How I survived the two-floor Dunkin’ at Boston Calling 2023

Photo Credit: Jason Greenough for Vanyaland

Amongst the sprawling and jam-packed festival grounds of Boston Calling 2023, currently on display across Allston’s Harvard Athletic Complex this weekend, there are plenty of attractions and experiences to take in. But no other is arguably as mysterious and comfortably chaotic as the two-story Dunkin’ Donuts that has brought in hordes of people throughout the first two days of festivities. So, in the spirit of curiosity, and with a New Englander’s tractor beam-like attraction to anything orange and purple, I decided to check out just what kind of magic this structure contained.

As it turns out, it’s basically a Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory for New Englanders, where instead everlasting gobstoppers, you’re served munchkins upon entry. In place of a chocolate river, it’s just cold brew flowing through the pipes. And instead of Augustus Gloop sticking his chubby little hands into said river, well… that’s just me. Don’t judge, it was completely necessary.

Waiting in line in the toasty sun, you can almost feel that glowing feels you get when iced coffee hits after the first sip, and once you’re in the doors, that feeling seems to hit like nothing else. Forget about water, butter pecan is king. After feasting on entirely too many Munchkins, I made my way to the back of the room where a neat little pad reminiscent of of a suspended neon dance floor sits center stage, just asking for a photo op to be taken on top of it. For all of the flavorful perks this place holds within such a small place, the aesthetic is uncrushable.

Making my way upstairs, which is only accessible if you have the official Dunkies rewards app (which is really just Venmo for people who don’t do electronic drug deals), I get the feeling that they want me to party, given the disco balls and stage lights hung from different spots in the ceiling. But I really just want to stand atop this cold brew castle and take in the sights and smells of the day. However, I needed to get going, and while it may seem near-sighted, I thought for a second that the branded van outside could serve as my getaway vehicle, but nay. It probably runs on espresso anyway, and brothaman doesn’t have that kind of money at the ready, so I’ll settle for strolling out, munchkin crumb on my shirt and coffee stains on my shorts, because I, a 28-year-old Revere native, have never felt as much of a New Englander as I did today for all of 10 minutes.

In all seriousness, though, the added touch of such a critical piece of New England culture feels like such a perfect fit for Boston Calling, and I was there for all of it. Even if I couldn’t take the Dunkies bus, parked outside and currently residing in your Instagram feed, all the way home.