By Brooke Jackson-Glidden, Staff Writer
I moved to Boston last year from Eugene, a small city in Oregon that boasts the title as the best city for hippies in the United States. Tie-dye can still be purchased in stores or in open-air markets. People brew their own kombucha and/or make their own keifer. I saw more Birkenstocks on the feet of my high school peers than flip flops or sneakers. Most importantly, I grew up on a steady musical diet of Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, The Beatles, Jimi, Janis and a complete slew of jam bands.
Going to open-air concerts and festivals generally involves groping at the air, skipping in circles, saying something along the lines of “I feel so free right now” and wearing the traditional hippie uniform of a maxi skirt, daisy crowns, body paint, etc.
What you’ll never hear an Eugenian say is, that to an extent, this behavior is an act. People whose brains are not completely addled on drugs and can actually hear the music probably don’t like fifteen-minute guitar solos that are, inevitably, off-key and unimaginative (let’s be real, the musician performing is also on some sort of contraband substance).
Now, don’t get me wrong, I can get my hippie on. It’s my culture – patchouli runs through my veins. But I guess going to a concert where there isn’t that sort of “hippie” pretense, or the desire to be the most counterculture, is new to me.
So when I moved to Boston, as promised by my family and friends at home, I experienced quite the culture shock. Why wasn’t I seeing any hemp clothing on my fellow Bostonians? Where could I get locally brewed kombucha? Why were all the drivers so mean?
But I guess that’s why I moved to Boston. I knew I wanted to be around something different, or diverse. So far, Boston has yet to disappoint me on that front.
Musically, however, I haven’t found that “let’s dance in the moonlight; throw mud directly at my face!” Kind of carefree spirit that reminds me of home. Upon attending Boston Calling, I thought I might get a taste for my home – I think Bonnaroo is probably the closest thing to summer in Eugene on this side of the Mississippi.
At Boston Calling, I experienced a completely different genre of not only music, but also audience members. Costumes were few in comparison to folks in t-shirts and jeans. People wore Boston Strong shirts, didn’t dance, but rather sat and listened to bands they had loved for years.
It was different, but not in a bad way.
Boston Calling feels like it’s a Boston festival. No, it’s not hippie paradise. As far as I can see, most people are sober. However, it’s unpretentious and far from preppy (this isn’t Cambridge Calling or Martha’s Vineyard Calling). It’s just about the music.
Listening to Bat for Lashes on brick streets of City Hall Plaza, watching at her reach for the sky at seagulls with steeples and clock towers watching from the distance, I felt more of a part of Boston than I ever had before. I felt like I had arrived at the next phase of my life.