International Studies (B.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Darin Van Tassell


The purpose of this study is to understand and explain the growing popularity of music and art festivals around the world. Music festivals are events consisting of a variety of bands and musical artists performing shows, on numerous stages, over a period of days to a large audience in outside and inside venues. Through field research, participant-observation, personal interviews, and survey research at the 2015 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, this study suggests that they are much more than simple entertainment venues. Because humans desire to belong and music functions in the capacity as a global language, music festivals are not just mega events. Rather, they are best understood as vehicles for forming communities and nations that have the capacity for creating those ingredients that are a critical part of identity formation.