This Is How Many Calories Are Burned at a Music Festival

We wore a Nike FuelBand to Boston Calling to track calories and steps.

Boston Calling

The author, dancing at Boston Calling. Photo by Olga Khvan

Have you ever returned home from a weekend-long concert, exhausted and dehydrated, wondering how many calories you burned at the music festival? I attended Boston Calling decked out with a Nike FuelBand to find out.

First, it has to be said that Boston Calling is no Coachella. For most attendees, dancing is pretty much limited to head bobbing, toe tapping, and light arm swaying, and the two stages are roughly 300 yards apart, so steps are fairly limited. Still, I figured that standing all day, interspersed with walking and dancing, was bound to burn a decent number of calories. Here’s what I found:

Day 1: Saturday

Total calories burned: 671
Total steps taken: 11,211
Estimated calories consumed:

3 p.m.: I attempt my first bout of dancing, to Run the Jewels. Quickly, I realize that my dance skills, or lack thereof, are not well-suited to hip-hop.

3:30 p.m.: Undoing all calorie burn, I eat a Roxy’s Green Muenster Melt. It was delicious.

3:45 p.m.: I head back out to watch Tove Lo’s set. Inspired by the rowdy group of preteens to my right, I get in a good amount of flailing, side stepping, and arm waving.

5:45 p.m.: I return to the stages and dance to Marina and the Diamonds and St. Vincent.

8 p.m.: While Ben Harper plays his slow jams, I reward myself for a day of looking like an idiot by drinking an Angry Orchard cider and eating some pretzels and a mini Clif bar. By this point it has gotten windy, so I inadvertently supplement my calorie burn by jumping up and down and walking in place to avoid freezing.

10 p.m.: After watching half of headliner My Morning Jacket’s set, I head out to escape the unexpected but totally normal New England evening chill.

Day 2: Sunday

Total calories burned: 559
Total steps taken: 7,788
Estimated calories consumed: 

3 p.m.: I begin by strolling the grounds with a friend. Inevitably, the stroll ends at the beer tent.

3:55 p.m.: Lucius takes the stage. I am disappointed to find that they are not as upbeat as I thought, and resort to lots of arm waving and vigorous clapping to kick off my calorie burn.

4:55 p.m.: Temperatures today are well above 80 degrees, so I give in to temptation and have an ice cream. To make up for it, friends and I kick off a spirited game of corn hole while Jason Isbell plays.

5:55 p.m.: I watch Vance Joy, but find it difficult to dance to his soft rock.

7 p.m.: Food break. Tonight, it’s two veggie tacos from Chipotle.

8:05 p.m.: Jack Black’s band, Tenacious D, steps onto the stage. At first, the crowd is energetic and I happily dance along. By the end, energy has faded and my feet are aching.

10 p.m.: I leave halfway through the headliner’s set—tonight it’s the Pixies—as sun-induced exhaustion takes its toll.

The bottom line: Boston Calling is not a workout. It would take a fearless approach to dancing and some major self control around the food vendors to consider this any sort of healthy weekend. Perhaps next year the acts will be more upbeat.