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Music festivals are unique special events that attract audiences for a variety of reasons; however, research exploring the motivations of music festival visitors is sparse. Recognizing the potential for music festivals to contribute to host communities, this study aims to explore motivations for attending a large, multi-day music festival. On-site visitor interviews were conducted at Celebrate Fairfax!, an annual music festival held in Virginia (USA). Cluster analysis of attendance motivations revealed four groupings of visitors, which were given the following names based on their patterns of motivations: “Just Being Social,” “Enrichment Over Music,” “The Music Matters,” and “Love It All.” These groups differed based on race, marital status, and household income. Marginal sex differences were also found. The results of this study suggest that music festival planners can use different marketing tactics to broaden a festival's appeal and that it is risky for event managers to rely on the music itself or a specific artist to draw large festival crowds. Equally important is creating a fun and festive atmosphere that offers ample opportunity to socialize and have new and nonmusical experiences.
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Keywords: Music festivals; Visitor motivations

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: *Department of Recreation Management and Policy, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, USA 2: †School of Recreation, Health and Tourism, George Mason University, Manassas, VA, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • Event Management, an International Journal, intends to meet the research and analytic needs of a rapidly growing profession focused on events. This field has developed in size and impact globally to become a major business with numerous dedicated facilities, and a large-scale generator of tourism. The field encompasses meetings, conventions, festivals, expositions, sport and other special events. Event management is also of considerable importance to government agencies and not-for-profit organizations in a pursuit of a variety of goals, including fund-raising, the fostering of causes, and community development.
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