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Boston Calls For An Outdoor Music Scene

This article is more than 7 years old.
Fans cheer for The National, Boston Calling's last performing band until September. (Emma-Jean Weinstein/WBUR)
Fans cheer for The National, Boston Calling's last performing band until September. (Emma-Jean Weinstein/WBUR)

BOSTON — In a space many consider an eyesore, the Boston Calling Music Festival offered a moment of joy and celebration for the city. Though it is rare to find rock stars decked out in fleeces, sweaters, scarves and rain jackets throughout a performance, rain boot-clad audience members danced and sang their way through a cold and rainy Memorial Day weekend in City Hall Plaza.

Everyone entering the festival was screened by security wands and underwent bag checks. Boston Calling's cofounder, Mike Snow, told Radio Boston's Anthony Brooks that these safety measures were added after the Boston Marathon bombings to ensure the event's security.

Ra Ra Riot takes the stage as the sun comes out during Boston Calling. (Emma-Jean Weinstein/WBUR)
Ra Ra Riot takes the stage as the sun comes out during Boston Calling. (Emma-Jean Weinstein/WBUR)

Inside the venue, City Hall's architecture allowed crowds to seat themselves on waves of steps throughout the plaza. Sunday began with strong winds and periodic drizzles, but blue sky peeked through the clouds as Ra Ra Riot took the stage in mid-afternoon and people began dancing.

One could define the festival as a "hipster dance party." There wasn't much in the way of diversity, and that could be attributed to the relatively homogeneous line-up. But it looks like that might be changing.

A fan waves an Icelandic flag for the Icelandic group, Of Monsters And Men. (Emma-Jean Weinstein/WBUR)
A fan waves an Icelandic flag for the Icelandic group, Of Monsters And Men. (Emma-Jean Weinstein/WBUR)

Before The National began playing what would be the last set of the festival, a promotional video played on the Jumbotrons. It was an announcement that Boston Calling would be holding another festival in City Hall Plaza in just a few short months.

The line-up includes indie pop favorites such as Passion Pit and Vampire Weekend, but there will be other acts that stray from the norm. Major Lazer, Kendrick Lamar and Solange, just to name a few.

The return in September marks a concerted effort to improve Boston's music scene. With an enormous biannual festival in the heart of downtown, Boston Calling might be just what the city needs.

This program aired on May 27, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.

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