New England music festival to return for fifth year

Hunter McKenzie, Culture columnist

This Memorial Day weekend, the Calling returns.

Music festival Boston Calling will return for its fifth year and ninth season Friday, May 25 and will last through Sunday, May 27. The festival will be held at the Harvard Athletic Complex, where a lineup of over fifty international, acclaimed and upcoming musical acts will take one of three stages. The headline acts this year are The Killers, Jack White and Eminem.

Last year, the festival found a new home in the Harvard Athletic Complex in Allston, with acts like Mumford & Sons, Chance the Rapper, the 1975 and Weezer. The hype for this year’s lineup has spread across social media as festival goers ready themselves for the experience.

But it’s not just music that’s being offered this year.

Every day of the festival, a lineup of special programming and comedy will take place in the arena. Popular political podcast Pod Save America will take the stage on Saturday, as well as Lovett or Leave It on Friday. Comedians like David Cross, Bridget Everett, Cameron Esposito, Martin Urbano and more will also appear.

In addition, this year Boston Calling boasts its largest food and drink spread yet. A lineup of many returning favorites as well as new chefs, restaurants and food vendors comprise the weekend’s menu of over 150 items from 35 local businesses.

Award-winning actress and director Natalie Portman has curated and will host a series of film programming at the festival. Leading up to the weekend, starting May 22, Portman will screen her “Female Gaze” series, exploring films that usefully employ female perspective and experience. Diverse titles including “Lolita,” “Diary of a Teenage Girl,” “Jeanne Dielman” and “The Exorcist” will be shown as part of the festival.

In a particularly rock-oriented lineup this year, the festival will host The National, Paramore, Portugal. The Man, Pussy Riot and Perfume Genius on Friday, with The Killers set to close out the night.

Jack White will follow up on Saturday, as well as Queens of the Stone Age, with additional performances by Brockhampton, St. Vincent and Tyler, The Creator.

Sunday Khalid, the artist behind the smash hit “Young Dumb & Broke,” will take the stage, as well as Fleet Foxes, Thundercat and Julien Baker. Eminem, who plays his first New England show in over a decade, is headlining Sunday and closing out the festival.

You can find ticket information for the festival at

This story updated May 20 at 10:10 a.m. to correct an error. The festival is in its fifth year and ninth season.