Festival Culture Discussion

Are festivals cults? Why are we so drawn to them? Anna Akbari of Sociology of Style is joined by Rachel Besser, SoS Assistant Editor, and Melvin Priester, Lawyer / DJ / Jackson City Councilman / Festivalgoer to discuss festival culture and its relationship to escapism, hedonism, and community. Let us know if you agree with the assessment and join the conversation in the comments below!

  • What attracts people to festivals and festival culture? 2:53

  • How are festivals a reaction to the fact that we’re often “bowling alone”? 4:30

  • How do drugs and hedonism factor into the festival experience? Are the music and the art just an excuse to participate in hedonism? 5:30

  • What role does the body play at these events? How do festivalgoers experience a hyper-physicality – and what would Michel Foucault say about it? 12:00

  • How does the VIP and general admission experience differ? Is VIP contradictory to the positioning of festivals as counterculture? How does this fit into our larger class system? 14:50

  • What about surveillance? How are fashion bloggers (and their aspirational subjects) and social media part of the surveillance system at festivals – and does it conflict with the desire to escape during these events? 21:50

  • How does sexuality factor into the experience? 30:30

  • How can one balance a festival persona with a professional life?  How do you not feel schizophrenic? And what does race have to do with it? 37:30

  • What about race? Why is festival culture so white and affluent? 42:20
Anna AkbariComment