Playing downtown, as opposed to leafier suburbs like Mansfield, home of the Comcast Center amphitheater or Canton, whose Prowse Farm hosts the Life is good Festival, is also part of the draw for the musicians.
“I think city festivals are awesome,” says Jack Antonoff, whose hitmaking pop-rock band Fun. recently won two Grammy awards including best new artist. “When you park a festival right in the middle of a city it really captures the feeling of the city.”
On both days of Boston Calling, the gates will open at 1 p.m. and a beer garden and food trucks will serve up to 20,000 music fans as they listen to tunes from nearly 20 acts playing two stages until 10:30 p.m.
Dessner worked with Bowery Presents in booking his diverse wish list of acts which included Bird, Youth Lagoon, and the Walkmen.
“Anytime you have a festival where the capacity of the festival is up above 20,000 with two days it has to be a range of artists, it can’t be any one slice of music,” said Dessner, whose band is currently at work on a new album due out later this year. “I like it when the lines are blurry between these genres.” But, Dessner says they were sensitive to the space. “We avoided booking anything that would be death metal and shake anybody’s windows off.”
Early bird weekend passes go on sale at 10 a.m. on Friday March 1 and include a general admission pass for $120 and a VIP pass for $325. Single day show tickets will be available soon after.
Tickets will be available at www.bostoncalling.com, www.ticketmaster.com, and with no service fee at the Sinclair box office in Cambridge.
For the first edition of the festival, all involved say ticket sales will not be the only barometer of success (although a sell-out would be nice); they will also take into account the flow of the music, and concertgoer feedback.
“Building a festival is no different than when you’re in sixth grade and you have a crush and you make a mixtape for a girl you like,” says Antonoff of Fun. “You’re just trying to put something together, all these little parts, one plus one plus one is going to equal a million instead of three. And I think that’s what you have here, some of my favorite bands. This is a festival that if I wasn’t playing, I would spend hard-earned money to go see. That, for me, is the greatest honor, to be part of something that you know is cool and thrilling just looking at it from the outside.”
“I think success will be determined,” says Bhatti, “by people saying, ‘I can’t wait for the next one.’ ”