After a very successful and well-attended Boston Calling Music Festival last spring, the organizers announced that they would be holding a second festival in the fall. I stumbled upon the announcement as I was studying for finals and going stir-crazy on the fourth floor of the Rock. Maybe it was the killer line-up or the fact that I hadn’t seen the light of day in what felt like ages, but regardless, I vowed to myself that I would be standing (or mostly sitting… let’s be real) among that trendy crowd in the coming fall. Here are five things I learned from attending this authentically New England music festival:
1) Take advantage of the free swag. I took way too many bags of chocolate gems, which supposedly have the same amount of energy as a cup of coffee, and proceeded to eat too many of them because they actually tasted pretty good. I also had way too much fun playing with a bunch of sponsored photo booths (see picture above). At events like these, sign up to win random give-aways, and don’t be scared to throw in a fake e-mail address or two. Who cares? And so what? Because festivals have so many acts, if you can temporarily leave your spot in the crowd, walking around helps break up the time in between acts and keeps you busy.
2) Figure out a transportation plan days before your concert. If you’re venturing to Boston, be sure to check the times that the commuter rail is running, especially on weekends. The commuter rail often stops running early Saturday nights and starts again early Sunday afternoon. If this doesn’t mesh with your schedule (it most likely won’t if you want to see a Saturday night concert), try looking at the Amtrak schedule. Regardless, give yourself ample time to scramble for alternatives.
3) Be sure to look up the festival’s location before buying a ticket. If I had known before arriving that I would have been able to hear the festival’s music reverberating throughout the center of Boston without needing to enter the concert area, then I might have not bought a ticket. Don’t get me wrong, I am very glad I did—being a part of the crowd and seeing the bands up close was an incredible experience—but it might have also been cool to take a trip into the city, bring a picnic basket, and camp outside the festival’s gates… for free.
4) Sometimes it’s fun to not know every band performing. Months before going to concerts, I usually love to listen extensively to the music that I’m going to hear live to pump myself up and become well-acquainted with a band’s songs and style. Prior to Boston Calling, I thought I knew all of the bands that were playing so I didn’t bother doing any research; however, I had never really listened to The Gaslight Anthem. I had a really great time experiencing a lot of its songs for the first time live. Rather than singing along, I was able to absorb its music and get a feel for what it was all about. Before your next concert, if you don’t know the opening band, keep it that way for the time being and let it try to leave a lasting impact on you. If its performance falls short of your hopes and dreams, so be it.
5) Everyone should go see Local Natives live. No further explanation. You will thank me and then we will be best friends. I look forward to meeting you.