Diverse lineup made Boston Calling 2016 the best one yet
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The 2016 Boston Calling Music Festival was probably the most exciting event yet. Not only was there a third stage added for local bands and comedians, but also concert-goers had the chance to try graffiti art and virtual reality glasses, which were cool experiences. There were booths raffling VIP tickets, gift cards, and other prizes.
This festival, held on May 27-29, even drew people from as far as Canada, Germany, and France. It was a perfect way for all music lovers to connect with others with a strong passion for music and fashion. Many people wore very casual clothing appropriate for the weather, such as shorts and a T-shirt or jeans and a sweat shirt. But, staying true to the nature of other, larger music festivals, such as Coachella and Sasquatch, there were also many people who wore flower crowns, shorts, and white flowing crop tops for all three days.
On the first day of the festival, Lisa Hannigan and Aaron Dessner performed in the early evening. They both played acoustic songs and calming music. Next, it was Sufjan Stevens and he had the most bizarre outfits. He was dressed like he was in a 1980s workout video. Suddenly, he was wearing silver streamers with a disco ball on his chest and then he was covered in balloons … literally covered in them. Later, Sufjan came out with more streamers and added more balloons on his body while standing on a ladder striking a pose. It was definitely a show filled with pizzazz on a very extravagant set.
The headlining artist for the night was Sia, who is known for her unique style of performance. Her face is always shielded from the audience and Sia does not dance while she is singing. Instead, her songs highlight different dancers used in her music videos. Sia’s most notable dancer is Maddie Ziegler, a young dancer who was featured on the TV reality show, “Dance Moms.”
The next two days featured 32 artists performing back-to-back on three stages. Among these on the second day were BØRNS, Courtney Barnett, City in Colour, Lady Pills, Odesza, and Robyn.
BØRNS’s background set had a cool 3D illusion and he sang two of his biggest hits, “Electric Love” and “10,000 Emerald Pools”. When BØRNS did a cover of “Heroes” by David Bowie, some people in the crowd closed their eyes while others danced to the music. After that, Courtney Barnett performed her acoustic songs. Next, City in Colour came on stage to play folk music and his most popular song, ”The Girl”.
As a lesser-known group, the local band Lady Pills drew a smaller crowd but performed on a more intimate set. Even lead singer Ella Boissonnault’s mother was there taking photos and recording videos.
When ODESZA performed, their upbeat music combined with incredible lighting produced a spectacular show. To end the night, Robyn sang one of her hit songs, “Dancing On My Own,” and the audience went wild.
On the final day of the festival, Vince Staples, The Front Bottoms, Elle King, Christine and the Queens, HAIM, and Disclosure performed.
Vince Staples, a rapper from California, hyped up the crowd. Afterward, The Front Bottoms, an indie rock band from New Jersey, sang and the fans danced to their favorite tunes. Later, Elle King performed on a Southern cowgirl set. She told the audience that many of her songs are about her past relationships and how they didn’t work out. Elle King sang her hit song “Ex’s and Oh’s,” which was amazing.
In the evening, Christine and the Queens joined Haim on the stage for their first song. They looked like one big, happy group of friends having a jam session. Then, Haim played their hit song “The Wire” as well as some new songs from their upcoming album.
When it was time for the final act to appear, the lights dimmed and the enormous crowd roared. Disclosure emerged onto the stage with their music timed to lighting capable of illuminating up to 18 houses. People waved glow sticks in the air and blow-ups surfed the crowd. The audience was ecstatic when Disclosure ended the night by performing “Latch,” their most famous and popular track.
What makes this festival so unique is the blending of well-known artists with smaller bands. This combination of talents offers the audience the opportunity to discover different genres of music all at a single location.
We will miss having the festival come semiannually to the heart of Boston, but we are also excited for the new locale at Harvard in Cambridge next year. We anticipate that the larger venue will bring more attention to the festival and provide concertgoers with an even more memorable experience.
–July 9, 2016–
Tatum Lee is a veteran member of the Raider Times (2013-17).