Festival for a greater cause? A panel debate about the social agency of the modern music festival

A discussion of the modern festival’s role as a social agent. Why is it important? In the future, is it a more important feature than the celebration of music?
20 Nov 16:15 - 17:45
Location: Ragnarock

Saving the rain forests, local community building or fighting for gender equality – all are different examples of how festivals engage in social or environmental issues of our time. The modern music festival has proven to be a highly successful concept to gather huge crowds of music lovers to enjoy and experience live music.

Besides organising high profiled concert events, many festivals engage or even invest their brand value in various social, cultural or environmental issues.

Why is it important for the modern festival to act as a social agent? In a time when corporate social responsibility becomes more and more important, will the future of the festival be more a celebration of values than a celebration of music?

In the moody atmosphere of the exhibition “50 years of Roskilde Festival” both festivals and researchers will join a panel to discuss why many festivals develop a social profile.

Professor Ian Woodward, university of Southern Denmark, will host the panel. He will be joined by Søren Eskildsen, spokesperson of Smukfest, Jo Haynes, associate professor at University of Bristol and Anna Wade, former communications and strategy director of Boomtown Festival.

Ian Woodward is Professor at the University of Southern Denmark. He has written many books and papers, listens to a lot of different musics, and goes to music festivals as a personal and professional pastime. He researches consumer cultures, music economies/ecologies and cosmopolitan ethics. His most recent books are “Vinyl”, “Labels” and “The Festivalisation of Culture”.

Jo Haynes is Associate Professor in Sociology at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. Her research focuses on popular music, ethnicity/race, festivals, creative labour and entrepreneurship in the cultural industries. She is a principle investigator (with Professor Ian Woodward) on a large European project – FestiVersities – which focuses on the recovery and reimagining of music festivals post-covid and has a strong international track-record of publications. She is currently a director on the Board of Trustees for the Bristol Festivals Network.

Becka Whiteley is head of marketing & comms at Kambe Events Ltd, a UK-based creative events company best known for their pioneering green event, Shambala Festival – a 20 year old arts and music festival which has reduced its carbon footprint by 90% in the past decade. Over the past 6 years, Becka has been responsible for launching myriad social and environmental campaigns, most notably the removal of meat and fish from Shambala’s food offering back in 2016. She believes that festivals can (and should!) be microcosms that showcase a better world and spark behaviour change in audiences once they leave the fields and go back to their normal lives.

Søren Eskildsen is part of the Smukfest board of directors and spokesperson for the Skanderborg Festivalklub – the foundation behind Smukfest.

The language used in this event is English.

Curated by RAGNAROCK

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Jo Haynes