Research Output
Event Design in outdoor music festival audience behaviour (a critical transformative research note)
  This work, a conceptual forward-looking paper, examines the management of audiences at music festivals now and indicates a critical manoeuvre of focus for the future. The theoretical objectives and conclusions of a body of work by Robertson – discussing and then proposing future models of festival leadership to support place and event sustainability – are applied to a body of work by Hutton et al., from 2011 to 2017, and Brown et al., in 2012, 2013 and 2016. It is argued that a more holistic construct of civic responsibility will emerge in what will necessarily be a post co-creative, co-productive future for many critical mass meeting experiences. Hutton and Brown provide vital insight as to how consideration of the social psychological domain of the outdoor music festival (OMF) audience is critical to a design of the experience that is both experientially satisfying/fulfilling and, importantly, safe. This work uses literature related to festival management and critical transformation to propose a theoretical position arising from a construct of: transformative civic responsibility; social trust (as a component of social capital); and positive psychology. The work considers the dynamics and importance of outdoor music festivals in turbulent socio-economic times, and the potential limitations of a behaviourist approach to future music festival crowd management. A case study research project was undertaken at a series of OMFs staged in South Australia and the results are used as examples of new forms of dynamic research for critical and turbulent times.

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  • Date:

    26 September 2018

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  • Library of Congress:

    GV Recreation Leisure

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Robertson, M., Hutton, A., & Brown, S. (2018). Event Design in outdoor music festival audience behaviour (a critical transformative research note). Event Management, 22(6), 1073-1081.



Critical; Music festival; Crowd; Audience behaviour; Co-transformative; Positive Psychology; Transformative Civic Responsibility

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