday, Rage Against The Machine on Saturday, and Red Hot Chili Peppers on Sunday, the 2020 edition of the three-day, Memorial Day weekend festival carries strong vibes of it’s predecessors: the WBCN River Rave, the WFNX Hatch Shell shows, and our beloved WBOS EarthFest. And I’m not just talking about the big 90s energy.
Boston Calling has always boasted balanced, eclectic lineups. Truth be told, my favorite iterations of the festival were the earliest versions, held twice a year at City Hall Plaza. And there were some amazing acts, both in the upper and lower tiers. But I’d argue there hasn’t ever been a trio of bona-fide, putting-asses-in-seats headliners the way there is this year. Foo, Rage, and RCHP have those credentials.
And that’s where the focus will land, understandably. But the undercard is solid this year, too. The 1975, Liam Gallagher, Run The Jewels, and Jason Isbell are nothing to sneeze at. Festivals all over the country are chided–and rightly so–for underrepresentating female artists. Seeing Brittany Howard, Sharon Van Etten, Banks, Jay Som, and girl in red on this year’s lineup is inspiring. And the clutch of local acts, ranging from Boston rock stalwarts like Dinosaur Jr. and The Sheila Divine to new acts like Camp Blood and Cliff Notez to popular DJs like Frank White and DJ Knife is encouraging.
The flipside? Ticket’s ain’t cheap. But it’s Rage Against The F*cking Machine. Live. In Boston. So you get what you pay for. Or, you just win tickets from us. Either way, I’ll see you at Boston Calling.