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The impact of music festival attendance on young people’s psychological and social well-being

The benefits of music are well known, but this article considers an area not well researched. The impact of music festivals on participants’ psychological and social well-being. Using qualitative surveys and focus groups from young festival goers, the study found four distinct facets of the experience – the music experience, the festival experience, the social experience and the separation experience. The findings of this study suggest that one of the most important functions performed by music festivals is to provide a time and space where young people can experience personal growth and self-discovery. Further research is needed into the ways music festival experiences can be tailored to opti­mize their positive outcomes. 

Abstract                                   

Although the social, emotional, physical and cognitive benefits of engagem,ent in music are well known, little research has been conducted on the psychological benefits of music in the context of music festivals. This article draws on theoretical constructs from the field of positive psychology to interpret the impact of music festival attendance on participants’ psychological and social well-being. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected from a focus group and questionnaire survey with young festival-goers aged 18—29 years. Four facets of the music festival experience were identified that were associated with well-being outcomes. These are explored and discussed with reference both to participants’ focus group comments and statistical analysis of questionnaire responses. A conceptual model is presented in order to guide further research in this area, and enable both festival organizers and attendees to take optimal advantage of the potential of music festivals to impact positively on young adults’ psychological and social well-being. 

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Article details

Packer, J., & Ballantyne, J. (2010). The impact of music festival attendance on young people’s psychological and social well-being Psychology of Music, 39 (2), 164-181 DOI: 10.1177/0305735610372611

     
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