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A Critical Comparative Study of Visitor Motivations for Attending Music Festivals: A Case Study of Glastonbury and V Festival

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A global industry of festivals and events has evolved and developed rapidly since the early 1900s. This phenomenal growth, coupled with increased consumer awareness and choice, requires sustained development and growth in the future. Music festivals are unique events that attract audiences for a variety of reasons; however, while music-based events are an extremely popular form of entertainment, research exploring the motivations of music festival audiences is sparse, especially from a UK perspective. Crompton and McKay contend that event managers should strive to better understand the motives of festival attendance in order to design better products and services for them and because motives are a precursor of satisfaction and a factor in decision making, this in turn can lead to greater attendance. This study critically compares the visitor motivations for attending two UK-based music festivals to challenge and ultimately support existing ideas developed from similar research overseas. The article establishes some of the first research into this area within the UK and challenges common assumptions from those in industry. A range of secondary research was considered and a review of existing literature on the subject was undertaken. Although the sample size was relatively small, the results showed that socializing with friends and family was a primary motive. Most importantly, the article supported the notion that multiple motivations come into play and it suggests that it is risky for festival managers to rely solely on the theme of the event itself. It is equally important to create a fun and festive atmosphere that offers ample opportunity to socialize and have new and nonmusical experiences. Several recommendations were made for existing and future managers including focusing on realigning marketing and service strategies. Recommendations were also made for future research in terms of adopting new methodological approaches including the use of multiple means of analysis. The article finally challenges the nature of the underpinning theory and questions the reason that so much of what is understood is still based in the field of sociology in tourism, with very little underpinning theory dedicated to the events industry, despite its emergence as an academic field over a decade ago.
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Keywords: ATMOSPHERE; EVENT; FESTIVAL; GLASTONBURY; METHODOLOGY; MOTIVATION; MUSIC; SOCIOLOGY; V FESTIVAL

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2009

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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