European Music Festivals, Public Spaces, and Cultural Diversity

Festivals are now a staple of many people’s cultural diets across Europe. Festivalisation denotes that festivals can no longer be regarded as merely periodic events, but, rather, as an increasingly popular means through which citizens consume and experience culture. Yet, whereas music festivals have the potential to connect people and foster tolerance, they may also reproduce inequalities and social exclusion. This project is a comparative study of music festivals as potential public spaces affording encounters with diversities.

Working collaboratively with local and EU partners, including the European Festivals Association and partners in each national context, the main challenge of the project is to understand the coordination, representation and negotiation of cultural diversities in the context of music festivals. The project takes a qualitative, comparative approach to investigate across multiple research sites the meaning of the festival for organisers, festival workers, performers, audiences and the community more broadly. Methods of data collection include participant observation, surveys, research interviews, and visual-sonic methodologies.

The project is funded by HERA - Humanities in the European Research Area.

This project is part of the ECSH Populism, Politics, and Exclusion theme. Dr Aileen Dillane is the Irish partner and UL PI to the project. For further information contact her at, or to learn more about the project, see the project website