The first annual Outside the Box arts festival is drawing humidity-braving crowds from near and far to watch some 200 live performances at Boston Common and City Hall Plaza from July 13-21.
Getting buzz are performances by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Lemonheads, Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys, and Buffalo Tom.
Founded by arts philanthropist and Emerson Trustee Emeritus Ted Cutler ’51, the free festival is meant to unify Boston and make arts accessible to everyone with live music, theater, dance, and more, including the “Fork Lift Food Fest” with several local celebrity chefs.
“Our region is already known for its universities, hospitals, and for its history,” Cutler said. “It’s my hope that we add the arts to what people think of when they think of Boston.”
Brendan and Blanca O’Reilly of Easton took their three sons, as well as Blanca’s sister, brother-in-law, and niece visiting from Mexico, to see the performance by Air Traffic Controller in Boston Common on Monday, July 15.
“It’s a great idea,” Brendan O’Reilly said of the festival. “We thought it’d be a great time to show them around the city, and our first stop was here. They like it very much.”
Air Traffic Controller is the Boston-based rock band that won “Best Indie Rock Act” of the 2010 Boston Music Conference, and was nominated in 2009 for “Best Break Out Artist” on the MTV Video Music Awards.
“There’s a great base of bands that have come out for this,” said Garren Orr ’14, who works for the street team of Emerson radio station WERS-FM, and was handing out bumper stickers on the Common. “People seem super interested.”
Bernadette Buck of Cambridge spent her lunch break dancing to Air Traffic Controller.
“I should have taken a week off,” she joked. “This has such robust support, and the arts are so important.”
A full schedule of events is available on the Outside the Box website.