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Content loaded within last 14 days The characteristics of a Finnish metal fan: Comparative study on music festival attendees

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Metal is exceptionally popular and widely approved at all levels of Finnish society. But what are the Finnish metal fans like? Even though there are studies on how metal fans relate to the metal community and how they construct their identity, studies on metal festival audiences are scarce. Here, Finnish metal festival attendees are studied to find out how they differ from the participants of other popular music festivals in demographics, live music consumption and preferences in festival experiences. This is done using a mixed methods research approach. The most interesting finding concerns sex and self-perceived gender position. So far, female metal fans have been studied qualitatively, demonstrating how they represent and perceive themselves inside the male-dominant metal community. We present a new finding, using quantitative data, where both male and female metal fans consider themselves more masculine than the participants of other festivals. The importance of the community was confirmed. In a metal festival, there is a dual community effect: the festival community forms a temporary, open-minded enclave that is common for all the festivals. In a metal festival, the audience comprises also members of the more permanent metal community. A strong sense of community originates from the shared musical preference, demonstrated by a loyal festival attendance and a common symbol system. From the organizer’s point of view, metal festival fans are a grateful audience since they are loyal and earn more than other festival attendees, being willing to invest time and money for their fandom.
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Keywords: festival experience; gender; heavy metal; metal fans; metal festival fans; mixed methods research; music festivals; sense of community

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: 000000010744995XUniversity of Lapland 2: 0000000108389418Aalto University

Publication date: June 1, 2020

More about this publication?
  • Metal Music Studies is the journal of the International Society for Metal Music Studies.

    The aims of the journal are:
    • To provide an intellectual hub for the International Society of Metal Music Studies and a vehicle to promote the development of metal music studies;
    • To be the focus for research and theory in metal music studies – a multidisciplinary (and interdisciplinary) subject field that engages with a range of parent disciplines, including (but not limited to) sociology, musicology, humanities, cultural studies, geography, philosophy, psychology, history, natural sciences;
    • To publish high-quality, world-class research, theory and shorter articles that cross over from the industry and the scene;
    • To be a world leader in interdisciplinary studies and be a unique resource for metal music studies.
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