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Book launch: Music festivals and the politics of participation

17 February 2016
Book launch: Music festivals and the politics of participation
Who doesn’t love joining forces with their fellow revellers in a field for a music festival? Escaping reality for a few days, basking in the sunshine (OK, wading through mud), and listening to music isn’t a bad way to kill those long summer days.

Music festivals grow in popularity

The popularity, and ubiquity, of festivals is what led Festival consultant and Leeds Beckett Lecturer Dr Roxy Robinson to release her first book, Music Festivals and the Politics of Participation: “I spent a long time while I was a student looking for 'that book' which documented the dramatic changes that have characterised the UK festival industry over the last 15 years, but there was very little. After a time I decided to fill that gap myself.”

Initially released in December 2015, the official book launch took place at the White Cloth Gallery on Friday 12th February. With around 150 people in attendance, a DJ spinning tunes and Prosecco (provided by Roxy’s proud dad) for all, the launch was aptly trendy with a suitably friendly and warm atmosphere.

Festival book launch - ArticleThe launch featured live art by John Pearson, local illustrator and festival artist

A rich history of festival culture

Dr Robinson, who has acted as a marketing consultant on Yorkshire’s own Beacons Festival, also has experience running her own 1000-capacity metropolitan festival Raise the Roof at the West Indian Centre between 2004 and 2013.

Her intimate knowledge and experience of the music festival industry is what stimulated an interest in the evolution of the scene she herself has helped to nurture. In her book she details the dynamics that have contributed to the current festival industry landscape. She explains: “I honestly felt that I could see an interesting shift in festival culture, and I thought that this deserved to be documented.”

Covering the growth of music festivals from the fifties to present day, Robinson’s book is a rich analytical study examining the emergence of the now booming festival culture.

Published by academic publisher Routledge, the book will appeal to both academics and those simply interested in festivals: “I’ve written the book for students, academics and researchers in fields including events management, cultural studies, politics and sociology,” Dr Robinson says, “However, I’ve written in what I believe is a reasonably accessible style, as it was important to me that the book could be read by people outside of the 'ivory tower' of academia. I’d say that anybody interested in British culture, festivals, subcultures and music may find the book enjoyable.”

Music Festivals and the Politics of Participation is available to buy directly from Routledge, and for a 50% discount code you can email Dr Robinson at roxy.robinson@leedsbeckett.ac.uk.

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Sophie’s a jack of all writing trades. A freelance journalist and copywriter, writing culture features and opinion pieces makes her world go round.