The material culture of music festival fandoms
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Barriere, L. & Finkel, R. (2020) The material culture of music festival fandoms. European Journal of Cultural Studies (In Press).
This paper aims to explore an under-researched area of the entanglements between festivals and individual/collective identities by focusing on the material culture of festival fandoms. We start by conceptualizing festival fandoms as communities of people who attend the same festival or a similar festival type on a repeated basis. Our research focuses on how these recurrent festival attendees materially express their belonging to such communities, and how they claim being a fan as part of their identity. The core of the article starts with three conceptual sections. There, we discuss the existing literature in different related areas of research, which we link together utilizing Bourdieu’s (1986) forms of capital. First, we look through the theoretical lens of social capital at how various types of festivals foster identity communities and contribute to their visibility. Second, we explore the function of festival merchandising from the perspective of both events managers and festivals attendees within economic capital frameworks. And third, we explain that fans use derived products to mark their status and belonging to a community of taste as related to cultural capital conceptualizations. The following sections of the article are based on auto-ethnographic approaches. Through reminiscence and in-depth interviews with each other, we recount personal narratives of reflective practice and situate our lived experiences within the aforementioned conceptual contexts. As a conclusion, we state that investigating the material cultures of festival fandoms has the potential to contribute to future evolutions of event management.