The Many Faces of Boston Calling

Disclosure at Boston Calling

Beyond the loud guitars ripping chords throughout City Hall Plaza, the flashing lights and smoke machines, the Boston Calling music festival is made great by one simple thing: the people.

This past weekend, thousands of people came out to see an eclectic mix of musical acts, ranging from the alternative hip hop of Lizzo, to the laid back folk songs of Sufjan Stevens. For three days straight, people poured into City Hall Plaza, packed shoulder to shoulder for this biannual event. This huge crowd of people was just as eclectic as the artists they came out to see. From my post, working at the Samuel Adams draft bar, I got to meet a great deal of them.

First came the early birds. Running through the gates as soon as they were admitted through security, these people were high energy from the beginning, cramming for front row spots at the opening show of the day. They were also first at the bar, ordering drinks without caring that it was barely noon.

Kiara and Gabby at Boston Calling

Kiara (left) and her friend Gabby waiting for Palehound at the Xfinity stage to open the festival on Saturday.

Then there were the old couples at Boston Calling who were trying to “stay young,” one of them jokingly said, as they made a show of displaying their 21+ wristbands. The best part about these people was that they didn’t care that they were amongst a crowd where most people were at least 20 years younger. In fact, these older festival goers were some of the most fun, dancing in front of the bar and getting right in the center of the action at the stages.

The most entertaining were the bar regulars, who kept coming back for round after round. Usually starting off as friendly and mild folks, after the third or fourth time coming back to the bar, they gradually transformed into their own musical or comedy acts. They saved us staff members, who didn’t get to see the majority of the festival, from tedious hours of working and were also usually the most generous tippers.

Other groups in the audience included the young working professionals, out to enjoy their long weekend, the families with young children (I met a sister who had brought her younger brother as his birthday gift– his very first concert) and the teens and pre-teens, who usually came in the most eye-catching outfits, with neon colors, headbands adorned with feathers and flowers and shiny metallic flash tattoos on their arms and legs.

At the end of the day, though, all of these people at Boston Calling had one huge thing in common: they had come for the music. Melting together into one crowd, all of these vastly different people came together as whichever artist ran out onstage with raised arms, shouting, “Hello, Boston!”


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Review overview