Every year music festivals are challenged to outdo themselves with more activities and better layouts. This has led more and more festivals to incorporate VIP experiences in addition to their musical programming, allowing festival goers to experience comfort and luxury alongside the sweat-laced crowds and rustic vibes that come with most summer carnivals. And there’s no one better for that job than Mike Savas, current Director of VIP at the Boston Calling summer festival.
Over the last decade, Savas has built out VIP programs in about 75 different countries, customizing each program to focus on specific markets and demographics. When joining the Boston Calling team, Savas knew he wanted to take the VIP and Platinum ticket options to the next level. “I think it’s easy to do a good job at VIP. But, I think it’s difficult to do a memorable job at VIP. You want people to walk away and say, ‘I’ve never seen that before and it was incredible,'” Savas says.
The inaugural Boston Calling festival took place in 2013, at City Hall Plaza. Going into its second year at the Harvard Athletic Complex, the team knew they would need to make adjustments to the festival layout and general programming. Savas says one of the greatest improvements to VIP and Platinum areas is the repositioning of the VIP lounge to be situated equidistance from the three stages. With a new location, the lounge will be more interactive while offering a vibey space with pops of family-friendly fun for inhabitants of all ages. “There will be some surprises there,” says Savas. “With Boston in mind and what childhood is like, we’ve layered in some nostalgic items that will bring you back to your youth and being excited in the summer months with your family.”
In addition to VIP environs, Savas implemented a celebrity chef-curated menu for each night of the festival when you opt for the Platinum experience. “The chef has chosen the menu options and thought it all out to create a a gourmet experience,” he says. Plus, the adults will be impressed by the signature cocktails and expanded beer and wine menu.
Aside from the cuisine, the biggest draw for the Platinum option is the gifting suite, which Savas says is the result of countless brainstorming sessions. “How do you appeal to so many different people at a festival with so many needs?” he says. “We’re going to effectively base each day off how we think the customers will be feeling,”he says. With daily offerings, the gift bag program starts with a “festival survival pack” featuring must-have items for the weekend that you may have forgotten, followed by a “refuel and recharge” bag for staying hydrated and energized for day two. The final gift bag will be the “party pack,” allowing festival goers to end Boston Calling with a bang. “Three different days, three different themes and three different sets of items. It’s a little unique with more of a personal touch,” Savas says.
The personal touches don’t stop with the tangible amenities. One of the perks in both VIP and Platinum is access to on-site event staffers to assist with your every need. Savas says that he staffed his team with the most enthusiastic and passionate people, hoping those vibes will trickle down to the festival attendees. “Anyone can tell you where the bathroom is. There’s not a specific skill you need to have or that I can put my finger on, it’s just a bit of magic,” he says. “We’re going to be there, having a blast and hopefully bringing that vibe to the next level.”
While both VIP and Platinum experiences will include air-conditioned bathrooms, exclusive lounges, phone charging stations and upgraded food options, Savas ultimately recommends Platinum due to less crowding than VIP. “Platinum is a higher-end experience with more amenities and the opportunity to be segregated from the crowds and feel a little more special,” he adds.
Boston Calling will be held at the Harvard Athletic Complex from May 25 – 27 and headliners include Eminem, Jack White and The Killers.