NEW YORK — The Madison Square Garden Company has purchased a controlling interest in Boston Calling Events, LLC (BCE), the entertainment production company known for successfully creating and operating New England’s premier music festival – Boston Calling.
Since it was started in 2013, BCE’s signature event — the acclaimed Boston Calling Music Festival — has earned the praise of more than 250,000 fans and has been hailed by the likes of Rolling Stone and The Boston Globe for everything from its diverse music lineup to its quality production. BCE Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Brian Appel will continue to operate the business, which also owns and produces many other events each year, including the Boston Calling Block Parties, an annual series of outdoor events showcasing local music, and the Copenhagen Beer Celebration, a new festival showcasing world-class brewers and musical acts that will be held for the first time this September in Boston’s City Hall Plaza.
“We have been exploring music festivals as a way to further expand and strengthen our position in the ‘live experience’ space and are very pleased to welcome Boston Calling Events to the MSG family,” said David O’Connor, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Madison Square Garden Company. “Over the last three and a half years, Boston Calling’s popularity has been built by its commitment to operating as an open and independent festival that welcomes artists from all genres. We want to support Boston Calling Event’s efforts to preserve this well-earned reputation as it moves forward with its plans to expand and enrich this great event for a great city.”
“We are excited about joining a company that not only shares our commitment to delivering artist-and fan-friendly events, but that truly believes in the growing value of unique and exceptional live experiences,” said Mr. Appel. “Their support will be invaluable as we continue to work on delivering successful events for music fans, while exploring new opportunities in the festival space.”
BCE recently announced that starting in 2017, Boston Calling, which traditionally took place over two weekends during the year, will now take place annually on Memorial Day weekend and relocate to a new location in nearby Allston with expanded capacity. This will enable the three-day festival to further develop its offerings with more and larger acts curated by Aaron Dessner, the Founding Curator of Boston Calling’s music lineup and member of the band, The National, along with other types of programming, including comedy, visual art and a new film festival.
The Boston Calling Festival is one of the country’s only remaining independent, urban music festivals and takes place in a city where MSG has had a live entertainment presence for the last eight years thanks to a booking agreement with the Wang Theatre. Utilizing MSG’s knowledge of the market, along with its booking, sponsorship, marketing and promotional expertise and platforms, BCE will work to grow the premier event, while also exploring ways to expand its current festival offerings, including into new verticals and new geographies.
In addition to expanding MSG’s festival offerings, which also include MSG’s 50 percent ownership of the acclaimed Tribeca Film Festival, BCE will give MSG access to up and coming artists that can go on to play its venues. The partnership will also enable both companies to explore joint cross-promotion, sponsorship, marketing and bookings opportunities.