Commercialising the Carnivalesque: the V Festival and Image/Risk Management

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Published conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

Abstract

The Virgin-sponsored V Festival has been held since 1996, and was the first major greenfield event in Britain to be held at two sites simultaneously over one weekend. Developed as a mainstream alternative to the Glastonbury Festival and Carling Weekends, the event has struggled in the past to create a distinctive identity or to gain critical acceptance (especially amongst the more radical or countercultural of festival-goers and press). Managed by a consortium of highly successful concert promoters, it actively embraces commercialism, sponsorship deals and a forward-thinking ethos of quality and customer service. However, rather than escaping the countercultural and carnivalseque imagery and meanings historically associated with the greenfield rock music festival circuit, it has ? to varying degrees - commodified, modernised or subverted them. In the process, it has gained considerable popularity amongst festival-goers and secured the plaudits of music industry professionals. The event is at the forefront of initiatives regarding festival policing and safety, and offers a role model for the many new commercial events that are established each year. This paper examines the management and marketing of the V Festival through a cultural economic focus - demonstrating how the beliefs and backgrounds of its organisers have influenced its organisation and image, and how these have helped to transform the greenfield music festival market. It then goes on to reflect on how the concept of the carnivalesque has been used in relation to greenfield music festivals more generally, and considers how it has become commodified, commercialised and sanitised in the management of the V Festival and cultural policy in general.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExploring Festival Economies Conference, October 2007, City University, London.
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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