Outside The Box Festival

Outside the Box Festival

For the first time in Boston, our neighborhoods, citizens, and artistic communities throughout the city combined efforts for Outside The Box. Spanning nine days (July 13th – 21st), the first annual performing arts festival transformed public spaces like the Boston Common and City Hall Plaza into performance spaces to showcase over 200 events for free.

“Our region is already known for its universities, hospitals and for its history,” said founder and philanthropist Ted Cutler, whose lifelong dream has been to bring his hometown a world-class, citywide arts festival. “It’s my hope that we add the arts to what people think of when they think of Boston.”

WERS was there on the scene to introduce and support some of our favorite musicians. Read recaps below by some of our staff members and let us know what you thought of the festival in the comment section below!

Air Traffic Controller: Monday, July 15, 2pm-3pm @ The Beacon

Air Traffic Controller may not be able to pull off a convincing Boston accent, but they sure can put on a great show. The band played the main stage of the Outside the Box Festival in Boston Common on Monday July 15th. Dedicated fans and passersby alike endured the 90 degree weather to rock out with the Boston locals. They played numerous tracks off of their latest album, Nordo, including “Hurry Hurry” and “You Know Me”, both favorites here at WERS. (By Garren Orr)

The Dunwells: Tuesday, July 16, 1:30pm-2:30pm @ Park Street Stage

The DunwellsWhen the Dunwells first stopped by the WERS studios to perform on our weekly On The Verge segment, we could tell there was something very special about these guys very early on. Their set on Park Street Stage at the inaugural Outside the Box Festival proved we were right on the money as the band played a fierce set that exhumed confidence and fearlessness. The audience slowly grew larger and larger as passersby were drawn to the Dunwells’ powerful songs, which included tracks from their debut album Blind Sighted Faith, a heartfelt cover of Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek,” and new songs so strong they teetered on the edge of Power-Pop. It certainly helped that their lead guitarist’s riffs featured a mix of Carlos Santana-style Latin rhythms with down-to-earth hints of Bruce Springsteen. The Dunwells put forth a solid performance and showed that nothing could stand in the British group’s way. (By Bond Collard)

Shea Rose: Thursday,  July 18, 1pm-1:45pm @ City Hall Plaza Main Stage

Shea RoseThere aren’t too many things that move you on a 90 degree day in Boston except for free ice cream and air conditioning. Another thing I would add to that list after today would be a Shea Rose performance. The way she interpolates classic covers with her original material is special. As she performed some new songs off of her upcoming EP, D.T.M.A. (Dance This Mess Around), the crowd grew and became more engaged. It’s no wonder she’s seen at the forefront in Boston music. (By Malcolm J. Gray)

Bearstronaut: Thursday, July 18, 3pm-3:45pm @ City Hall Plaza Main Stage

Hailing from the glorious musical soil that is the Boston metro area, Bearstronaut returned to their roots to rock the City Hall Plaza Stage. The group, about to explode into the mainstream with album Paradice and a booked date for Boston Calling, seemed happy to be home when jamming out to an enthusiastic, albeit sweaty, crowd. With several years together under their respective, pastel-colored belts, Bearstronaut played a full hour of their early material (some of which was written at Emerson College) and new stuff alike. Their signature has become a dreamy indie dance sound that’s guaranteed to get you moving, even in the brutal heat. WERS was happy to welcome them to the stage of the festival , because their sound isn’t going to be Boston’s well-kept secret for much longer. (By Jamie Loftus)


David Wax Museum: Thursday, July 18, 6:30pm-7:20pm @ City Hall Plaza Main Stage

David Wax Museum are the current it faces of the Boston scene and have become popular nationwide with their Americana take on the Mexican Son sound. Sound like a bunch of cross-genre gibberish? Give the group a listen and you’ll know what we mean– Wax’s vocals cut clear and clean through a soundscape of acoustics and fiddle with the occasional scrape of the donkey jaw. The four-piece group had a stand-out– or, rather, stick-out– member at their Thursday evening performance at the City Hall Plaza stage at Outside the Box Festival in the form of a very pregnant but still chipper Sue Slezak. The band expressed warm regards to Boston, where they first got their start in the late 2000′s, and gave a large, enthusiastic audience a sampling of the best and most vibrant songs in the Museum’s library. For a sweltering day, they sure did convince a lot of fans to dance barefoot and forget about everything else, a symptom only expressed with the band’s enthusiasm to push it along. (By Jamie Loftus)

Will Daily and the Rivals
: Friday, July 19, 12:30pm-1:30pm @ The Beacon

At the peak of the day, on one of the hottest weeks yet this summer, only a handful of people had braved the intense heat to see Will Dailey and the Rivals’ set at Outside the Box. Yet those who did were rewarded with a fun set that started with roots music and slowly progressed into something grand. Will Dailey and the Rivals’ songs were so well crafted that other passersby couldn’t help but congregate closer to the stage. They proved to be an act worthy of gracing the massive Beacon Stage, and it’ll be no surprise if they attract even bigger crowds at their next performance. (By Bond Collard)

Adam Ezra Group: Friday, July 19, 7:30pm-8:30pm @ City Hall Plaza Main Stage

When it comes to Boston’s local music scene, few artists make the city more proud than the Adam Ezra Group. They embody the Boston Strong spirit by being equal parts charming, heartfelt, and fierce with music that both rouses the body and sooths the soul. Their closing set at the Outside the Box festival ran the gambit of all these emotions, from the intense protest song “Scandal” and the rambunctious “The Devil Came Up to Boston” (a Boston-themed rendition of the Charlie Daniels Band’s “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”) to the soft and stirring “Burn Brightly.” Frontman Adam Ezra even gave an inspiring speech mid-song during “Burn Brightly” about his band’s beginnings and how far they’ve come in the past ten years. The Adam Ezra Group’s versatile and down-to-earth approach to music display a level of strength and courageousness that only be born out of a city like Boston. (By Bond Collard)

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