A phenomenological exploration of music festival experience

MOSS, Jonathan Matthew Henderson (2018). A phenomenological exploration of music festival experience. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00075


The study provides an in-depth exploration of music festival experience. The research was positioned in the field of experience and this provided the research with a phenomenological lens. Reflecting on the theories of phenomenological anthropology (Jackson, 1996; Andrews 2006, 2009) and the anthropology of experience (Bruner, 1986, Turner, 1986) this research justified a contrasting epistemic perspective and phenomenological psychology was used to investigate the ideographic experiences of the attendees. This enabled an understanding of how music festival experience effected the lifeworld of the individuals involved. The research is grounded in the philosophy of existential phenomenology and its conceptualisation of experience. The exploration used the philosophical work of Husserl (1936/1999) as its phenomenological foundation. Developing this position, and contrastingly from the phenomenological research of Jackson (2014), the research argues for the interpretative phenomenological (Heidegger, 1927/1962; Merleau-Ponty, 1962) perspective to further understand music festival experience. This is because, by engaging with the phenomenological psychology of Smith, Harre & Van Langenhove, (1995a, 1995b) and Ashworth (2006, 2015), it becomes possible to understand the contribution that the music festival experience has to an individual’s Lifeworld. Smith’s et al (1995b; Smith & Osborn’s, 2015b) Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) provides a robust framework for understanding the idiographic music festival experience. The Descriptive Experience Sampling (Hurlburt & Heavey, 2001) approach was used to gather data about the experiences of 9 participants before, during and after the Green Man Music festival (a 5-day period), and then later explored in detail during individual phenomenological interviews. These interviews were carried out between 24-48 hours after the festival. Using Smith’s IPA approach (2009; Smith & Osborn, 2015b) the interviews generated rich data as the interviewer and each participant discussed the information recorded during the ‘capture’ process. This provided 9 deeply idiographic accounts of music festivals experience. Analysis showed 'Universals' (Ashworth, 2015) emerged which provided both a detailed picture of music festival experience and how the lifeworld of the individual was affected. These universals were then used to develop the Ideographic Map of Music Festival Experience. This is an illustrative conceptualisation of the shared, yet subjective, journeys taken by the participants during the Green Man Festival and provides an understanding of music festival experience which is in line with theories that articulate the need for experiences to be understood within the context of the individual’s everyday life (Uriely, 2005), and as a development of their lifeworld (Flowers, Larkin & Smith, 2009) and life story (Guignon, 2012). The findings also provided further idiographic perspectives about theories of experience including: flow (Csikszentmihályi, 1990), liminality and communitas (Turner, 1969, 1974, 1979), and existential authenticity (Cohen, 2007, 2010). The Descriptive Experience Sampling method and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis were also able to provide findings that contribute to Krueger’s (2014a, 2014b) Hypothesis of Individual Extended Emotions and his Hypothesis of Collective Extended Emotions. Moreover, the analysis showed evidence of how this theory combined and contributed to existing theories within experience research. Through this ideographic investigation, music festival experience was shown to be fluctuating, dynamic and oscillating. It was also found that while negative emotions were present, these still formed an important part of the participant’s experience. Past models of music festival experience, due to their managerial prerogatives, have tended to ignore these negative emotions (Lee & Kyle, 2013; Getz, 2012; Morgan, 2008), but this research argues that they should be acknowledged so that meaning, or insights can be derived from them (Jackson, 2014; Ziakas & Boukas, 2014) and therefore a richer understanding of the effect upon the individuals’ lifeworld can be developed. In doing so, the method’s applicability and adaptability were enhanced to justify using them for future studies.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Whalley, Peter
Additional Information: Director of Studies : Dr. Peter Whalley
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00075
Depositing User: Jill Hazard
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2018 13:06
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2021 13:32
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/21509

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