Author(s): Heather E.Bowen and Margaret J.Daniels
Publisher: Event Management, 9:3, pp. 155-164
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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