Music Festivals in the UK: Beyond the Carnivalesque, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Music Festivals in the UK

Beyond the Carnivalesque, 1st Edition

By Chris Anderton


198 pages | 8 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781472436207
pub: 2018-08-02
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315596792
pub: 2018-07-17
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The outdoor music festival market has developed and commercialised significantly since the mid-1990s, and is now a mainstream part of the British summertime leisure experience. The overall number of outdoor music festivals staged in the UK doubled between 2005 and 2011 to reach a peak of over 500 events. UK Music (2016) estimates that the sector attracts over 3.7 million attendances each year, and that music tourism as a whole sustains nearly 40,000 full-time jobs. Music Festivals in the UK is the first extended investigation into this commercialised rock and pop festival sector, and examines events of all sizes: from mega-events such as Glastonbury Festival, V Festival and the Reading and Leeds Festivals to ‘boutique’ events with maximum attendances as small as 250. In the past, research into festivals has typically focused either on their carnivalesque heritage or on developing managerial tools for the field of Events Management. Anderton moves beyond such perspectives to propose new ways of understanding and theorising the cultural, social and geographic importance of outdoor music festivals. He argues that changes in the sector since the mid-1990s, such as professionalisation, corporatisation, mediatisation, regulatory control, and sponsorship/branding, should not necessarily be regarded as a process of transgressive 'alternative culture’ being co-opted by commercial concerns; instead, such changes represent a reconfiguration of the sector in line with changes in society, and a broadening of the forms and meanings that may be associated with outdoor music events.

Table of Contents

1. Contextualising Outdoor Music Festivals in the UK 2. Proliferation, Professionalisation and Mainstreaming of Outdoor Music Festivals 3. Branded Landscapes: Sponsorship, Marketing and Mediation 4. Always the Same, Yet Always Different: Music Festivals as Cyclic Places 5. The Social Life of Music Festivals: Audiences and Atmosphere

About the Author

Chris Anderton is an Associate Professor at Solent University, UK, where he

teaches music management, business, history and culture. He is co-author of

the book Understanding the Music Industries (Sage, 2013) and has published

book chapters and articles on music bootlegging, music blogs, progressive

rock, and music festivals. He established the in-house music organisation

Solent Music ( in 2011 and is co-Executive Producer of

the annual Solent SMILE Festival ( His research interests

include the cultural economy of music festivals and live events, the future of

the music industries, and the ‘hidden histories’ of popular, underground and

niche music genres.

About the Series

Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series

Popular musicology embraces the field of musicological study that engages with popular forms of music, especially music associated with commerce, entertainment and leisure activities. The Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series aims to present the best research in this field. Authors are concerned with criticism and analysis of the music itself, as well as locating musical practices, values and meanings in cultural context. The focus of the series is on popular music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with a remit to encompass the entirety of the world’s popular music.

Critical and analytical tools employed in the study of popular music are being continually developed and refined in the twenty-first century. Perspectives on the transcultural and intercultural uses of popular music have enriched understanding of social context, reception and subject position. Popular genres as distinct as reggae, township, bhangra, and flamenco are features of a shrinking, transnational world. The series recognizes and addresses the emergence of mixed genres and new global fusions, and utilizes a wide range of theoretical models drawn from anthropology, sociology, psychoanalysis, media studies, semiotics, postcolonial studies, feminism, gender studies and queer studies.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / Genres & Styles / Pop Vocal