It’s that time of the year once again. Time to don your shades and shorts and head outdoors to listen to music and partake in libations with other sweaty concertgoers. In other parts of the country, summertime is festival season but Boston is late to the party. In fact, when I sign up for various e-mail and smart phone festival notifications, Boston doesn’t even make the drop- down list. Boston is awesome for so many reasons: amazing sports franchises (and passionate fans), incredible history, prestigious institutions of higher learning; the list goes on and on. But we can no longer hang our hats on Boston’s impressive history and stagnate while other cities create new, more compelling traditions.
But hey, do you know that in Boston, you can sit and have a drink in the same bar that Paul Revere once sat? That’s awesome, but is Paul Revere still there? Because Neil Young, Stevie Wonder, and Skrillex are going to be at Outside Lands in San Francisco August 10-12 so I think I’ll just have a drink while watching them perform. Enjoy your happy hour with the ghosts of Boston past.
In order to compete with cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago, Boston needs to appeal to a younger demographic. The newly graduated young adults who emerge from Boston’s many colleges and universities with heads full of ideas and ambitions need a city that accommodates their creative energy; and what better way to release some energy than to congregate in the sunshine while taking in performances by the musical artists du jour. Furthermore, festivals and cities have a symbiotic relationship because the festivals, if done right, generate commerce and stimulate the local economy. For instance, the aforementioned festival in San Francisco, Outside Lands, not only brings in big name performers but showcases the bay area’s unique offerings such as samplings from local restaurants, wine tastings, and art/theatre exhibits, all while using alternative energy making it a sustainable/green event.
For argument’s sake, I’ve been claiming that Boston has no festivals, which is hyperbole, it does of course have some. However, Boston doesn’t boast any large-scale festivals that can put it on the music festival radar like Stage Coach and Coachella have done for Indio, CA (an otherwise pretty unremarkable desert town) or Lollapalooza and Pitchfork for Chicago. Now, I know what you’re thinking. That’s great and all but what is your point? Festivals are awesome and Boston doesn’t have any notable ones, why are you haranguing me? Because from now on, I will be informing you of all the cool music/food/art/culture-related goings on in the great city of Boston so that you can patronize them. Because when the inhabitants of Boston start attending the events that are available to us, we will establish ourselves as a viable market and where there is a demand, a supply will materialize.
Too many econ vocab words in that sentence? Put simply, do things in Boston, and Boston will provide more things to do. If the big name artists and festivals know that they can sellout in Boston, then they will make the trip. So, following the same advice that Bill Murray was given by his therapist in 1991’s cinematic classic, What About Bob?, we’ll begin with baby steps. Here are some events to watch for in Boston:
Together Festival– The Together Festival is a multi-media experience for music/technology lovers. Together combines live music, film, panels and discussions, and workshops to create a truly unique, interactive experience. Together 2012 has passed but Together 2013 is already in the works; head to their website and join the mailing list to stay in the loop.
Anna’s Walqueria- This is not music related but burritos for charity always deserve a mention. Anna’s Taqueria throws an annual half marathon walk around Boston in which participants travel from one Anna’s location to the next (6 in total), consuming burritos as they go. The proceeds from this event are donated to The Home for the Little Wanderers, so go eat some burritos for a good cause. Check out @AnnasWalqueria on Twitter for details.
WUMB Music Fest, Sunday, June 5th, Noon, UMass Boston, Boston, MA. Tickets: $15 – $100. This waterfront music festival boasts a long list of talented top performers on three different stages. Featured artists include Amy Black, Anthony da Costa, Buskin & Batteau, Chris Pahud, and David Mallett.
Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival, Saturday, September 24, Noon, Columbus and Mass Ave, Boston, MA. Cost: Free (Visit website for tickets & pricing on club performances). The Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival features a full week of performances at various venues around Boston. The highlight of this festival is a free show with jazz, Latin, blues, and groove acts in front of tens of thousands of fans in Boston’s historic South End.
Early Music Festival, June 12-19, New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA (Various other locations). The BEMF is the most respected early music festival in the world. The weeklong event includes a fully-staged Baroque opera masterpiece, concerts by the world’s leading soloists and ensembles, and nearly 100 performances from renowned artists. The BEMF also hosts a family day with lectures, demonstrations and performances.
– Liv, Future Boston Intern