Vibrant, colorful flames, clouds of pink smoke and psychedelic sounds translated to a three-day all-out jam fest known as Boston Calling in Harvard’s Athletic Complex. Artists from famous rapper Eminem to alternative rock group The Killers performed in an eccentric and vivid act that manufactured a young crowd of thousands of Bostonians and visitors into a mosh.
From May 25 to 27, the festival featured artists from various genres to Harvard’s Athletic Complex in Allston to carry on a part of American culture in a weekend of chanting under the Boston sun. The headlining artists were Jack White, The Killers and Eminem. Every year, Suffolk University students attend Boston Calling to witness the immense amount of artists and genres present at the event.
“I was up front all day Saturday and it was like nothing I’ve ever experienced,” said junior government major Samantha Williams. “It was so surreal to feel the energy of the crowd and see some of my favorite artists that close.”
The 2018 Boston Calling had something for everyone. There were hip-hop and rock artists for those looking to go crazy in the hot weekend weather, and when that got to be too much, more laid-back alternative and indie artists resided just a stage or two over, providing a relaxing mood to an otherwise hectic event. If the music was getting too loud or being in the massive crowd became tiring, there were also comedians performing routines in an indoor tent. Over the course of three days, nearly 40 artists took the three stages to perform their sets.
“I got to see Taylor Bennett, Pond, Thundercat, Julien Baker, The Decemberists, The Fleet Foxes, and Eminem,” said junior theater major Liam Grimaldi. “I absolutely loved all of them. They all had their own kind of sound and groove but the variety was nice and never out of place.”
For those who were interested in rap, hip-hop artists Eminem and Tyler, The Creator performed their sets on Sunday and Saturday, respectively.
On the rainy, misty Sunday, the famous headlining artist Eminem brought the crowd back to the days of the early 2000s with an exhilarating set, rebirthing some of his classics, including songs “Without Me” and “Like Toy Soldiers,” as well as some of his newer music that was released in his album “Revival,” bringing the crowd back and forth between the past and the future. The rapper even addressed the rumors about his alleged relationship with Nicki Minaj that has flooded social media recently and took a poll from the crowd and asked, “Boston, how many of you want me to date Nicki Minaj?” Following the crowd’s uproar of screaming and ecstatic cheering, the rapper replied, “Me too. Nicki, if you get this message, just text me later, we’ll talk about it.” Minaj has since invited Eminem to collaborate for her upcoming album “Queen.”
A swell counterpart to the energetic tone of rap music, the event also held performances by Portugal. The Man on Friday, and The Decemberists on Sunday, artists who seemed to have the ability to take the massive, frenzied crowd and reconstruct it into in a more tranquil one. The song “Feel It Still” by Portugal. The Man was even used in the routines of Suffolk performing arts groups W!cked and the Suffolk University Dance Company (SUDC) throughout the 2017-2018 academic year in multiple shows.
Compared to the 2017 Boston Calling, which was rife with long-lines and wait times for bathrooms and food vendors, the 2018 Boston Calling saw massive improvements with better signage and more personnel to help direct the crowd traffic, making for a fantastic experience.
“I’d have to say that this year was incredibly better than last. There was virtually no line for anything and it felt like more people went this year,” said Grimaldi. “It was very easy to get around, and it wasn’t nearly as messy as it was last year. They made a great effort to try to make the festival better and they succeeded.”
Despite its small size compared to other national music festivals, Boston Calling was a complete success. With all different types of genres, a phenomenal staff and a great location, Boston Calling was the perfect way to spend the mostly sunny weekend.
“It was surreal to be able to see all these different genres of art and meet all the different people in just the span of 3 days,” said Williams. “It was my first time going to a musical festival and I’m so glad I chose to go to Boston Calling.”