chapter  4
32 Pages

Always the same, yet always different

Music festivals as cyclic places
WithChris Anderton

The concept of liminality was originally introduced by A. van Gennep to denote the middle or transitional phase in a societal rite of passage that begins with the separation of individuals or groups of people from the established rules of everyday society, and ends with their reincorporation to the broader society, often with a new status or rank. Outdoor music festivals are ephemeral in nature: they are constructed over a period of days or weeks prior to opening to the public and exist in physical form for only as long as the entertainments and attendees are present on-site. The commercial background of the promoters informs the ethos and management of the event, which has attracted considerable brand sponsorship since it began in the mid-1990s. Outdoor music festivals are held in a wide variety of locations, from publicly-owned parklands and recreation grounds to privately-owned racecourses, sportsgrounds, farms and country estates.