Boston Calling 2021 Cancelled, Sights Set on 2022

Eman Abdurezak, Contributing Writer

As the warm spring and summer seasons approach, the question of how music festivals, concerts, and other large events are adapting to the pandemic emerges. For years, residents of the Greater Boston Area have looked forward to the annual tradition of watching so many of their favorite performers in one place, all while enjoying food, rides, and even visual art and comedy.

However, the Boston Calling Music Festival will be postponed yet another year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The popular music festival ordinarily occurs biannually during the fall and spring, since 2013, then annually in spring only, beginning in 2016. The organizers of the event have announced that those who purchased tickets will have their tickets rolled over to the 2022 festival, which is set to take place during Memorial Day weekend of that year (May 27th to 29th). Refunds were also provided to those who submitted requests during the beginning of March. 

In 2019, the event gathered over 40,000 festival goers with a lineup of 55 performers, including well-known artists such as Twenty One Pilots, Marina, Travis Scott, Logic, and Tame Impala. Boston Calling, as well as similar music festivals, namely Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Rolling Loud, and Lollapalooza Chicago are great opportunities for up-and-coming artists to gain exposure for their music and perform with more familiar artists. Some notable rising artists at the same 2019 Boston Calling were Clairo, Kilo Kish, Sasha Sloan and Cautious Clay, who have all grown their audiences since. 

On Monday, May 10th, Massachusetts will move into Phase 4 Step 1 of the reopening plan. This means that large venues such as the Harvard Athletic Complex in Allston (where Boston Calling is held) will be able to reopen with just 12% capacity, and eventually to 25% capacity. Of course because many travel from out of state to attend this musical celebration, getting the numbers of guests back up to what they were before would depend on the increasing permitted capacity of hotels, restaurants, and other attractions in the area. 

As Massachusetts residents journey through the reopening process, we can definitely expect to see a lot of “revenge traveling” in the next year. This is the concept of making up for lost time by vigorously traveling, going to local attractions, and spending time with large groups of people. It is anticipated that events like Boston Calling should not have problems reaching or even surpassing previous statistics upon their return, especially due to the automatic rolling over of tickets from this year.

Boston Calling released a statement February 22nd on their website, expressing their disappointment about this year’s festival, but alongside cautious optimism about the 2022 festival. “The health and safety of our entire community is always our top priority, and there was no appropriate scenario under which we could provide the Boston Calling experience you love and deserve,” they wrote.

I think next year should be fine, something to look forward to!

— Natalie Mazzei '23

Overall reactions to this announcement are generally of disappointment but understanding because of how expected, and frankly wise, this cancellation was. CRLS student Natalie Mazzei ’23 has wanted to attend the music festival for a couple of years, and shared her thoughts on the cancellation of this year’s festival. “It makes me kind of upset because I would be fully vaccinated so it would have been safe to go, but a lot of people aren’t so I can understand why it’s cancelled. Most artists haven’t been on tour for a long time, and I am not that confident that the lineup would be great. It’s just too soon, but I think next year should be fine, something to look forward to!”

While concertgoers wait eagerly for the return to normal, the pressure is on for Boston Calling to come back with the greatest event lineup yet.