Memorial Day weekend has become synonymous with one of the biggest festivals on the east coast. With three prefect weather days, this year was no exception. Having the pleasure of attending the massive lineup that was Boston Calling, here are some of the most unique things I saw and ate during the three days.
It all starts with the music. The artists that took over the Harvard sports complex in 2023 covered a lot of ground. Literally, with five stages, but also in terms of genres. Almost every one represented. Though the Foo Fighters and Lumineers gave the ocean of people everything they could’ve wanted and more, there was a back-to-back on Saturday’s Red Stage that rings loudest for me. Mt. Joy hit just a golden hour was descending upon us. Their 14-song set matched the lighting and mood perfectly, combing hits like “Lemon Tree” and sing-a-long covers.
Next on the Red Stage, was Alanis Morissette. She hadn’t played Boston proper in roughly ten years. Morissette brought a rocking mix of ’90s nostalgia and emotion to her 17-song set.
Boston Calling makes a solid effort to showcase local cuisines. This includes small business, food trucks, and homegrown chefs. If New England seafood is not your thing at a concert, you had plenty of other choices. In fact, it’s hard to think of a cuisine type that was not present on the festival grounds.
Furthermore, many beverage distributors made their festival presence an experience. Watching a set from the Truly top deck allowed you to really take in the crowd. The same held true for the Jack Daniels tavern that rested alongside the VIP area stage right of the Green Stage.
The X Factors
Over the course of three days, and roughly 30 hours, there was rarely a time where the primary merch tent was not packed with people. I note this to emphasize how good a job Boston Calling does in creating their own merch line. It offers custom gear each year that is specific to that lineup. They have an attractive bulldog logo mixed with color schemes that make both the hoodie and poster desirable.
Lastly, the little things are big differentiators. For example, the Tivoli Audio Orange stage offered artist interviews and the ability to catch some of the best up-and-coming local bands. Local brands like Hey Dude footwear had great products on display that you can try on, learn about and purchase.
The home page of Boston Calling now reads, See You Next Year. As we eagerly await a new lineup announcement in a few months, let’s take a further look at the most unique things I saw at Boston Calling 2023.