After a three-year wait, concert-goers are headed back to the Harvard Athletic Complex for Boston Calling 2022 this weekend. More than 50 artists will perform at the three-day festival, including headliners Nine Inch Nails, The Strokes, and Metallica.
Boston.com staff will be on-site all weekend, providing the latest news from the festival. We’ll have updates on the performances, the food, the fashion, and everything else that happens over the next three days.
Nine Inch Nails bring the house down for second straight night at Boston Calling 2022
1 a.m., Sunday
On a day when little else went right at Boston Calling, it was Nine Inch Nails to the rescue.
With original headliner The Strokes unable to play due to a positive COVID test and the festival scrambling after a two-hour weather delay, Trent Reznor and co. performed an almost two-hour headlining set for the second consecutive night.
The band rarely repeated songs from Friday night’s performance, and did zero crowd work until Reznor addressed the audience almost 40 minutes into the set.
“It’s probably a good time to mention we are not the Strokes, if you haven’t picked up on that yet,” Reznor said. “But we’re happy to be here. Thanks for putting up with us.
“We’re like the guest that wasn’t invited here in the first place and now you can’t f****** get rid of us,” Reznor continued. “But we’re happy to help out.”
Reznor then reminisced about his first trip to Boston more than 30 years ago, during which he made his first professional recording, at the now-closed Syncro Sound studio on Newbury Street.
Reznor said that he picked the studio because of his affinity for legendary Boston band The Cars, who owned the studio.
Reznor became wistful, expressing amazement that anyone would “give a s***” about his early songs, much less that he’d be able to play them in front of a crowd of thousands in Boston.
Before launching into one of those songs, “Terrible Lie,” Reznor joked that he and the band would be around to help fill in for anyone else in need.
“If anybody has a birthday party or a bar mitzvah or needs someone to look after their plants while on vacation, look us up,” Reznor said. “We’re here for you.”
Boston Calling reopens with revised schedule: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard cancel set due to COVID result, several other acts cut
5:15 p.m., Saturday
Exactly two hours after pausing the event due to severe weather, Boston Calling announced the festival area will reopen at 5:30 p.m. with music starting up again at 6 p.m.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, originally scheduled to take the Blue Stage at 7:35 p.m., will no longer be performing though due to a positive COVID case.
Boston Calling posted a revised schedule in the festival app at around 5:45 p.m. Several bands, including KennyHoopla and Earthgang, shifted from their planned set times. Three artists that had been scheduled to play — Francis Forever, Sudan Archives, and Ali McGuirk — were left unaccounted for in the schedule.
“BOSTON: so my set got cut,” Sudan Archives posted on her Instagram story. “Sorry babes. But I’ll be in the crowd, excited to check out these acts. If you see me, don’t be afraid to say hi.”
The band posted on social media that it was “extremely devastated” to have to cancel its set.
Dance party forms in hockey rink, other fans take to social media to request refunds amid rain delay
4:30 p.m., Saturday
With the festival on pause, some people tried to make the most of it by creating their own entertainment. One person ran a half lap around the track and field facility, while others started dancing inside the hockey rink. Meanwhile, staff members handed out free water to those sheltering inside.
Others were not so happy about the delay and took to social media to voice their frustrations with their experience so far.
One user posted on Twitter that this year’s Boston Calling should be made into a Netflix documentary, similar to Fyre Festival.
“Been a pretty ugly experience at Boston Calling this weekend with the band lineup severely changed, the cost was already very high and now the artist experience is not as great,” another fan tweeted, adding that hotels had also been difficult to book due to Harvard University’s commencement earlier in the week.
Some Twitter users joked that Nine Inch Nails would save the day.
Boston Calling pauses festival, tells fans to evacuate due to severe weather
3:35 p.m., Saturday
Thunderstorms moving in from Western Mass. forced Boston Calling to pause Day 2 of its festival shortly before 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Announcements made at all three stages told fans to seek shelter by exiting the festival into Harvard Square or seeking shelter on-site.
“Severe weather is expected to pass through the Festival area,” the festival said in a statement. “For your safety, everyone onsite should calmly proceed to the main entrance to seek shelter in Harvard Square or other locations. If you exit the Festival grounds you will be permitted to re-enter. Alternatively, for shelter onsite, please follow security’s directions to Harvard Stadium.”
@bostondotcom Boston Calling 2022 Day 2 update: Due to severe weather all festivalgoers were asked to evacuate and seek shelter. #BostonCalling #boston #musicfestival #weather #rainedout ♬ Rain Sound – Musik Bayi ID
An Instagram recap of Day 1 at Boston Calling 2022
Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
Our audience engagement team put together a short video showcasing some of the biggest highlights from Day 1 at Boston Calling, including Avril Lavigne up close and personal.
See Photos from Day 1 of Boston Calling 2022
11 a.m., Saturday
With a mostly sunny day and temperatures hitting near 78 degrees, conditions were ideal for Day 1 of Boston Calling 2022 at the Harvard Athletic Complex. Below, check out some of the best photos from Friday.
Nine Inch Nails wows the crowd, teases second Saturday set
9:17 a.m., Saturday
It was a rocking night. Headliner band Nine Inch Nails gave an electric performance, while lead vocalist Trent Reznor gave comments on The Strokes’ withdrawal from the festival, due to a COVID result. He spoke to the unexpected turn of events and the fact that Nine Inch Nails will be returning to perform Saturday night.
“We are very happy to be here with you tonight and share this time with you. We’re really sorry for the conditions that led to us being here. With our friends the Foo Fighters, our hearts go out to them,” said Reznor. “I was sitting backstage, and I freaked myself out, because we’re not even supposed to be here tonight. Now, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but we’re here tomorrow night. I don’t know if it’s COVID — sitting in the house for years — but being in front of a bunch of people, I feel freaked out. But what we weren’t expecting was an audience like this.”
He added, “The thing [I have] is either getting old, or whatever happened with COVID, or it’s this relentless stream of never-ending bad news that seems to be happening constantly — people dying, and guns and disease. It’s made me very grateful for moments that kick ass.”
Nine Inch Nails’ set featured thrashing drums and pounding beats, while the audience cheered and danced along to the music. They performed hits such as “Closer,” “The Perfect Drug,” and “Head Like a Hole.” Fans in the crowd were enthusiastic about the performance as well.
“I’ve loved Trent Reznor, and I’ve loved Nine Inch Nails, ever since I was in middle school,” said Sarah Zakaria. She added that what she likes about the band is, “The music, how emotional the lyrics are, and how Reznor has branched out over the years, doing film and soundtracks.”
Another fan said that she felt the concert had “good vibes.” One attendee watching the show commented on Reznor’s legacy, while adding that she would like to learn more about Nine Inch Nails.
“I know that Trent Reznor is an extremely influential figure in music. His band was inducted in(to) the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” said Kathleen Gauder. She added, “Seeing them now makes me want to check out their music a bit more deeply.”
The Strokes cancel Boston Calling 2022 headlining set due to COVID result
Friday, 8:30 p.m.
The Strokes, who were set to perform a headlining set on Saturday night at Boston Calling 2022, will no longer appear at the festival due to a positive COVID-19 test.
Instead of The Strokes, Friday’s headliner, Nine Inch Nails, will perform a second headlining set on Saturday night.
“Due to a positive COVID case in The Strokes, who were scheduled to headline on Saturday, May 28th, the band will no longer be able to perform at the Festival,” the festival wrote in a press release Friday night. “Tonight’s headliner, Nine Inch Nails, will headline a second set on Saturday, May 28th in place of The Strokes, and we are enormously grateful to them for stepping in for what is sure to be another electrifying performance at Boston Calling.”
Avril Lavigne plays old favorites at Boston Calling
8:25 p.m., Friday
Punk princess Avril Lavigne took to the Delta Airlines Blue Stage to sing both old favorites, as well as newer songs. The concert took off with tunes like “Bite Me,” classics like “Complicated” and “Sk8er Boi,” and “Love It When You Hate Me.” Lavigne put in a plug for her recent album, “Love Sux,” which came out last February. She welcomed artist Mod Sun to the stage with her to perform together, singing “Flames.”
“I’ve been a fan of her older songs, her classic albums for a long time,” said Patrick, who was in the audience. “She was one of the first things that got me into music.”
HAIM declares their love for Boston
7:08 p.m., Friday
Haim has been playing their hits, from “The Wire” to “Gasoline.” As a cheering crowd danced along to their tunes, the sisters declared their love for the city of Boston. One fan, Bethany K. from Boston, told us about her excitement for the band and for the following act, Avril Lavigne, to appear at 7:40 p.m.
“I’ve never seen them. They rock really hard, and they’re three amazing women who completely dominate their space. I’m really happy to see them today, and I’m also excited for Avril,” said Bethany. “It’s amazing to see her come back and be just as popular, just as good. I don’t know much of her new stuff, but I love her as an artist. I appreciate the hell out of her. … It’s great to see some throwback artists.”
Boston Calling 2022 kicks off in style
5:50 p.m., Friday
After a three-year absence, Boston Calling made its triumphant return to the Harvard Athletic Complex on Friday.
By around 4 p.m., crowds were larger than they had been at 4 p.m. during the first day of the 2019 festival. Whether it was due to flexible remote work schedules, the draw of early-afternoon acts (including The Struts, Mob Rich, and Paris Texas), or a combination of both was unclear. What was clear is that fans were more than ready for the return of Boston Calling.
Everything you need to know for Boston Calling 2022
Given that it’s been three whole years since the last Boston Calling, both first-time attendees and Boston Calling veterans alike may need a refresher on the ins and outs of the annual festival.
To help you get the most out of your Boston Calling 2022 experience, we’ve put together a guide to what you should know before attending the festival this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Click here to find more info on some of the best artists to see, the best food at Boston Calling 2022, rules on what not to bring to the festival, transportation logistics, COVID-19 rules, and more.
A timeline of the cancellations, lineup changes, and lost revenue that led to Boston Calling 2022
The time between Boston Calling 2019 and this year’s edition was an eventful one for the festival, which is owned by Madison Square Garden Entertainment (MSGE). The COVID-19 pandemic scuttled any chance of holding an event in both 2020 and 2021, which led to approximately $10.6 million in lost revenue for the company in 2020 alone, according to earnings reports.
Even when live music did begin to pick up again, the festival faced the added difficulty of replacing all three of its original headliners, scrambling to find suitable replacements on a short timeline.
In spite of all of that, the festival returns this weekend, complete with 50-plus artists, new headliners, a robust food lineup, and plenty of local acts.
Read more to see the full timeline of events that led to Boston Calling 2022.
Here are the 20 local bands to see at Boston Calling 2022
Boston Calling 2022 will have its largest number of local acts ever, featuring 20 artists with ties to New England.
We wanted to introduce you to the local lineup, many of whom are based in Boston. Twelve will be performing on the new Tivoli Audio Orange Stage, and all of the local musicians will be playing Boston Calling for the first time.
There’s Oompa, a Roxbury-born rapper who got her start as a slam poet, and there’s Miranda Rae, an R&B singer born in Cambridge. There’s the Boston indie rock duo Aaron and the Lord, and alt-rock band Paper Tigers.
Click here to check out our guide to all the local New England bands playing Boston Calling 2022.
Tacos, lobster rolls, and ‘naughty waffles’: Here’s the Boston Calling 2022 food and drink lineup
After looking at the Boston Calling 2022 food and drink lineup, one thing’s for sure: No one at the festival is going hungry on Memorial Day weekend.
A total of 30 local restaurants, food trucks, and eateries will be serving up a variety of cuisines at this year’s festival, which returns to the Harvard Athletic Complex from May 27-29.
Many holdovers from previous festivals (and 2020’s postponed fest) will take part, including Tasty Burger, Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, and Chicken and Rice Guys. In addition, 10 restaurants will be making their festival debut, including Greek eatery GreCo and Jewish delicatessen Mamaleh’s.
Craving a fried chicken sandwich? Head to Walloons. Looking for tacos? Try El Pelon Taqueria. Want some quintessential New England cuisine? Lobster Proper will have a variety of lobster rolls.
Click here to check out the full Boston Calling 2022 food and drink lineup.
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