How I Won Free Tickets to Boston Calling

Settle down children and let ole man stories (me, a 25-year-old girl) spin you a tale of an extremely broke girl (again, me) and her quest to win tickets to Boston Calling by any means necessary.*

*Any means that did not require her to travel farther than like, a mile from her apartment or talk to anyone she did not want to talk to.

Welcome to Living the Fest Life. Please keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all time.

Two years ago. 2017. Wait, 2017 was two years ago??? Time is a social construct, death is coming for us all, as we are but ants, marching in line forever towards the inevitability of the grave, yadda yadda yadda.

Anyway, as I was saying. Two years ago. 2017. Boston Calling announced that they were moving their operations to the Harvard Athletic Complex and sizing up in every way imaginable, determined to become a bigger player on the East Coast festival scene. They teased photos of the new set up, released a frankly, stacked lineup and rolled out a list of food stalls that seemed designed to entice me, specifically, to attend.

One problem: I had zero dollars. Zoom in on my empty wallet.

So, I said to myself, “self, you are going to get free tickets to this event. By any means necessary.**”

** See above for definition of “any means necessary.”

I entered every radio contest, every Facebook contest, every Instagram contest. I re-tweeted every post promising free tickets. I tagged my friends, I direct messaged accounts, I became, frankly, annoying online.

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I subsequently lost all of these contests.

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Desperate times, my friends

I’d all but given up on my noble quest when lo and behold, one day while I hunched over on my bed, eating microwaveable soup and staring at my phone, a banner notification flashed across my screen.

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They were hosting a city-wide record store day scavenger hunt for a pair of day passes.

I spilled my soup.

The scavenger hunt was not well promoted. A few hours later, the post still only had like five retweets and a handful of likes. It occurred to me, a savvy Twitter user, that hardly anyone knew that this scavenger hunt was happening, so if I figured out a clue, I might win by default by being one of the few people who had any idea it was going on. I cannot express to you how much I love winning things by default. It combines two of my favorite things: the satisfaction of beating other people and not having to try.

I stayed up half the night researching and pinpointing the most popular and famous record shops in the Boston area so I could identify them quickly from a clue. By the time the Boston Calling account tweeted the first clue at 5am, I was READY. I was in my car. I was drinking coffee. I was wearing my roomiest pair of sweatpants with extra-large pockets full of snacks.

The research I’d done the night before turned out to be entirely unnecessary because BC pretty much included the address of the record stores they wanted you to find in each clue.

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We’re not going to get into the shortcomings of their rhyme scheme

So I went to the Newbury Comics on JFK. And I googled the phrases “No Come Down” and “36” chain,” found out they were extremely clear references to Run the Jewels songs that I should definitely have known without googling them, and was like, great, I just have to find their album in this Newbury Comics and call it a day, badda bing badda boom, free tickets, baby and we’re back in bed by 6am.

Problem: I assumed that the clues being tweeted so early meant that the record stores would be open this early and that I would be able to roller skate on in, collar popped, sunglasses on, snack pockets full, and claim my tickets. This was not correct. This particular Newbury Comics is located inside of a shopping plaza, but the door to the plaza hadn’t been unlocked yet. Unsure of what to do next, I tweeted at Boston Calling and asked what to do when I got to a store and they were essentially like, “uh, wait for it to open?”

A quick and fun google search revealed that this particular store opens each day at 10am, which was a major friggin bummer because I was not about to wait there until 10am. I figured I’d go home (I live about a five-minute drive from Harvard Square), go back to sleep, and then come back closer to 10. I got home, mumbled at my morning-person roommate who for some reason was awake and trying to talk to me at 6:30am, and sent a text out to my festival friend group (whaddup fam), letting them know about my failure. Much to my surprise, one of them was up equally early and she answered with something akin to “KA, you fool, you big dumb fool, record stores open early today, get back out there it’ll probably open at 8am.”

I leaped out of bed, knocked over everything I own, probably fell down the stairs on my way to the car, scared the shit out of the stray cat that lives in my back yard and raced back over, arriving sometimes around 7:15am. The mall was open now, so I threw open the doors dramatically, as I am so wont to do, and was SURPRISED to find a line of 30 or so people waiting outside the store. I couldn’t believe it. I’d undergone this journey, this quest, if you will, only to be thirtieth in line??

But again, guys, it was Record Store Day. That is a big deal! Record Store Day is a whole thing!! It’s a whole thing!! Those people were not here for the Boston Calling contest, they did not know about the Boston Calling contest. They simply wanted to score those sweet, sweet record deals.

The doors did, in fact, open at 8, at which point raced directly to the section where the Run the Jewels albums were stored. No ticket. I assumed it must be stored somewhere else, so I sidled over to an employee and asked them in an extremely low and suspicious tone, assuming they were in the know, if there was anywhere else they kept their Run the Jewels merch. The employee, who had literally no idea why I was being so suspicious, pointed to a pile of t-shirts and was like, “uh, those?” I raced over to the t-shirts and started flipping through them. Again, nothing.

As I was standing there, surrounded by Run the Jewels t-shirts and what I believed to be my own failure, a girl around my age emerged from the stack of albums I’d looked at first, waving one of the “golden tickets.” I asked her where she’d gotten it, and she pointed to the album, saying she just saw someone place it there. Turns out, I’d legitimately gotten to the store before the Boston Calling representative. They hadn’t placed the ticket until after I’d searched through that stack.

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It me

Deep regret and deeper emotional pain washed over me until this girl, this beautiful girl, this angelic, actual hero, said, “there are actually two tickets, I just need one, do you want the other?”

I might’ve cried? Look, I definitely cried. It’s fine. I think it’s pretty clear at this point that I’m not a proud person, so we’ll just go with “I cried” and move on from there without dwelling.

I Instagrammed a frankly, sweaty pic of myself holding the ticket. Boston Calling slid into my DMs and was all “bb girl, send us your address and we’ll send you the tix” and I was all “hey, here’s my address, by the way, I love you.” I returned to my house triumphant, elatedly explained myself to my morning-person roommate, then flopped face down on my bed.

I had done it. I had successfully acquired a free ticket to Boston Calling, by any means necessary.***

***Means that did not, in fact, require me to travel farther than like, a mile from my apartment or talk to anyone I did not want to talk to.


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