Five Reasons to Leave the House This Weekend

A variety of festivals are happening in Boston this weekend. Plus: Backstreet Boys!


Boston HempFest. (Photo via Ethan M. Long/Flickr)

Boston Freedom Rally/Hempfest

Every September, people gather at Boston Common to demand marijuana law reform at the Boston Freedom Rally—better known as Hempfest—the second largest of such gatherings in the nation, after Seattle. Organizer MassCann (the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition) had big plans for Hemfest’s 24th year, hoping to expand it into a two-day event, but ran into trouble from the city’s Parks and Recreation Department in a dispute whose outcome remains to be seen. But whether one day or two, Hempfest promises various food and clothing vendors, free music, and tons of educational materials about marijuana legalization.

Free, Saturday, September 14, noon-6 p.m., Boston Common,

MixFest 2013: Of Monsters and Men, Backstreet Boys, and Gavin DeGraw

Backstreet’s back, alright—and they’re coming to the Esplanade. ‘NSYNC may have wowed us with a short but sweet reunion at MTV’s Video Music Awards a few weeks ago, but luckily for those of you who live in Boston and grew up preferring “I Want It That Way” over “Bye Bye Bye,” the Backstreet Boys’ performance at MixFest, hosted by MIX 104.1 this Saturday, promises to be a much longer show. And wait—there’s more! Gavin DeGraw will take the stage right before Backstreet Boys and the reunited boy band will actually serve as an opener for popular indie folk band Of Monsters and Men. It’s a show that spans multiple genres and generations, and it’s free. Needless to say, we strongly suggest that you get there early to snag a good spot.

Free, Saturday, September 14, gates open at 1 p.m., music starts at 4 p.m., DCR Hatch Shell,

T Party
Red Line Ride

We all love to hate the T, but this Sunday, ONEin3 Boston, Cambriville Connects, and Somerville officials invite you to celebrate the Red Line—or rather, the three cities that it connects. The Red Line Ride encompasses food, music, and activities at each of the five Red Line stops going from South Station to Davis Square, transitioning from Boston to Cambridge to Somerville. Meet at South Station at noon, where you can enjoy lawn games on the nearby Rose Kennedy Greenway, dance to music from AMP 103.3, and win a 24-hour Hubway pass if you’re one of the first 50 people to show up. Then hop on the T and commence the tour, hopping off at Downtown Crossing for cupcake decorating at Cakeology, Kendall Square for a flash mob and dance brought to you by MIT Dance Troupe, and Central Square for the annual Dumpling Festival, until you make a final stop at Davis Square, where bowling at Flatbread and grab giveaways await.

Sunday, September 15, noon-4 p.m., starts at South Station and ends at Davis Square,

New England Indonesian Festival

This Saturday, come out to Copley Square and participate in the first Indonesian culture festival ever held in the Greater Boston area. Explore and celebrate Indonesian culture with authentic traditional dances and performances, as well as 25 booths offering imported goods, batik demonstrations, language instruction, food and more.

Free, Saturday, September 14, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Copley Square,

Rumble on the River

For the fourth year in a row, Community Rowing Inc. is hosting Rumble on the River, a free music and rowing festival on the Charles River in Brighton. This year’s music lineup includes Dub Apocalypse featuring Toussaint the Liberator, Van Gordon Martin Band, Banana Phonetic, Jamie Kent and the Options, Skunkmello, and DJ Ryan Brown. Submitting an RSVP on grants you access to the beer garden, which will be fully stocked with brews from Narragansett, Harpoon, Cisco Brewers Nantucket, and Newburyport Brewing Co., and will serve as the best viewing area for the stage. While the entire event is free, donations are strongly suggested to help raise funds for outreach initiatives such as rowing for military veterans and athletes with special needs, as well as Let’s Row Boston, a rowing program for Boston Public Schools students.

Free, but donations strongly encouraged, Sunday, September 15, noon-6:30 p.m., Harry Parker Boathouse, 20 Nonantum Rd., Brighton,