Research finds music festivals create good vibes

May 4, 2011, University of Queensland

Attending music festivals could have a positive impact on the psychological and social well-being of young adults, according to University of Queensland researchers.

A recent study of festival-goers aged 18-29 revealed the experience involves more than just the music – it provides a sense of belonging and social integration, which often continues after the event.

Dr Jan Packer from the School of Tourism and Dr Julie Ballantyne from the School of Music said music festivals provide a time and space where young people can experience self-discovery and personal growth.

“Music festivals not only provide the opportunity for people to think, feel and behave differently, but also encourage self-reflection and re-evaluation,” Dr Packer said.

“Participants often feel more positive about themselves, others and life in general as a result of attending a music festival.”

The researchers split the festival experience into four distinct categories: the music, the festival itself, the social elements and the separation experience (disconnecting from every day life). The experience of the music links to the other elements and provides a common focus for celebration.

Dr Ballantyne and Dr Packer said they hoped to build on this work, which represents one of the first studies of the psychological benefits of music festival attendance.

The researchers are also interested in exploring the negative outcomes of the festival environment, such as antisocial behavior and exposure to drugs and alcohol, and how these can be counteracted.

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