Those who are familiar with life in New England know that the summer months here are fleeting. There is, therefore, an annual pressure that rolls around in May and remains until September to make the best out of this beautiful, warm season before it slips away. It can be difficult to figure out how to do so, however.
Mike Snow, co-founder of Boston Calling, wanted to remedy that problem with the Boston Calling Music Festival—once in May and once in September. Ideally, there would be a venue that gave Bostonians the opportunity to enjoy music and have a drink outside after work throughout the summer.
With that, the Boston Calling Block Party Series was born. The series, which originally began in 2010, is a summertime string of concert events every Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Boston Calling, in partnership with Crash Line Productions, the Boston Improvement District, and the Rose Kennedy Greenway, has brought in a variety of local musicians and bands to entertain Bostonians after the workday ends.
“The Boston Calling Block Party series is a great way for us here at Boston Calling to try to slot more local people and bands,” Snow said. “We want to support the local music community all summer, versus just at our two festivals.”
Boston Calling reached out to its followers on social media to determine what people wanted to see, and compiled a lineup of local bands and performers for each week. The series this summer featured artists such as Nemes and Absolute Gentleman.
The concerts are intended to be a source of fun for residents of Boston, but also serve a higher purpose in maintaining and supporting the work of the Boston Improvement District (BID). BID is a group that was organized and funded by various organizations, businesses, and restaurants in downtown Boston to make sure the area was properly changed from what it used to be years ago.
“If you were from this area, you remember that 10 years ago, you couldn’t go down there,” Snow said. “Now they’ve got ambassadors going through and providing extra cleaning services and educating tourists on what’s available in the area and different places to eat and whatnot,” BID has been a big factor in helping to continue the production of the events each summer, Snow said.
Although the Boston Calling Block Party series used to take place at Downtown Crossing, the space became unavailable, and it took place for the first time this year in Dewey Square. Snow explained that, while this is a relatively under-the-radar location within Boston, it is a great spot, located right across from South Station, next to the Boston Public Market, and not far from Faneuil Hall. “When you add it all up and look around at what this city has to offer,” Snow said, “it seemed like a great balance between green space, activities, landmarks, and a high-traffic area.”
The series, which is sponsored by Shock Top and Radio BDC—the online radio of The Boston Globe—started back in May as more of a social outdoor event than a concert. “When it started, I think people were just happy to get outside, enjoy a beverage, and sit in the Adirondack chairs,” Snow said. “But as it progressed, it got more and more about the bands that were playing.”
As the summer went on, he explained, he began to receive direct messages on social media inquiring about what bands were playing, and some would even suggest a friend or relative’s band for the event. The staffers at Boston Calling, Snow said, had been hoping to achieve a genuine appreciation of the local music in addition to creating a fun environment.
The last event in the series will take place today starting at 5 p.m., and will mark the last of Boston Calling’s events until May.
Featured Image Courtesy of Mike Diskin