Here’s All the Free Stuff at Boston Calling

Companies are out in full force promising festival attendees all sorts of souvenirs and tsotchkes—for the price of their email addresses.

An overhead shot of free things including a frisbee, a beach ball, and a drawstring backpack

Photo by Hayley Glatter

From branded games of corn hole to elaborate photo booths, corporate America is out in full force at Boston Calling, catering to the Instagram generation with every last giveaway.

And I want it all.

So, like a moth to a freebie flame, I flitted around the vast expanse of Harvard’s Athletic Complex with just one goal in mind: a treasure trove of random stuff that I did not pay for. I traversed the grounds like a true wilderness explorer, hiking over a mild hill near the Blue Stage in pursuit of the flashy complimentary swag I was sure decorated the IKEA tent. I waited, sweaty and tired, for several minutes so I could call a Sam Adams beer koozie mine. I sampled four flavors of Diet Coke with the hope that I would win a pair of free sunglasses. I did not win the sunglasses. But in my adventure, I surely won much more.

There’s so much free stuff to be had at the festival, and I feel confident I now possess the vast majority of it. Here’s all the (mostly branded) stuff I picked up around Boston Calling, without pulling out my wallet once:

  • Plastic Livestrong-style bracelets
  • Phone pop sockets
  • Ear plugs, just in case you don’t want to hear the music at the music festival
  • A slap bracelet
  • A beer koozie
  • A slap-bracelet-style beer koozie
  • A drawstring bag with a dog face on it
  • A frisbee, to play fetch with your drawstring pup bag
  • Several pairs of sunglasses
  • Vacuum-packed salad
  • A book about Swedish immigrants and intersectionality, because intellectualism takes no holidays
  • Sunflower seeds for planting, not snacking (I ate one anyway.)
  • Many flavors of Diet Coke
  • Even more flavors of kombucha
  • Bubbles
  • A big beachball
  • A small glass of wine spritzer (pinkies up, Boston Calling!)

And on top of all the very awesome and very free items, I also snagged some sunscreen AND complimentary WiFi. So keep dreaming big, for you, too, could some day own branded ear plugs.