Local music fans need not travel to Coachella in California or Governor’s Ball in New York to see Eminem lead 2018’s early festival bills, as the rapper joins the Killers and Jack White (who’s also a top feature at Governor’s Ball) as headliners for Boston Calling at the Harvard Athletic Complex in Allston on Memorial Day Weekend.
Other leading acts on the May 25-27 popular music festival include the National (whose Aaron Dessner has helped curate Boston Calling since its start on City Hall Plaza), Queens of the Stone Age, Paramore, Khalid and Tyler, the Creator. From there, the lineup diversifies from Fleet Foxes and the Decemberists (artists more common to summer’s Newport Folk Festival, which has already sold out ahead of its 2018 lineup announcement in the spring) to Portugal. The Man, St. Vincent, Bryson Tiller, Brockhampton, Maggie Rogers, Royal Blood, the Manchester Orchestra, Big Thief, Dirty Projectors, ’90s alt-rockers Belly, Thundercat, Pussy Riot (the Russian punk-rockers arrested for its past protests), Julien Baker, Alvvays, Perfume Genius, Pond and Zola Jesus. The hometown contingent includes rockers Weakened Friends and the hip-hop group STL GLD, which both scored big at the recent Boston Music Awards.
In addition to 54 musical acts and comedians (including local favorite Jenny Slate) on three outdoor stages and an indoor arena, Boston Calling will include “special programming” by Oscar-winning actress and Harvard graduate Natalie Portman and politically aligned podcasts “Pod Save America” and “Lovett or Leave It.”
In its second year on the Harvard fields, the festival also promises a new layout with additional entrance lanes, stronger wi-fi, larger video screens, additional food options and a new sound system as well as continued art installations by Russ Bennett, who’s provided that touch from Phish festivals to Bonnaroo.
Tickets just went on sale for three-day general admission passes (with limited $279 Early Bird tickets before that price rises $10) and pricier VIP options (with expanded viewing areas) at www.bostoncalling.com. Single-day options will be available at a later date.