Boston Calling is right around the corner, and we can’t wait to check out the brand new location and incredible acts headlining this year (looking at you Weezer, The 1975, and Bon Iver!). There are SO many incredible acts in both music and for the first time ever, a comedy stage. It’s going to be a weekend packed with non-stop action.
In preparation, we interviewed the man responsible for booking those acts, Trevor Solomon, to grab his thoughts on the festival’s evolution and how bands can vie for their own shot at headlining a major festival like Boston Calling. Read on, and see you this weekend!
Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me! With Boston Calling just around the corner, and this being the first year at the new location in Allston, at the Harvard Athletic Complex, how are you feeling?
I feel good. It’s exciting, new space, great bands. The anticipation is ramping up so I’m feeling excited.
For anyone not familiar with what a talent buyer does, can you tell me a little more about your role in general, and specific to Boston Calling?
I deal with booking agents and managers and bands and organizing them to get to play here and oversee all artist relations that come up.
How have you seen the vision for Boston Calling evolve over the years, and how has that impacted your decisions as a talent buyer for the festival?
I feel like I came on for the fifth Boston Calling, I think every festival has grown in its own way. This festival is a nice mix of all festivals in one bigger setting.
Can you tell me a little about some of the unexpected challenges you’ve faced?
Every day something new comes up. Dealing with issues: be it production, be it travel. So many little things. Every day it’s a new thing I have to figure out.
When booking acts for the festival, because you’re booking so far in advance, how do you gauge which acts will still be “popular” and in demand from the time you’re booking to the time of the show?
I think it’s twofold. It’s tough to really put your finger on it. Sometimes a band has a record coming out. Sometimes it’s a band that’s a heritage band. Sometimes you have a band that put out a record a year ago – like Chance the Rapper – and its still thriving. And sometimes you book a band because you like them.
How do you see the festival continuing to grow over the next 5-10 years?
I think the festival will grow with the times. We will evolve and book bands that are relevant. We will grow with the space and grow with the city and with the music culture that is going on in those years.
What advice do you have for artists hoping to play a festival like Boston Calling one day? How can they best focus their efforts to gain the attention of not just fans, but people such as yourself?
Just do your job – play your music – do your thing. Don’t worry about trying to get my attention. Have a good attitude, be nice people, sell tickets…
Who have been your mentors in this industry, and what’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from them (or elsewhere) about success in this industry?
I got a lot. I would say they all have a really good disposition, they’re good people, and work really hard.
What advice do you have for anyone wanting to get into the talent buying side of the industry?
Get your hands dirty. Do everything. It’s like working in a kitchen. If you want to be an executive chef you need to wash dishes and cook vegetables. You can’t just show up and expect to buy talent, you need to know how the whole product works.
What do you want everyone to know about Boston Calling?
I think that people should know that it’s a great festival and we try really hard to bring a great experience for the consumer but also for the bands – hopefully people enjoy themselves next weekend.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
See you next weekend.
Boston Calling takes place this Memorial Day weekend from Friday May 26th-Sunday the 28th at the Harvard Athletic Complex in Allston. For the first time ever it will include a comedy stage, as well as music from artists such as Weezer, Chance the Rapper, Tool, Bon Iver, Cage the Elephant, Tegan and Sara, The 1975, and more. Grab your tickets here and join us on-site next weekend, for what’s sure to be the best Boston Calling yet!
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