Our guide to navigating Boston Calling 2018!

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With a preamble of the Natalie Portman curated Boston Calling Film Festival which comes to a close tonight, the city is buzzing as the ninth installment of Boston Calling kicks off tomorrow night with names like Maggie Rogers, Paramore and The Killers and other huge names through out the festival. While Boston Calling has always been known for music, this year there is also a huge component in the arena of comedy each day and all the foods you could ever eat. How is it even possible to navigate it?

That’s where we come in! I’ve put together a guide of the highlights of the festival but if you’ve already completely coordinated your schedule like most I know, just a quick tip! Come out to the show early! There are some great acts/bands playing those 1:30, 2 pm sets that are just as deserving and consistently put on great live performances and you’ll regret it if you don’t!

First up, how could you not? It’s so cliché and I’m sure it’s on everyone’s list for the festival but I’m a walking cliché so it’s alright! Eminem is playing his first performance in New England in over TEN YEARS and what makes it even more special is the fact that he is the closing act of the whole shebang. With his latest record featuring so many other great artists, maybe there will be a surprise guest even? Either way, I’m sure we are in for a set of classics, newbies and some great moments from this iconic artist.

Just before him, on the stage right next to him will be 19 year old sensation Khalid who just last year played an incredibly intimate sold out performance at the Middle East upstairs for his first tour. With P.Diddy giving him a shout out on his Snapchat just a day before that performance, it was clear he was meant for instant success. His debut record, “American Teen”, has sprung so many huge tracks and it’s sure to be a treat to catch the two in back to back performances!

The Boston presence is strong on this year’s festival lineup with STL GLD, Moe Pope’s new project, last minute addition Cousin Stizz who is stepping in due to Stormzy dropping out due to illness, and Portland/Boston mainstays Weakened Friends! All three will take the stage the last day of the festival and all three bring something completely different yet magical. STL GLD and Weakened Friends are back to back so don’t fret over having to choose one! Make sure you get to the big show early each day since you never know who will be the next artist to blow up, just a few years ago Halsey was the 1 pm slot and she’s only one of the biggest female artists out there right now.

Tomorrow kicks off the festival strong and is a beyond stacked evening. With heavy weights Paramore, The National (who actually helps curate the festival each year), Portugal. The Man and The Killers all on the same night…are you kidding me? Catch me spinning like Hedgehog from the Blue stage for Paramore across the grounds to the Green stage for The Killers to close out the night!

The punk presence is strong through out the festival which this Warped tour lover can really appreciate. Be it long stays Manchester Orchestra and The Menzingers on Saturday to Citizen on Friday. While Citizen and Manchester Orchestra can sometimes be a bit more mellow of an affair in the best of ways, if you want a reason to form a mosh pit and get weird, The Menzingers will fit that bill perfectly for you. With long time Boston favorites Belly being the next band on their stage, you may get some disapproving looks but don’t let that stop you. The band is easily one of the craziest live band performances I’ve ever experienced and I’ll be right there with you!

Now this year as we know, it’s not just music. In the arena, everyone from heavyweights like Bridgett Everett and Cameron Esposito will be performing as well as the curator herself, Natalie Portman “and friends” as it’s billed. While Portman was supposed to be doing a series of events at last year’s festival, she is clearly making up for it in a huge way with the film festival and the great acts she’s pulled together for this year’s affair and I’ll most definitely be checking out a lot of this element of the fest too. Wristbands are at a first come, first serve basis outside the arena every day with just 1,000 but don’t fret! These wristbands give all day access where you can come and leave as you please but the arena can still hold around 2,000 others. The only catch is that you would have to wait in line and be allowed in as the capacity allows so make sure you pick up that wrist band if there are certain acts you want to see, especially if they are closing out the night!

To wrap it up, while there is so much entertainment going on each day, don’t forget to hydrate and feed yourself! There are over 150 options at this year’s festival so you can definitely mix it up each day and while you should definitely enjoy the wine and beer offerings, make sure you keep water flowing too! There will be water available for sale as well as free water stations if you bring a empty water bottle or for unlimited refills on that first water purchase!

I’ll be posting daily wrap ups each morning of the festival so definitely come back for those and hope to see so many smiling faces all weekend! Just one more sleep!

About Author


Colleen has been writing about music since 2009. Interviewing bands since the glory days of Warped and has continued to do so for now over fourteen years. As well as doing freelance for other publications, the love for everything rock continues today.