Music festival

The music festival emerged in England in the 18th century as an extension of urban concert life into a form of seasonal cultural festivity structured around a schedule of music performances or concerts.[1][2][3][page needed] It is generally an annually occurring event with more regular and extensive programming than more spontaneous or improvised forms of music festivity. Music festivals are generally organized by individuals or organizations within networks of music production, typically music scenes, the music industries, or institutions of music education. The music festival is the largest and one of the most important performance institutions in music life, a place for experiencing where the culture is at.[4][page needed]

Music festival in Nickelsdorf, Austria, picturing both the main stage and the camping grounds on the farm behind
Rawa Blues Festival in Katowice, Poland, one of largest blues festivals in the world

In traditional genres such as folk and classical music, a music festival can be defined as a community event with performances of singing and instrument playing that is often presented with a theme such as musical genre (e.g., blues, folk, jazz, classical music), nationality, locality of musicians, or holiday.

Music festivals are commonly held outdoors, with tents or roofed temporary stages for the performers. Often music festivals host other attractions such as food and merchandise vending, dance, crafts, performance art, and social or cultural activities. At music festivals associated with charitable causes, there may be information about social or political issues. Many festivals are annual, or repeat at some other interval. Some, including many rock festivals, are held only once.

Some festivals are organized as for-profit concerts and others are benefits for a specific charitable cause.[5] Another type of music festival is the educative type, organized annually in local communities, regionally, or nationally, for the benefit of amateur musicians of all ages and grades of achievement.


Ancient and medievalEdit

Leigo Järvemuusika 2007

The Pythian Games at Delphi included musical performances, and may be one of the earliest festivals known.[6] During the Middle Ages, festivals were often held as competitions.[citation needed]


Music festivals have developed as an emerging industry which contributes to many national economies. For example, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival earned $114.6 million in 2017.[7] Music festivals nowadays also can serve as a way of building a brand for a destination, creating a unique image for it and attracting visitors.[8]

As in Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival there different festivals that attract many tourists. For example, Lollapalooza, Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas, Ultra Music Festival, Electric Forest and many more.

There are many music festivals, some of which include many different genres, but some festivals specialize in one specific genre, such as EDM, metal, hip hop, among others.

There are also other types of festivals, such as jazz. An example of a jazz festival is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

While contemporary festivals are often represented as flourishing grounds for extraordinary experiences,[9] they increasingly serve as a way to create cultural identity, lifestyle, community, belonging and self-actualisation.[10] Furthermore, festivals are a manifestation for creating escapism[11] and a seasonal cultural economy to experience ritually and collectively. [12]

Music educationEdit

Another type of music festival is the music education, often organized annually in local communities, regionally, or nationally, for the benefit of amateur musicians of all ages and grades of achievement.[13] Entrants perform prepared pieces or songs in front of an audience which includes competitors, family and friends, and members of the community, along with one or more adjudicators or judges. These adjudicators, who may be music teachers, professors, or professional performers, provide verbal and written feedback to each performer or group. The adjudicator may be someone whom they might never meet in any other way, as is the case when an adjudicator from another city is brought in to judge. They also usually receive a certificate, classified according to merit or ranking, and some may win trophies or even scholarships. The most important aspect is that participants can learn from one another rather than compete. Such festivals aim to provide a friendly and supportive platform for musicians to share in the excitement of making music. For many, they provide a bridge from lessons and examinations to performing confidently in public; for a few of the top performers, they provide a pathway to further professional study of music in a college, university or conservatory.

Festivals around the worldEdit

Glastonbury Festival, England, 2005
Youth attend Przystanek Woodstock festival of rock music, Poland, 2016

Milwaukee, Wisconsin's 11-day event, Summerfest, promotes itself as "The World's Largest Music Festival." Operating annually since 1968, the festival attracts between 800,000 and 1,000,000 people each year, and hosts over 800 musical acts.[14] The Woodstock Festival in 1969 drew nearly 500,000 attendees, and the Polish spin-off Przystanek Woodstock in 2014 drew 750,000[15] thus becoming the largest open air annual festival in Europe and the second largest in the world. In comparison, the Roskilde Festival in Denmark, attracts about 135,000 spectators each year.[16] Glastonbury Festival has a capacity of about 275,000 spectators, but has "fallow years" roughly every five years, so it is the biggest non-annual greenfield festival in the world. The oldest annual dedicated pop music festival in the world is Pinkpop Festival in the Netherlands,[17] though in other genres, there are much older ones: the Three Choirs Festival in the UK has run annually[18] since 1719. The Queensland Music Festival, established in 1999 and headquartered in Brisbane Australia, is the largest music festival by land mass, as a state-wide music biennial music festival, over a three-week period during July.

Lists of music festivalsEdit

Lists of music festivals in:

Lists of music festivals by genreEdit

Related listsEdit

  • List of music festivals

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Holt, Fabian (2020). Everyone Loves Live Music. University of Chicago Press. p. 168. ISBN 978-0-226-73854-3.
  2. ^ Drummond, P (2016). The Provincial Music Festival in England, 1784– 1914. London: Routledge.
  3. ^ Verfasser, Weibel, Samuel. Die deutschen Musikfeste des 19. Jahrhunderts im Spiegel der zeitgenössischen musikalischen Fachpresse mit inhaltsanalytisch erschlossenem Artikelverzeichnis auf CD-ROM. ISBN 978-3-87537-309-7. OCLC 182756149.
  4. ^ Holt, Fabian (2020). Everyone Loves Live Music. University of Chicago Press. pp. 160–164. ISBN 978-0-226-73854-3.
  5. ^ "Non-Profit Organizations | Gathering of the Vibes Music Festival". Retrieved 2019-08-17.
  6. ^ Pythian Games, Encyclopædia Britannica.
  7. ^ "Coachella Grossed Record-Breaking $114 Million This Year: Exclusive". Billboard. 2017-10-18. Retrieved 2020-03-27.
  8. ^ Jing, Han (2017). "Host perceptions of music festival impacts: time and space matter". Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research. 22 (11): 1156–1168. doi:10.1080/10941665.2017.1374986.
  9. ^ "Understanding the Customer Experiences from Perspective of Guests and Hotel Managers: Empirical Findings from Luxury Hotels in Istanbul, Turkey".
  10. ^ "Impacts of festivals and events on residents' well-being".
  11. ^ "Music Festivals and Social Inclusion – The Festival Organizers' Perspective".
  12. ^ "Experience design and the dimensions of transformative festival experiences".
  13. ^ "Festivals of Music". Retrieved 2019-08-17.
  14. ^ "Fun in the Sun". My Midwest Magazine. 1 May 2007. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
  15. ^ (pik) (2014-08-03). "Woodstock 2014: Manu Chao rozbujał, a Bukartyk pożegnał". Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2014-07-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ Gammon, John (17 June 2011). "Six In A Row For Pinkpop". London, U.K.: Pollstar. Archived from the original on 13 August 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
  18. ^ "History of the Three Choirs Festival". Retrieved 2019-08-17.