The branded landscapes of music festivals in the UK: Sponsorship, ideology and the rural

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

Abstract

The post-Millennial expansion of music festivals in the UK has been accompanied by a marked upsurge in sponsorship and branding activities (Anderton 2009). These sponsorship and branding activities provide the necessary financial and marketing support required by many events in order to survive in an increasingly competitive and saturated market, but they also raise questions regarding the ?true meaning? of festivals. In particular, there is a tension between a once prevailing understanding of music festivals as spaces of countercultural critique and alternative models of living in the country, and their contemporary position as important leisure and tourist resources that are positively mediated through radio, television, magazines and the internet (Anderton 2011). This tension is perhaps felt most keenly at rock and pop music festivals held in rural locations, where historical associations with the hippie counterculture and New Age Travellers of the 1970s and 1980s have created long-lasting social, cultural and political stereotypes and ideologies. The post-Millennial period has also seen the growth of small ?boutique? music festivals which often serve niche markets and tie into those social, cultural and political stereotypes and ideologies in various ways. This paper will examine how music festivals and sponsors of various sizes have created branded rural landscapes that not only communicate and negotiate ideologies related to the hippie counterculture, but also link into changing imaginaries of the rural.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRGS-IBG Annual International Conference , 1-4 September 2015, University of Exeter.
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2015

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