The 2019 Boston Calling Music Festival line-up has officially been announced, and it has left music fans eager to get tickets and experience a series of lively and impressive performances in late May. For its 10th edition, Boston Calling has gone above and beyond to bring together some of the most talented artists the world has to offer, including Northeastern student Sidney Gish. Identifying and securing the musicians for a festival is a lengthy and collaborative process, especially for a three-day, multi-stage event like Boston Calling, which features some of the most prominent acts in live music, comedy, and the visual arts.
This year, as part of this process, a team of Northeastern students had the opportunity to collaborate with Boston Calling to help provide input as the team behind the festival worked to curate its line-up. Comprised of many students from CAMD’s Department of Music, the group’s purpose was to act as a student voice during the 2019 booking process, which is especially important since Boston Calling draws a large attendance from college students as well as young people more generally.
Trevor Solomon, Talent Buyer for Crash Line Productions, the company behind Boston Calling, is one of the main people responsible for choosing the line-up – and led all of the discussions with the Northeastern team. In his role, Trevor deals with booking agents and management companies when buying talent for the festival. He sends the offers, confirms the shows, and helps with the overall production – working directly with the bands. He has been booking music acts and bands for over 20 years, and he identifies the 2019 Boston Calling line-up as the one he is most excited about.
When Trevor first began thinking about this year’s line-up, and the importance of involving a student voice in some way, Northeastern University came to mind.
“Northeastern’s Music program stood out to me,” he said. “I had spoken to a class and one of the students there ended up keeping in touch with me. I reached out to him when I was thinking about involving a small group of Boston-based college students in the line-up process, and when I then met with the students, their genuine excitement solidified the decision to move forward.”
Craig Bettinson, CAMD’s Director of Cooperative Education, also played a key role in bringing the group of undergraduate students together. For years, he has worked closely with CAMD’s Music students, and regularly collaborates with Northeastern’s music-focused student groups, like WRBB.
“It truly was amazing to learn how the whole process evolves, and it gave the students a behind-the-scenes view,” explained Craig. “Students had the opportunity to offer feedback on possible acts and introducing new acts as well as feedback on the festival itself.”
The group, which was interdisciplinary in nature, consisted of Daniel Lim (Marketing/Music), Robert Steiner (Music), Maddie Harris (Marketing), Andrew Goldberg (Music), and Skylar Morley (Marketing). Starting in the spring, they met with Trevor every month, and these meetings continued throughout the summer and the fall. Trevor would provide updates on the line-up as well as any ideas or concerns he or someone from his team had, and then he would open up the floor for all of students to offer their input.
“In that regard, it was a much more collaborative process than I was expecting, and it was really cool to know our thoughts and critiques were being heard,” explained Rob Steiner, a senior in CAMD’s Music Industry program. “One of the first things we did was create individual ‘dream line-ups,’ where we built our most ideal line-up from scratch using whatever acts we wanted to see. It was interesting to compare what each of us came up with – especially when there were certain acts that we all included and felt strongly about – and it was a good way for both the students and Trevor to evaluate what aspects of the music festival experience we valued most and what kind of acts we collectively wanted to see.”
Having an element of input into the line-up at a major music festival is practical experience that this group of Northeastern students will be able to apply to their future co-ops and careers. It helped introduce them to the unique nuances and various facets of the process they may have not have experienced otherwise.
“Seeing the months-long process of creating the line-up firsthand was already an educational experience, but to also have a relevant role in bringing the line-up to its final form was easily one of the coolest things I’ve done at Northeastern,” Rob continued. “It was crazy to see how many iterations of the line-up there were between our first meeting to the official announcement – just about every relevant artist or band you can imagine was in the mix at one point or another. So many factors went into filling every single slot, and I’m really grateful to have witnessed every development as it was happening and to have learned about festival planning by actually doing it.”
Northeastern student Dan Lim, who is majoring in Business Administration with a minor in Music Industry, echoed the incredible value of being part of this hands-on process – and learning how to embrace a big-picture, strategic approach. Dan, who was the General Manager of WRBB for two years and now serves as an Auxiliary Board Member, has worked on concert line-ups before, but has never provided input into a bill as large as Boston Calling’s.
“The entire creative process has been extremely eye-opening and informative,” he described. “Every time we got into a room and Trevor shared what the line-up was looking like, it immediately just
opened the gate to so much discussion about different aspects about the artist, performance, audience, city, or music that was thrown into the fray. It was frankly a difficult exercise thinking on such a large scale as opposed to thinking just about Northeastern students, for example. Trevor was genuinely interested in our thoughts and opinions as we moved through the process.”
While the group had their official last meeting in December, the goal is to have an ongoing partnership as Boston Calling approaches in just a few months. This past and present level of collaboration represents how in-touch, innovative, and community-focused the Boston Calling Music Festival truly is.
“As much as these line-ups rely on logistics and contracts, I was glad to know Boston Calling still held to the notion of bringing in forward-thinking and exciting music, as well as wrapping in multimedia to the fold to make every year more unique,” concluded CAMD student Andrew Goldberg, who is studying Music Industry and has also been very involved in WRBB throughout his student career. “It was great to have a platform, as student advisors, to push and advocate for artists we cared about.”
Be sure to experience the full line-up here! Tickets will be available in a tiered pricing structure this year, with lowest priced tickets on sale beginning this week.