I Am Downtown Boston: Brian Appel, CEO Crash Line Productions

Posted June 16, 2014 by Cheryl Fenton in Downtown Boston
Downtown Block Parties

When you hear the name “Crash Line Productions,” usually what follows is quite literally music to your ears. Whether it’s a free block party showcasing local bands or a giant all-out music fest pumping with international talent, the event company’s CEO Brian Appel has his finger on the pulse of our city’s thirst for fun. Along with his partner, Mike Snow, he started Crash Line Productions in 2012. And ever since their very first Boston Calling Music Festival that year, Appel has been making sure Boston has its fill of great music.

With Crash Line’s Thursday night block parties in full swing at Dewey Square and the next Boston Calling Music Festival set to rock City Hall Plaza September 5 through 7 (yes, The National and Nas x The Roots will be there), this is a perfect time to sit down with one of the masterminds behind it all.

Voice of Downtown Boston: When deciding where to host the Block Parties, what was on your checklist for location must-haves?

Brian Appel: When they were on Summer Street, there needed to be enough space to accommodate 250 people, and it had to be a high visibility area with lots of pedestrian traffic. For Dewey Square, it was the same criteria, but we wanted a larger space.

VoD: What does Downtown Boston bring to the party?

BA: All kinds of folks live and work in the area. It’s a great melting pot. But they want outdoor space to spend time after work, and the neighborhood was lacking in patios and decks. Also the staff that operates the Business Improvement District is wonderful and true partners to work with.

VoD: What is your involvement with Boston Calling and the Block Parties?

BA: I oversee all operations for both events. I’m involved in talent booking, along with a few other people. Block parties help give visibility to local bands.

VoD: How has the downtown area changed throughout the years for the better?

BA: [Downtown Boston] feels cleaner and friendlier than before, and the construction is really taking shape. It looks very different than five years ago.

VoD: What can someone expect from the Block Parties?

BA: The first response from newcomers is: “What’s the catch?” People are used to being charged admission, overcharged for drinks, or solicited by unwanted sponsors when they enter events. The block parties don’t do any of that. It’s free to get in, with reasonably priced beer and wine, friendly people and plenty of space to hang out and watch a band and spend time with friends. We ask nothing of the customer except to enjoy themselves and be respectful of the area.

VoD: Boston Calling is such a huge musical event these days. What was your goal in starting it? Did you reach that goal?

BA: We just wanted to create an event that brought people together in downtown Boston, an area that we love and spend so much time in. We’re glad that people enjoy the festivals and block parties, and will continue to work on them as long as the people will have us!


Be the first to comment!

You must be logged in to post a comment.