Music

Confirmed: Rage Against the Machine Is on the 2020 Boston Calling Lineup

What to expect at the festival this year, including some Boston rock royalty and an all-local comedy showcase.


boston calling lineup

Boston Calling 2019 photo by Amanda Lucidi

The dream of the ’90s is alive at Boston Calling. At least that’s the case when it comes to the festival’s 2020 headliners, who are not two, but three of the biggest acts popularized in the decade. After rumors swirled about this a few weeks ago, we finally have confirmation that Rage Against the Machine has been booked for the three-day event, joining Foo Fighters and Red Hot Chili Peppers at the top of the bill.

When the festival returns to the Harvard Athletic Complex over Memorial Day Weekend, it’ll have a heavy dose of local talent, including the almighty Dinosaur Jr., Lowell-based electropop outfit PVRIS, Boston shoegaze band the Sheila Divine, and Boston underground industrial hip hop group Camp Blood. Twelve DJs, who also all hail from the Boston area, are slated to perform as well. Notably, the lineup includes Best of Boston winning rapper Cliff Notez, who publicly beefed with Boston Calling last year over its lineup’s lack of local hip hop and hosted a competing event in Dorchester, called Boston Answering.

You may recognize some Boston Calling alums on the lineup. Run the Jewels will be making their third appearance, and Brittany Howard will be back for seconds, after she performed with Alabama Shakes in 2015.

Comedy fans will also notice a shift at this year’s festival. While Boston Calling has hosted some big names in the past— among them Michael Che, Fred Armisen, and Jenny Slate—all the talent this year is from the Boston area, including friend-of-the-mag Lamont Price. “There’s a lot of great talent in this town, so I think it should be on display,” says Price, who has helped organize the festival’s comedy programming since 2016, and says he’s loved the opportunity to perform for gigantic crowds. “The reach is remarkable and it’s pretty dope that there’s gonna be some more local flair this year.”

Comics will no longer perform in the festival’s Arena area, a Harvard hockey rink that for the past several years has been used both for stand-up comedy and DJ sets. Boston Calling isn’t saying much about specifics, but a spokeswoman confirms comedians “will perform in a new area.” As for the Arena itself, Boston Calling is promising some “exciting new Arena programming” is in store, but that’s still hush-hush as well.

Single-day tickets are not yet available, but three-day passes are on sale now for $399 for general admission, $949.99 for VIP, and $1,999 for platinum.

Friday May 22, 2020

Foo Fighters
Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit
Brittany Howard
Noname
The Struts
Sharon Van Etten
PUP
Andrew W.K.
Iann Dior
The Districts
Brutus
Pony Bradshaw
The Sheila Divine

DJs

Liz Ladoux
DJ Knife & DJ Joshua Carl
Bearly Yvng (Big Bear & YVNG PAVL)
DJ Ryan Brown

Comedians

Alingon Mitra
Will Smalley
Sam Ike
Emily Ruskowski
Shawn Carter
Drew Dunn
Katie Que

Saturday May 23, 2020

Rage Against The Machine
Run The Jewels
Banks
Koffee
Pink Sweat$
Dave
Orville Peck
RJD2
Jay Som
Girl in Red
Phony Ppl
Dreamers
Camp Blood

DJs

DJ Frank White
BREK.ONE
DJ J-Wall
DJ Guru Sanaal

Comedians

Orlando Baxter
Andrew Mayer
Al Park
Katlin McFee
Peter Martin
J Smitty

Sunday May 24, 2020

Red Hot Chili Peppers
The 1975
Liam Gallagher
Angels & Airwaves
LP
Phoebe Bridgers
Dinosaur Jr.
PVRIS
Beabadoobee
Jack Harlow
Mew
Djo
Cliff Notez

DJs

DJ 7L
DJ RM
ReaL P
DJ Slick Vick

Comedians

Lamont Price
Hanna Evensen
Sean Sullivan
Jason Cordova
Will Noonan
Tooky Kavanagh