Glastonbury: managing the mystification of festivity

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37 Citations (Scopus)


The realm of music festivity has grown into a global circuit that responds to the demand for emotive experiential products and taps into postmodern themes that celebrate a lifestyle attitude of extended youth. This paper investigates the phenomenon of festival culture through a case study of Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts. It highlights how modern music festivals have become sites of mediated brand management where commodified hyper-experiences are considered as new forms of contested cultural capital. Through a critical conceptual matrix that combines the work of Bourdieu, Pine and Gilmore, and Jensen the authors critically explore the interplay between the experiential dimension, mystical and fantasy narratives and the political contestation of festivity. Focusing on Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts 2010 the study presents an innovative interpretation of festivity through multi and social media. The authors argue that, while promoted as an ethical festival that celebrates its anti-commercial countercultural cool, Glastonbury reflects a modern cathedral of consumption where experiences are the mediated and managerially puppeteered capital of the field. However, festivity is moving beyond management as it is increasingly dependant on the co-creative social media activity of consumers to perpetuate the fantasy and capital of festivity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)418-433
Number of pages16
JournalLeisure Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Jan 2013


  • consumer culture
  • culture
  • events
  • popular culture
  • capitalism
  • management


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