Boston Calling has announced its 2024 lineup for the May festival, with performances by Ed Sheeran, Leon Bridges, Megan Thee Stallion, Hozier and more.
While its bill has faced criticism in years past for a lack of diversity and an absence of local artists, this year's lineup includes multiple performers of color and more than a third of the bookings are local.
Dorchester raised hip-hop artist kei is one performer who's taking the Boston Calling stage for the first time. She said she's happy with the emphasis on homegrown acts.
“I'm just excited that Boston is growing into another hub of music and entertainment, like a New York or L.A. or Miami or Atlanta,” she said. “There is a lot of talent here. And there's a lot of amazing creatives and musicians here. And I'm just excited that we finally have eyes on our gifts.”
Rachael Wolff, of Boston folk-rock band The Wolff Sisters who will also make their debut at the festival, said she appreciates the space made for local artists.
“It’s Boston Calling, and not just some festival that's in Boston. It’s a festival that supports local music,” Wolff said. “It’s just a cool thing to be a part of. We’re from Boston. The three sisters were born and raised in Boston. So it’s an even bigger triumph for us to be able to play in it.”
Hip-hop musician Billy Dean Thomas said being billed alongside artists like Megan Thee Stallion and The Killers is an honor, but also to be in company of other local performers.
“I look at this lineup and I see myself reflected and — no pun intended — being on it. But just even without being a performer, I feel like I see members of my community and my own experience in the lineup,” they said.
“It’s long overdue, I think, for sure. To just give those folks the spotlight and the platform to take it to the next level,” they added.
Members of the indie dream rock band Paper Lady said they are excited to see artists from the Boston music scene get their moment in front of a bigger audience.
“It’s pretty cool to see people that we’ve played with in smaller settings around town,” said Alli Raina of Paper Lady. “It’s pretty local heavy. It’s a good feeling to see some of our friends on the bill, too, for each day.”
Bandmate Kenzo Divic agreed — and highlighted the importance of the Orange Stage, which Boston Calling started in 2022 as an area that exclusively features local acts at the festival.
“It’s cool to have them kind of in the same place, because you can go and see a group of performers that you would normally see in and around Boston,” Divic said.
This year’s Boston Calling starts on Friday, May 24 and runs through Sunday, May 26.