Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner, and here in New England, that means one thing, especially if you’re a music fan. It means that the Boston Calling Music Festival is about to kick off its 13th edition as the region's biggest and best music festival.

GBH’s Henry Santoro interviewed Mike Snow, co-founder of Boston Calling. The following transcript has been edited for clarity.

Henry Santoro: Eleven years ago, the festival made its debut on Boston City Hall Plaza. There were two festivals a year — one in May, one in September. It has since moved to a much bigger and more comfortable space at the Harvard Athletic Complex in Allston. Overall, how are you feeling about the history of the festival as you gear up for yet another one?

Mike Snow: We always look forward, and right now, forward in time would be this festival. But we do get a little nostalgic every time we open the doors.

My favorite hour of the day is 12 to 1 p.m. on Friday afternoon — because you never miss doors. That's one of those things we have always been able to do. We stand there in the lot, with three radios going. Every department is humming along. You see that crowd rush in, and it's almost like the crowd is the wave, “Wow, we're doing this again. And wow, think of all the things we have done.”

Santoro: With so many festivals taking place over the summer — when the weather gets good, it's like you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a music festival. How does Boston Calling continue to book the top acts that it does?

Snow: I think some of its timing. When people say, “Oh, why Memorial Day?” It’s mainly because we're early in the cycle and that helps us quite a bit. A lot of bands are on the East Coast. There’s the Bonnaroo Festival in Tennessee in June, and that’s very helpful. And Governors Ball in New York City happens right around our time frame. So, that part helps. Bands that are interested in festivals know they can do an East Coast run, a couple of shows — whether it's clubs or arenas — a couple of festivals in the first couple of months of the year. So, from a business side, that's how we do it.

Courtesy of Boston Calling

Santoro: I was at last year's festival — as I've been to every one you've scheduled. But I was at last year's festival, and I got to witness Noah Kahan, and he just had 40,000 people in the palm of his hand.

Snow: And I saw more of it via your social media than I did in person! But then I went down to Austin in the fall, and I saw it for myself in Austin, and it was the same.

He played on a tertiary stage, and the crowd was well past where you could even hear it. And it was amazing.

Santoro: They knew every single word.

Snow: Yes. And, you know, he snuck out to the Harvard campus and did his own social media. Like, we don't ask people to do that. He’s just an awesome person, and we are happy for his success.

Santoro: This year's headliners at Boston Calling are Ed Sheeran, Tyler Childers, The Killers. That's a little something for everybody, right?

Snow: Yeah. This year, after COVID and all of the touring and whatnot, we decided to shake the snow globe a little bit and try a couple of other things. Tyler's been just crushing arena dates.

Santoro: And this year, the food and beverage lineup for Boston Calling is second to none.

Snow: Yeah, we have a good time with it. We've partnered up along the way with DoorDash and brought in some different vendors that way. We’re also featuring Dumpling Daughter, and JaJu for your pierogies. The MacBar is coming, that’s a new vendor for us that will make a Jack Daniel’s pork mac and cheese.

More than two dozen local vendors will be bringing food to Boston Calling over Memorial Day weekend.
Courtesy of Boston Calling

Corrected: May 17, 2024
The headline of this article has been updated to correct the number of years since Boston Calling was created.