The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News



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Boston Calling music festival features Chappell Roan, Hozier, Reneé Rapp, more

Harriet Rovniak
Roan holds her right hand out toward the audience during her performance. Roan was joined by three band members, including bassist Allee Fütterer (left).

Over Memorial Day weekend, Boston hosted the annual Boston Calling music festival, headlined by Ed Sheeran, Tyler Childers and The Killers. The festival brought together music lovers from around the world and featured 51 performances across three days and four different stages.

Boston Calling was first established in 2013 and took place only a few weeks after the Boston Marathon Bombing April 15. It was one of the first large gatherings held in the city after the attack and was said to have brought joy and celebration to a city that was still grieving the losses suffered at the marathon. The festival was held for four years at City Hall Plaza until the event was officially moved in 2017 to the Harvard Athletic Complex in Allston.

The festival is spread out across the complex with the two main stages, the Green Stage and Happy Valley Red Stage, located at the center of the activity. The Allianz Blue Stage stood across the complex next to the ferris wheel, and the smaller Orange Stage in the middle of the grounds featured local artists from the Greater Boston area, like rock band Fleshwater and indie-pop musician Zola Simone. 

Friday, May 24

Boston Calling kicked off Friday with a set from rock group Divine Sweater. Between performers like singer-songwriter and actress Reneé Rapp and R&B artist Leon Bridges, Boston Calling guests could purchase food from over 30 local vendors and check out attractions like the House of Dunkin’ or the 100-foot tall ferris wheel. Dorchester rapper kei headlined the Orange Stage, paying homage to her Boston roots by wearing a Red Sox jersey for the performance. Spirits were high around the festival grounds as guests enjoyed the hot Memorial Day weekend weather and cold beverages from concession stands. An immense crowd filled almost the entire athletic complex when songwriting legend Ed Sheeran took the stage to close out the first day with a nearly 2-hour long set.

Sunday, May 26

On Sunday, breakout star Chappell Roan drew a staggering crowd at 4 p.m., followed by Megan Thee Stallion, Hozier, The Killers and more. Many fans remained in the space between the Green and Red stages to view as many of these performances as they could.

The third and final day of the festival reportedly brought crowds of over 40,000 people to the Harvard Athletic Complex. After the festival ended, some guests took to social media to complain about the size and spacing issues they faced Sunday. General admission wristband holders faced long lines for water, food and bathrooms, and many spoke out about how unsafe they felt in crowds that seemed impossible to move through. writer Kevin Slane wrote on the social platform X, “I imagine folks who were only there on Sunday didn’t enjoy the biggest, most impassable crowds I’ve ever experienced at the festival.” According to MassLive, a Boston EMS spokesperson said that there were nearly 800 medical encounters throughout the three day event, 412 of which happened on Sunday. 

Boston Calling organizers released a statement on X Tuesday afternoon to address the complaints. In their post, they wrote that the attendee count was “several thousand below the official capacity rating of the site.” Organizers vowed to work with public officials and their teams in order to improve the experience for next year’s event.

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