Music festivals are becoming the number one way to experience concerts around the world. The appeal of music festivals lies in their expectation for big stages, awesome bands,a crowded environment to create a memorable experience, and ultimately, a fun time. There is much research behind how music makes us feel, suggesting that it brings positive emotions and well-being to listeners. However, is there something more than music going on at festivals that momentarily influences the way we view world?
Music festivals draw people from all different backgrounds. Whether it be race, gender, or social position, music festivals invert social norms and bring people together in an environment free of judgment. A festival’s ability to engage so many individuals in the same thing creates a sense of immersion regardless of social or cultural differences. Australian researchers Packer and Ballantyne conducted studies on the well-being and psychological benefits of attending a music festival drawing upon people from a variety of backgrounds. Their explorative study “reported that people experience senses of engagement and connection at festivals in ways that are not possible in even typical live music concerts.” If it’s not the music that creates this feeling of inclusion and belonging, what is it that’s so unique about the festival that generates this affect? Because there is so still so much discrimination towards people’s differences, I think there is something to be learned from the effect of music festivals. Whether it be the simplicity, or the chaotic behavior encouraged at these events that leads to this inversion of norms, there is something truly amazing that occurs during music festivals.