Boston Calling returned this past Memorial Day weekend, bringing big names like The Killers, Ed Sheeran, and Tyler Childers alongside rising stars like Reneé Rapp and Chappell Roan. Check out some highlights from the weekend as well as some exclusive portraits with some of the artists who performed at the festival.

Day 1

Friday was the first of three hot and sunny days that would span the weekend. We started out by checking out the first act to perform on the Green Stage – Madi Diaz. This singer-songwriter has an incredibly powerful and soulful voice, and watching her set put us in a great mood for the rest of the day.

We then took a few steps over to the Happy Valley Red Stage to catch the beginning of Beach Weather’s set. These guys brought the energy and got the crowd dancing along to their indie and pop-rock hits.

Artist Spotlight: MARIS

We had the pleasure of catching up-and-coming pop singer-songwriter MARIS’ set as well as taking some portraits of her. MARIS’ set was full of energy, supported by her band of local Berklee College of Music students from Boston. Her style is absolutely unmatched, and we see her doing big things in the future!

Next, we headed over to catch the highly anticipated set by Luke Hemmings. The 5 Seconds of Summer lead singer is currently on a solo tour promoting his latest album, boy. Fans waited at the Green Stage barricade all day to be as close as possible when he took the stage. While certainly not as grand as a 5SOS performance, Hemmings put on a wonderful performance with his guitar and backing band.

Local Artist Spotlight: JVK

Rock band JVK took to Boston Calling’s Orange Stage, which highlights local talent, and absolutely blew audience members away. This was one of our favorite sets of the entire weekend, and the band drew quite a crowd to the small tennis-court-sized viewing area around the stage. We also had the chance to grab some portraits of them before their set!

Next we got to see one of the most anticipated sets of the weekend – Reneé Rapp. This rising star’s powerful voice comes from her background in musical theater, and she did not disappoint! Playing songs from her newest album, Snow Angel, including “I Hate Boston” (which she swears isn’t true anymore), Rapp captivated the audience during her hour-long set.

Following Reneé Rapp was a beautiful R&B performance by Leon Bridges. After the high-energy of Rapp’s set, Bridges’ set allowed audience members to close their eyes and take in the sunset and the cool breeze that came with it

Closing out day 1 was Ed Sheeran, and he put on an incredible performance as per usual. His performances consist of just him on the stage with his guitar and loop pedals, which allow him to create all of his own backtracks live on the spot. This truly unique way of performing, along with visuals that went along with his many albums, was a great way to end the night. Fans sang along to hits like “Castle on the Hill,” “Photograph,” “Shivers,” “Shape of You,” and more.

Day 2

Day 2 was lightheartedly dubbed “Yeehaw Day” by some fans and fellow media members as fans were in for a country and folk-heavy lineup for the middle day of the fest. After a great performance by sister trio The Castellows, we headed over to catch two hip-hop and rap sets by d4vd and local Roxbury legend Cakeswagg. d4vd, who is just 19 years old, showcased his powerful vocals, including his song “Feel It” which is featured in the TV series “Invincible.”

We then moved on to see Frank Turner and his band The Sleeping Souls over at the Red Stage. Turner has quite the voice, and he and the band garnered a pretty good sized crowd, including those from the nearby Green Stage who stuck around after d4vd.

Local Artist Spotlight: Paper Lady

We had a chance to take some photos of Boston’s own Paper Lady before their set! Paper Lady’s music really fit Saturday’s vibe – their dreamy indie tunes meshed well with the other alternative and country artists seen performing that day. And they drew quite their own crowd, as well!

Previewing the country headliner to come later that night, country rockers The Red Clay Strays played some catchy tunes over at the Allianz Blue Stage – with lots of cowboy hats in attendance.

Khruangbin was next for us to check out, and while it was a little difficult to tell when one song started and another ended, this didn’t matter for the thousands of fans closing their eyes and taking in the moment watching this psychedelic rock trio. Mostly instrumental with some lyrics here and there, this group also definitely won for coolest stage setup and lights, which could be seen even though the sun had not fully set yet.

A cross between country, hip-hop, and pop, our penultimate set of the day was Alabama-raised Jessie Murph, who drew a sizable crowd as she closed out the Blue Stage for the day. Stood in front of a wall of lights, the singer showcased the range of genres in her songs, covered Rhianna’s “S&M,” interacted with the crowd, and even debuted new music.

Headlining the main stage on Day 2 was Grammy-nominated country star Tyler Childers. Though stoic, Childers’ voice is what carried his performance. Though some circulating rumors of a Zach Bryan appearance never came to fruition, Childers easily blew away the audience all on his own. The singer had a large backing band filled with musicians playing instruments anywhere from cellos to guitars to pianos, and we’re sure lots of people walked away as new fans of him that night.

Day 3

Day 3 was easily the most highly awaited and busiest day of Boston Calling this year. Due to the large crowds we weren’t able to catch quite as many sets as previous days, but those that we did catch were certainly worth the wait! We also took some time to check out some of the vendor stands at the festival – including some free Dunkin Donuts samples and free Twisted Tea next to their giant inflatable can.

The people’s Midwest Princess drew possibly one of the largest 4pm festival crowds we’ve ever seen – much larger than the crowds for the headliners on the first two days. Roan has experienced a recent and rapid rise to fame – helped along by her stint opening for global pop superstar Olivia Rodrigo on the recent leg of her US tour. Roan played a plethora of her hits, including “Femininomenon,” “Casual,” and, of course, taught the thousands in front of her how to dance to “HOT TO GO!”

Right after Chappell Roan’s dominating performance on the Green Stage, The Revivalists took to the adjacent Red Stage. Possibly the exact opposite genre of Chappell Roan’s queer pop persona, this American rock band still held their own, maybe even gaining some new fans from those watching their set as they slowly exited the area after Roan’s performance. Lead singer David Shaw even had a platform set up at the front of the stage for him to step out onto and more closely connect with the audience.

It wouldn’t be a complete day at Boston Calling without catching at least one performance at the local Orange Stage. Sunday, we were able to catch an incredibly powerful performance by 2021 Boston Music Awards winner Zola Simone. She even has music featured in the Netflix series, “Atypical.”

We then hopped over to the Blue Stage to catch a great performance by indie rocker Blondshell. Formerly known as BAUM, she’s taken her music in a new direction under the Blondshell name with groovy melodies and a more unplugged sound than her pop past.

A quick hip-hop detour was in store for us as we headed over to catch rapper Megan Thee Stallion’s set over on the main stage before Hozier. Opening with her recent hit “HISS” written amongst her back and forth with Nicki Minaj, Megan played hit after hit in a fully choreographed set with pyro and her dancers.

Hozier wasted no time getting on stage and taking the thousands of audience members at Boston Calling to Church. Currently in the middle of his tour, Hozier took the time to perform an array of hits, including “Work Song,” “Eat Your Young,” the recently viral “Too Sweet,” and, of course, “Take Me to Church.” He truly has a powerhouse of a voice, and is an incredible performer to see live.

Boston Calling isn’t Boston Calling without a showstopping rock set. Last year we saw Foo Fighters, and this year we closed out the weekend with a great set by The Killers. Opening up with “All These Things That I’ve Done,” The Killers are one of those groups where everyone knows at least a few songs, and the audience sang along nonstop from the start to the finish. What better way is there to close out a festival than to scream along to “Mr. Brightside” with your friends under the cool summer breeze?

Photo © 2024 Chris Phelps The Killers - 2024 Boston Calling - Boston 5.26.24

Julia Finocchiaro

Julia Finocchiaro

Julia Finocchiaro is a photographer based in Boston MA. More of her work is at