Festivals are now a staple of many people’s cultural consumption and leisure diets across Europe and beyond. Festivals can no longer be regarded as merely periodic events, but, rather, as an increasingly popular means through which citizens consume and experience culture. They punctuate community and national calendars, are part of a wider socio-economic process, and are sites where community values are articulated, observed, and contested. Yet, while music festivals are sites for representing, contesting, and realising social values in moments of potentially diverse cultural encounter and social dialogue, they may also reproduce inequalities and social exclusion. This project is a comparative study of music festivals as potential public spaces of social recognition and representation making them ideal sites for investigating the relations between culture and integration and for studying encounters with diversities.
Working collaboratively with local and EU partners, including the European Festivals Association, in each national context, our main challenge is to understand the coordination, representation and negotiation of cultural diversities in the context of music festivals.
The project takes a qualitative, comparative approach to investigate across multiple research sites the meaning of the festival for organisers, festival workers, performers, audiences and the community more broadly. Methods of data collection include participant observation, surveys, research interviews, and visual-sonic methodologies.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, the Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration and the Sixth Framework Programme for research and technological development. The project is administered by HERA, Humanities in the European Research Area. It addresses the research programme and thematic area ‘Public Spaces: Culture and Integration in Europe (2019-2022)’.