Music

All weekend long, we’ll be sharing the best photos, videos, and stories from Boston Calling 2024.

The Flaming Lips launch a large inflatable ball into the crowd at Boston Calling 2023.
Boston Calling 2024 will be held Friday through Sunday at Harvard Athletic Complex. Erin Clark/Globe Staff

Believe it or not, Memorial Day weekend is already upon us, which means Boston Calling 2024 is here.

The city’s premier music festival will bring more than 50 artists to the Harvard Athletic Complex in Allston this weekend, with English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, folk-country artist Tyler Childers, and arena rock stars The Killers headlining Friday, Saturday, and Sunday’s lineups, respectively.

Whether this is your first or your tenth time at Boston Calling, our guide to Boston Calling 2024 will give you all the information you need to make the most of your festival experience.

Even if you’re not going to make it to Lower Allston this weekend, Boston.com will be at the festival grounds all three days providing live updates on the best performances, the must-try food, the forward-thinking fashion, and more.

Be sure to check back throughout the weekend as we add photos, videos, and interviews featuring all your favorite artists at Boston Calling 2024.

Jump to coverage of: Friday | Saturday

Saturday

Trey Anastasio and Classic TAB keep the evening’s instrumental streak going

Saturday, 9:00 p.m.

In 90 minutes, many bands could play a couple dozen songs, maybe even more. Phish frontman Trey Anastasio and Classic TAB, his trusty backers, performed eight. 

They didn’t need any more than they performed. Each song was extended into a minutes-long master class in instrumental jamming with the help a magnetic performance from the quartet. 

Anastasio is one of the top 60 guitarists of all time, according to Rolling Stone, and his Boston Calling performance proved that. He did not stop riffing for the entire set, showing Boston Calling’s crowd that sometimes, a good instrumental performance is just what you need to cap off a long Day 2. 

Festival-goers danced to the band all evening, both with a partner or to the beat of their own — or rather, longtime Anastasio collaborator Russ Lawton’s — drum. Bass and keyboard solos from Dezron Douglas and Ray Paczkowski, respectively, quickly became highlights of the set.

The band performed Phish songs from “Sand” and “Everything’s Right” to “Blaze On” and the set’s finale, “Ghost.”

Anastasio’s joy to be on the Red Stage was obvious: His grin nearly never left his face, and the band’s set ended three minutes late due to a final explosive, high-energy guitar solo from the frontman.

Khruangbin lets the music speak for itself in funky, fever dream set

Saturday, 8 p.m.

With the instrumentals taking the lead, Khruangbin didn’t need many words to leave the crowd swaying and swooning at Boston Calling on Saturday. 

The musical trio from Texas is known for its strong instrumentals – Laura Lee Ochoa on bass, Mark Speer on guitar, and Donald Johnson on drums. Together, the trio created a funky, fever dream experience that left the crowd grooving and gliding to the beats. 

Fog machines and graphics such as moving clouds on the stage screens added to the dreamlike vibe. The set itself resembled Khruangbin’s fourth studio album, “A LA SALA,” with big window structures, which the trio stepped out of at the start.

Some the songs performed included “Pon Pón,” “Lady and Man,” “Evan Finds the Third Room,” and “People Everywhere (Still Alive).” 

Ochoa and Speer practically floated around the Green Stage throughout the trio’s 60-minute set, working the crowd and complimenting each other’s each and every move. They also floated around Johnson on drums with Ochoa even kissing him on the cheek at one point. 

Check out a couple clips from the set below:

Paper Lady brings fresh indie, rock sounds to the Orange Stage

Saturday, 6:30 p.m.

As they performed to an attentive Orange Stage crowd, Boston-based band Paper Lady couldn’t help but rock out.

The six-piece indie-alternative-rock group used every minute of their half-hour set to let the crowd know who they were: a band that performs genre-defying “noisy freak folk” and “driving dream rock.” Three-part harmonies and basslines that the crowd could feel in their chest permeated through their songs — frontwoman Alli Raina screaming into her guitar was the icing on their rock-influence cake.

“Five of Swords” and “Violet,” songs off Paper Lady’s EP, encouraged the audience to rock out as hard as the band themself, head-bopping and jumping up and down becoming common as the set progressed.

Paper Lady also covered psychedelic rock band Jefferson Airplane’s hit “White Rabbit.” Raina, who dedicated the song to her father in the audience, stripped away her guitar and kept her hands behind her back as she showcased her impressive vocals.

A full-length album is currently in the works for Paper Lady. They gave the audience a little preview of the work by performing “Silk,” one of the album’s tracks.

A Harvard Square fixture is reborn at Boston Calling 2024

Saturday, 4:45 p.m.

The star attraction among the many brand activations at Boston Calling 2024 is undoubtedly the House of Dunkin’. For the second year in a row, the two-story coffee haven has boasted longer lines than every single concession stand at the festival.

But in terms of paying respect to the festival’s Harvard confines, Red Bull deserves some kudos for reviving Out of Town News to hand out free energy drinks to the music-loving masses.

Out of Town News closed in 2019 after 64 years of selling newspapers, magazines, and other goodies in the heart of Harvard Square. But for one weekend, it was temporarily reborn, thanks to Red Bull.

A video recap of Boston Calling 2024

Saturday, 4 p.m.

Here’s Boston.com’s video recap of Boston Calling 2024 Day 1, featuring Ed Sheeran, gorgeous ferris wheel views, and sushi nachos.

Here’s the Saturday schedule for Boston Calling 2024

Saturday, 1:30 p.m.

The festival grounds are now open for Day 2 of Boston Calling 2024. If you’re already in Allston, head to the Red Stage, where Senseless Optimism kicks off the music at 1:45 p.m.

Tyler Childers closes out the day from the Green Stage at 9 p.m., with other notable performances including Jessie Murph (7:35 p.m., Blue Stage), Trey Anastasio & Classic Tab (7:15 p.m., Red Stage), and Khruangbin (6:05 p.m., Green Stage).

Check out the full schedule and set times for Saturday at Boston Calling 2024.

The Saturday lineup at Boston Calling 2024.
The Saturday lineup at Boston Calling 2024. – Boston Calling

Check out photos from Day 1 of Boston Calling

Saturday, 1 p.m.

From Reneé Rapp addressing her relationship with Boston to Ed Sheeran pushing the crowd to lose their voices on the first night, Boston Calling 2024 has already been full of memorable moments. 

Boston.com will continue to share sights and sounds throughout the festival via this live blog, as well as an updating festival photo scroll.

Dorchester rapper kei, center, performs at Boston Calling on Friday.
Dorchester rapper kei, center, performs at Boston Calling on Friday. – Erin Clark/Globe Staff
Renee Rapp performs on the first day of Boston Calling.
“I Hate Boston” singer Renee Rapp performs on the first day of Boston Calling. – Erin Clark/Globe Staff
Fans listen with excitement as Young the Giant performs at Boston Calling on Friday.
Fans listen with excitement as Young the Giant performs at Boston Calling on Friday. – Erin Clark/Globe Staff

Ed Sheeran commands the main stage, encourages crowd to lose voice on first night of Boston Calling

Saturday, 7 a.m.

Between mentioning lobster rolls and the Celtics, and wearing a flannel on a rather warm day in May, Ed Sheeran wasn’t just “Thinking Out Loud” at Boston Calling on Friday; he was speaking a New England language. 

The English singer-songwriter commanded the stage as a headliner, leading the large crowd at Harvard Athletic Complex in claps, harmonies, and even encouraging them to lose their voices on the first night of the festival. 

Between acoustic love songs with his guitar in hand and high-energy raps with flashing lights and bright graphics on the screen, Sheeran’s love for music in all forms shined through.

In fact, if you weren’t paying close attention, you might not even realize that Sheeran stood alone on stage, sans any backing band. 

But despite the size of the audience and the power of his performance, Sheeran consistently made his sets feel intimate, walking festival-goers through his songwriting process and the stories behind some of the lyrics, and connecting with fans and strangers alike. 

The musician opened the show promptly – a minute early, even – at 8:39 p.m. with “Castle on the Hill.” 

As he does at most of his shows, the musician took time to welcome first-timers and introduce them to his loop station, which is controlled by his feet and allows him to record layers of beats and backing vocals for each song, live on stage. 

“Everything you hear today is completely live,” Sheeran explained of how he creates with the device, as he moved into his next song, “Shivers.” 

“There is no backing track whatsoever,” he explained. “It’s made live on the spot. It’s controlled by feet and at the end, it’s deleted and it will not be the same at the next gig.”

After playing “I’m a Mess” – a song he noted he wrote in the shower—Sheeran moved into “The A Team,” a track he wrote at the age of 18 that would go on to become his first hit.

“When I wrote this song, I knew I’d written something special,” he said, noting how he thought it would change his career. But when he first played it at an open mic in London, “no one cared. Not even that no one cared — no one was even looking at me.” 

Sheeran believed in the song though, so he kept playing it for months, until it turned into a minor hit and eventually a major global hit. 

During “Give Me Love,” Sheeran split the crowd into two sides and challenged them to compete for the loudest harmonies. 

From there, he moved into “Eyes Closed,” a track he wrote while grieving a friend’s death; a mashup of his song “Take It Back” with snippets of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” and Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine”; and “Parting Glass,” a traditional folk song. 

He then took a moment to thank the crowd for staying a bit quieter and just listening during those songs, saying “As a singer-songwriter, it’s all I’ve ever wanted for people to listen. The thing is, I grew up in England, and at English festivals, we don’t listen. We sing loud, we scream, we dance.” 

With his set a little more than halfway done, Sheeran then encouraged the crowd to be as loud as possible, saying, “I need everyone losing their voice tonight. I know there’s two more days, but I need tomorrow — you walking into the festival without a voice because you lost it tonight. 

“Which means, I don’t need you singing in tune. My job is to sing in tune; your job is to scream out of tune,” he declared. 

Some of the remaining songs included “Thinking Out Loud,” “Photograph,” “Bloodstream,” and “Love Yourself,” a Justin Bieber song that Sheeran called one of his “hard drive hits,” a song he wrote in 2015 but let sit on his hard drive before giving it to another artist. 

Throughout the rest of the night, Sheeran continued to check on the crowd, saying “Still got voices? Then, we got work to do.”

Sheeran wrapped up the night with “Perfect,” “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You,” “Shape of You,” and “Bad Habits.” 

“Boston, thank you so much for having me,” the musician concluded after an hour and 45 minutes of playing. “Thank you for staying. If you have traveled, thank you for traveling, thank you for braving the traffic, thank you for getting hotel rooms, babysitters, all of those things. I do not take it for granted. As I said, 15 years ago, I was playing for nobody, and I am so, so grateful that you guys have come to watch me tonight.”

Friday

Reneé Rapp kept it real during her electric performance

Renee Rapp performs on the first day of Boston Calling.
“I Hate Boston” singer Renee Rapp performs on the first day of Boston Calling. – Erin Clark/Globe Staff

Friday, 7:45 p.m.

Does Reneé Rapp actually hate Boston? All signs point to “no.”

The “Mean Girls” star, who has a song called “I Hate Boston,” told her audience near the end of her Friday evening performance that in this moment, she “loves Boston — and I’m going on the record.”

Rapp exploded onto the stage and performed “Talk Too Much” before asking the excited crowd to “raise your hand if you’re a hater” as she performed “Poison Poison.” Jumping up and down as she performed, the crowd in front of her was just as energized for the performance.

The crowd loudly chanted the lyrics to “Not My Fault,” the lead single on the “Mean Girls” soundtrack and Rapp’s latest song that features Megan Thee Stallion, but the rapper did not make an appearance to rap her verse. Fear not — those with Sunday tickets can still watch Megan perform.

Before her mandatory performance of “I Hate Boston,” a song Rapp admitted isn’t usually on her setlist, she confessed her reasoning behind her dislike of the city.

“I’ve had a trying time here, okay, I’ve had a very trying time. I have some exes here, I’ll say it,” Rapp told the crowd. “That sh*t pisses me off and, go figure, I hold a grudge.”

Rapp is nothing if she’s not honest: before performing “Too Well,” one of her most popular tracks, she let the audience know that she “f*cking hates this song.” To balance it out, she performed “In The Kitchen” right after, the first song she wrote in her career and one that she loves.

Throughout her set, Rapp sang into the camera, allowing the audience to look right in her eyes as she sang both her upbeat hits and ballads. The audience filled in her lyrics when she pointed her microphone towards them, and her fluid and often-sultry dance moves earned continued applause from the crowd.

At the end of her set, Rapp, who made a courtside appearance at Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals last night, made sure to let the crowd know she loved the city by congratulating the Celtics.

Leon Bridges soulful, ’60s-inspired set cools down the vibe at Boston Calling’s first day

Leon Bridges performs at Boston Calling on Friday.
Leon Bridges performs at Boston Calling on Friday. – Erin Clark/Globe Staff

Friday, 7 p.m.

It was a hot day in Boston on Friday, but Leon Bridges cooled down the day with a soulful, mellow set.

The singer started the performance with “My Love Stays,” crooning against a pink and blue sunset-hued background. The crowd cheered in response to Bridges’ lyrics “In hopes to get your attention,” letting the artist know they were along for a soulful ride through his impressive discography.

Bridges was dressed in bell bottoms and a rust-colored corduroy jacket, with a glamorous pair of ’70s-era sunglasses to complete the look.

The set list included “Texas Sun” (an Americana tune featuring a steel guitar to give it a folky twang), “Twistin’ And Groovin,’” “Brown Skin Girl,” and more.

Bridges energized the crowd with “River,” a ballad that grew in popularity in 2017 in part due to its inclusion in the first season of the HBO series “Big Little Lies.” It was later included on the soundtrack for the show. Bridges gave plenty of love to mothers before his song “Lisa Sawyer.”

“Shoutout to all the mothers in the house,” he said.

The band closed out their set with “Beyond,” a love ballad that drew couples together and brought a calm atmosphere to the crowd, and “Bad Bad News,” one of the lead singles from Bridges’ second studio album “Good Thing.”

Friday, 4 p.m.

The Wolff Sisters immediately got the crowd foot-stomping and head-nodding with their gritty and soulful folk-rock set. The trio hails from Hyde Park, and are real life sisters – a fact the band mentioned in their performance, to cheers from the crowd. 

The band opened with their latest single, “Hurricane.” Rebecca played soulfully on acoustic guitar, with Kat playing up and down octaves on keys, and Rachael strumming high-power solos on electric guitar. All three on lead vocals and harmonies. 

The sisters got the crowd excited and cheering just before their second song and ode to Boston, “Boston Town.”

“It would be a shame if we didn’t play a song about Boston,” Rebecca said to the crowd, which let out several “wahoo’s” in return.

The band’s sound has been described as meeting at the “crossroads of Americana, roots, and ’60s rock ‘n’ roll,” The Boston Globe reported in 2019, when it named their album “Queendom of Nothing” one of the fall season’s 15 best albums

Kieran Rhodes brings his A-game to the Boston Calling Stage

Kieran Rhodes performs at Boston Calling 2024.
Kieran Rhodes performs at Boston Calling 2024. – Boston Calling

Friday, 4 p.m.

Singer-songwriter Kieran Rhodes just took on Boston Calling — two weeks after graduating from Berklee College of Music.

The self-taught musician, who previously appeared on “America’s Got Talent,” was the weekend’s first performer on the festival’s Allianz Blue Stage, and his performance did not disappoint.

Opening the performance with “Getaway Car,” it was clear that Rhodes is talented in more ways than one. The singer stuck to his piano for most of his set, giving him the chance to showcase his skills on the keys. He then went into his latest single, “Song Within A Song.”

Rhodes performed “Disengage,” a song about his struggles with depression, in the middle of his set, earning a strong round of applause from the crowd. He flipped his baseball cap around, a reminder that before he taught himself music, he was a varsity baseball player. 

More and more festival-goers came to the Blue Stage as Rhodes’ set progressed, and his excitement was palpable. He ended his run with a song about making dreams come true — something the audience watched happen in real-time for Rhodes. 

A look inside the two-story, interactive House of Dunkin’ at Boston Calling

Friday, 2 p.m.

Dunkin’ is back at Boston Calling with their revamped House of Dunkin’ activation, offering music (and donut) fans free iced coffee, munchkins, giveaways, and a new “aura photo booth” to have your flavor read.

The two-story pink and orange building attracted lines as early as 1:30 p.m. for its iced coffee drink and interactive stations. 

The local company served up four types of free iced coffee to satisfy sweet-tooth coffee lovers as well as those with a more simple palette. Visitors could choose from a classic black iced coffee; a blueberry donut iced coffee with cold foam; an iced coffee “remix,” which is flavored with chocolate hazelnut truffle; and butter pecan iced coffee. Some of the drinks included foam  designs with the Boston Calling logo.

To compliment the coffee drinks, bags of chocolate glaze and blueberry cake Munchkins were distributed and eagerly consumed by visitors. 

On the first floor of the House, Dunkin’ displayed an aura photo booth where visitors answered a few music-related questions before being matched with one of four flavor auras. Afterward, they headed to the sampling bar to test out the corresponding iced coffee flavors of their auras.

Fans snapped photos in front of a life sized donut display and sprinkle-themed entrance, and took in views of the festival grounds from a cozy lounge on the second floor. 

In the lounge, visitors could get decked out in Dunkin’ bling at three interactive stations. At a custom charm bracelet-making station, fans could create their own Dunkin’ and Boston Calling designs, while those looking for a quick makeover headed over to the glam station for glitter, face gems, and butterfly clips in Dunkin’ colors. At an air brush tattoo station, fans could get their faces and body tattooed with glittery Dunkin’ and Boston Calling tattoos.

Ed Sheeran visits Boston Children’s Hospital ahead of Boston Calling

Friday, 2 p.m.

From watching the Celtics at TD Garden to brightening the day of young children in Boston, Ed Sheeran is making the most of his time in the city. 

Ahead of his closing set on Friday at Boston Calling 2024, the English singer-songwriter stopped by Boston Children’s Hospital on Thursday to visit with patients and pose for photos.

Sheeran’s appearance marked the third time he has visited Children’s on behalf of the Ryan Seacrest Foundation.

​​”Thank you, Ed, for your incredible support and for making such a positive impact on families in the hospital!” Children’s Hospital wrote on Instagram. “Yesterday was… perfect.”

The songs to know at Boston Calling 2024

Friday, 1:30 p.m.

Let’s be realistic: With 50+ acts on the bill at Boston Calling 2024, you probably haven’t heard every song from every artist playing this weekend.

To get you ahead of the curve, we’ve created a list of the top songs to know from each artist performing at Boston Calling before the festival kicks off. 

Our Spotify playlist, which features more than 70 songs and nine hours of music, was picked by combining recommendations from the Boston.com staff with some of the artists’ most-streamed songs.

Check out our full Boston Calling 2024 playlist here. If you’re looking for other pre-festival fun, try our Boston Calling 2024 quiz.

Here’s the Friday schedule for Boston Calling 2024

Friday, 1 p.m.

The festival grounds are officially open, and the music will start in 45 minutes with Divine Sweater on the Red Stage.

Before Ed Sheeran closes the night out from the Green Stage at 8:40 p.m., other top artists in Friday’s lineup include Young the Giant (7:40 p.m., Blue Stage), Leon Bridges (7:05 p.m. Red Stage), and “I Hate Boston” singer Reneé Rapp (5:55 p.m., Green Stage).

Here’s the full list of set times for Friday at Boston Calling 2024.

Boston Calling 2024 schedule and set times for Friday, May 24.
Boston Calling 2024 schedule and set times for Friday, May 24. – Boston Calling

Renee Rapp, Ed Sheeran spotted at Celtics game

Friday, 12:30 p.m.

Ahead of their Friday performances at Boston Calling, Renee Rapp and Ed Sheeran sat courtside at TD Garden to watch the Boston Celtics beat the Indiana Pacers 126-110 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Pictures posted on the Celtics’ Instagram showed Sheeran sporting green sneakers seated next to Rapp, whose anthem “I Hate Boston” apparently didn’t preclude her from attending.

Along with Rapp and Sheeran, the Celtics also counted Run DMC rapper Darryl McDaniels among the famous faces seated in “celeb row” during Thursday night’s game.

Everything to know for Boston Calling 2024

Friday, 12 p.m.

We’re one hour away from the gates opening at the Harvard Athletic Complex for Boston Calling 2024, and a little less than two hours from Divine Sweater kicking off the music at 1:45 on the Red Stage.

As you prepare to head to Allston, be sure to check out our full guide to Boston Calling 2024, which has information on some of the best artists to see, the best food at Boston Calling, rules on what not to bring to the festival, transportation logistics, and more.

Below is a small sampling of some of the answers to the most frequently asked questions, which are addressed more fully in our comprehensive guide.

How do I get to and from Boston Calling 2024?

The easiest way to get to the festival is to take the MBTA Red Line to Harvard Station. From there, it’s a straight shot to the festival: Take John F. Kennedy Street, cross the Anderson Memorial Bridge, and you’ll see the festival entrance on the right side of the street. In total, the walk takes ten minutes.

If you’re not near the Red Line, you can also take the Commuter Rail to the Boston Landing station, which is 1.1 miles from the festival. The 66 and 86 bus routes also stop at Harvard Stadium. For transportation directions from your specific location, use the MBTA Trip Planner.

How can I avoid long lines at Boston Calling?

Boston Calling is a large music festival, so you’re inevitably going to run into crowds at some point during the day. But as someone who has attended every single edition, I’ve learned a few helpful tips along the way.

1. Pre-register your wristband

In an effort to speed up lines for concessions and merch, Boston Calling 2024 is an entirely cashless festival.

Festival-goers can register their wristband either before or during the festival to connect it to a credit or debit card through the Boston Calling website. Vendors will also accept credit cards.

2. Buy artist merch early

The biggest lines at previous editions of Boston Calling have been for the official artist and festival merchandise, which can be purchased just inside the entrance.

Boston Calling 2024 has added a second merch kiosk to help minimize the issue, but if you’re set on getting a Reneé Rapp tank or a Killers tee, you might want to consider setting aside the first 30 minutes of your time at the festival to make your purchase.

3. Learn the festival map, and take the road less traveled

Another way to avoid any bottlenecks is to familiarize yourself with the festival map (see below) before heading to Allston on Friday.

The layout remains basically the same from previous festivals, with a few small tweaks. You enter from the corner of Soldiers Field Rd. and N. Harvard St., then proceed to the entrance.

If you’re headed to the Red or Green stages, proceed straight, where you will pass a number of food options and brand activations. If you want the Blue or Orange stages, make a left toward the merch stations.

There is always less traffic on the path from the Blue Stage to the Red Stage (located on the far left of the map below). It’s not only a more direct path, you’ll also pass local artists on the Orange Stage you may not have known about.

A map of the festival grounds at Boston Calling 2024.
A map of the festival grounds at Boston Calling 2024. – Boston Calling

Can I still buy tickets to Boston Calling 2024?

You can still purchase tickets of almost every type on the Boston Calling website. The only day with limited availability is Sunday, which has sold out of GA and Platinum tickets.

Single-day tickets cost $196 for GA, $320 for GA+, $499 for VIP, and $1399 for Platinum. All of the listed prices already include fees, so you won’t have the usual unpleasant surprise of prices jumping when you get ready to pay.





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