As we've passed the one week mark, things are slowly getting set into place at the Harvard Athletic Complex for our arrival. That's right, Boston Calling is finally here. With the success of our interview with Mike Snow last year, we decided to try and learn more about the infrastructure of this incredible festival. This time we were able to get a hold of Boston Calling's talent buyer, Trevor Solomon. We discuss the many ways this festival has changed, along with the careful planning that goes into making it happen.
transcript of discussion
George: How long have you been a part of the Boston Calling team and what are your responsibilities?
Trevor: I've been with the team since September 2014 I think. My responsibilities are that I'm the talent buyer, so I deal with working with booking agents, trying to get bands to play the festival, working with managers, and working with the team to coordinate the logistics in regards to bands.
G: Awesome, so you've been around for a lot of the evolution of the festival the past few years.
T: Some of it, yeah. I wasn't around for the beginning, but I've definitely been around for a decent amount (of time).
G: We feel like Boston Calling has always had this unique vibe to it, especially when picking certain artists. Do you ever have a certain process you go through when you're deciding which artists you want to try and book?
T: There's not really a process. I think for us it's like: We listen to the music, and hopefully we like the music. Does it fit with the festival? Then there's questions like, when's the record coming out? Have they played in Boston recently? Stuff like that. Then we weigh in and use our good vibes. Sometimes we book bands that we just want to book. and none of that matters and it's all thrown out the window.
G: I was surprised by how huge this year's lineup is compared to last year's. Were there any artists in particular that were a huge goal for you guys to get and you finally got them?
T: I would say Chance is definitely a huge one for us. We moved sites, so it's a bigger site-- which sometimes comes with bigger bands. Chance is definitely one we wanted, the record came out almost a year ago, and it's an amazing record. He's an amazing artist and an amazing person, that was someone we really wanted to pay attention to. Mumford was awesome, good act that we've always wanted to be involved with. The XX. Bon Iver playing Boston is really special to us. We've had Major Lazer, but bringing them back is really killer. I think the Weezer connection with Boston is always something that's been on our mind. And then Tool. Honestly, a year ago if you'd asked me if we'd be booking Tool, I don't know if I'd have an answer. But I'm glad it worked out, because they're a great band, and we're very excited to have them be a part of this festival.
G: I'm especially excited for Run The Jewels, they'll be making their return.
T: Yes, yes, we like Killer Mike and EL-P.
G: And the amount of headlining artists and bigger artists in general has increased. Would you say this is mostly due to Boston Calling being annual now, rather than bi-annual?
T: Yeah... I think so. I also think that it's good timing, we've had the opportunity to grow a little bit in size-- some bigger bands come along with that. And honestly I just think it's luck, I think it's one of those things where everything worked it's way out for us to have the lineup that we do.
G: I know you guys are switching to the Harvard Athletic Complex? How long has this decision been in the works?
T: Honestly, I have no idea. I'm not involved in the logistics of this, I would say we started booking this starting last June/July. For me, it's been almost a year, I don't have a definitive answer, but I would say it's been about a year.
G: A recent change with this year, with the increasing amount of artists, there's now overlapping performances. Are you involved with the scheduling at all? What goes into planning out which artists play when?
T: It's all coordinated with the agents, the managers, and the bands to try to figure out what the best times are. A lot of things factor in, if they want to play in darkness, we know what stage they're playing on, how long they're playing for, etc. I know that there's overlap at festivals, sometimes it's hard for the attendee to get to see everything they want, but we try our best to make it as easy as possible for them to see at least some of the bands and hopefully the majority.
G: I also hope people start to see Boston Calling as more of a general experience. The last time I was there I really enjoyed a lot of the comedy acts, there was a lot of incredible food you guys managed to bring in, and there were also huge blocks of Jenga to the side...
T: Yeah, there's a lot of cool things about the festival in general.
G: We were also wondering what ended up happening with the Natalie Portman curated film festival? Is this something we can maybe expect to see in the future? Is there any details you could share about what was originally going to happen with the film festival?
T: I'm not sure, I would hope so. I would hope we could do the film festival in the future. I work on the comedy and the music, I don't know about film.
G: Yeah I was just about to get into the comedy because it's looking stacked so far! Was planning and transitioning into the comedy been something that was a bit of a curve ball to you at all?
T: Yeah, I had to sort of learn the world of comedy, so it took me a second there to fully wrap my head around it. But it was cool, it was fun, it was enjoyable... and it's something that took a little bit of time. We worked it out, and it's one of those things that I'm still learning about, but I'm pretty proud of the lineup we created.
G: How did getting Hannibal go about, was that someone that straight off the get-go you guys really wanted to get?
T: We're all a fan. There was a mutual acquaintance between Hannibal and the festival, and they helped worked out. So it was something we approached him about through that mutual acquaintance. It worked out really well because he wanted to do it; not just for one day, but for all three days. He's a great sport, and I think he's going to be a huge part of the whole festival in general.
G: Awesome, so he's going to be hosting the entire thing, right?
T: He hosts Friday and Sunday, and he headlines on Saturday.
G: It's also cool that Lamont is coming back, because I absolutely loved his performance last year.
T: He's great, he's great. He'll be hosting on Saturday and performing on Friday.
G: Awesome, thanks a bunch for answering these questions Trevor. Is there anything else you'd like to say to people who are considering going to the festival or anything you're most excited to see?
T: I think it's going to be fun. I'm excited to see the whole thing take place and hope to see everybody next week.
We hope you enjoyed learning about the festival as much as we did. There's an incredible amount of buzz going on around this location change, and we couldn't be more excited to report to you on a daily basis from there. It's still not too late to get tickets to this year's Boston Calling, which could be purchased from the main website here. Wentworth students are granted a small discount at the institute's info hub. Stay tuned for coverage on live music, comedy, food, and so much more!