Author(s): Emma Webster
Publisher: Popular Music and Society 35:1, 2012, pp. 93-111
The encore ritual at live music events is a ubiquitous yet under-researched phenomenon. Drawing on ethnographic research carried out in Glasgow, Sheffield, and Bristol, this paper deconstructs the encore ritual as it is enacted by performer and audience, and highlights the covert yet vital complicity of the promoter/venue. It argues that, while the encore began as a spontaneous display of audience enthusiasm, it has now become an expected and ritualized part of a live music performance. The paper illustrates how encores now fulfill a variety of functions, including indicating temporality, allowing artists to thank their audiences, and allowing the audience to feel some semblance of empowerment within the event.