MSG Acquires Boston Calling

The Madison Square Garden Co. has added Boston Calling to its festival portfolio by acquiring a controlling interest in the entertainment production company that operates New England’s top festival.

Boston Calling Events co-founder and CEO Brian Appel will continue to run the business that, in addition to its namesake festival, also owns and produces events including the Boston Calling Block Parties and a new event, Copenhagen Beer Celebration, MSG announced July 6.

The Boston Calling Festival, which traditionally took place over two weekends during the year, previously announced it will now take place annually over three days across Memorial Day weekend and move to a location in nearby Allston, Mass., with an expanded capacity.

“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,” MSG President/CEO David O’Connor said. “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.”

Boston Calling, which has been curated by The National’s Aaron Dessner, will add programming including comedy, visual art and a new film festival.

“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,” Appel said. “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.”

In addition to expanding MSG’s festival offerings, which also include MSG’s 50 percent ownership of the Tribeca Film Festival, BCE will give MSG access to emerging artists that can go on to play its venues. The partnership will also enable both companies to explore joint cross-promotion, sponsorship, marketing and booking opportunities.