Category: LifestyleTop News

Visiting a music festival can improve your well-being

  • Date: 13.10.2015.
  • Author: Antonia

When thinking about music festivals, we usually associate them with big stages, good music, cool bands and exciting experiences. But when discussing music festivals as a tool of improving personal well-being, music is an important factor because of its effect on visitors mood and stress levels, which has been discussed in numerous studies.

Electric Forest Festival 2014
When talking about music festivals as a way to improve psychological well-being, it is necessary to be precise. It has been shown in a range of emerging studies that the engagement music festival could be an effective, exciting way to improve engagement in young people. Festivals by definition provide a unique experience of atmosphere, which can lead to a personal change while reflecting festivity and shared sense of joyfulness.Some cool studies showed quite interesting results about the social benefits of music festivals and the effect on personal well-being – which isn’t surprising for young festivalgoers, but could be to the ones who haven’t experienced such event.

Engagement as a key measure of Positive Psychology
Martin Seligman, the father of modern positive psychology, emphasises the importance of well-being, while suggesting engagement as one of five quantifiable measures of well-being (Positive Emotion, Engagement, Positive Relationships, Meaning and Accomplishment).

Well-being refers to individual’s health, social interactions, daily life but also in terms of economy and productivity for society and organisation. Improving measures like engagement is a key to improve well-being. Engagement represents a measure of person’s purpose in life. It can be a predictor of various health outcomes (physical and psychological), and it can be an important factor to improve in people, as disengaged person feels that life is without purpose, and empty.
The Power of Music
Music has often been studied as one of the factors that can improve positive emotions and well-being – nature, relationships, and so on. Like other arts, music can make a major contribution to health and well-being. Some studies have shown that engaging with music has benefits in social, emotional, physical and cognitive domains, and can bring joy to life. Pascoe and colleagues have suggested in their study for the Australian governement in 2005, that engaging with music has important implications in disengaged young people. It can also have a broader societal benefit, self-expression, mood enhancement, a sense of place and belonging as a result.
Pascoe and colleagues suggest that engaging with music has important implications. Improving engagement in disengaged young people can impact resilience levels, and have broader societal benefit; self-expression, mood enhancement, a sense of place, and belonging, can all result. Music brings positive effects in everyday life, as shown in a study of 20 to 31-year old students. The results showed that participants reported feelings of happiness, elation, and nostalgia more frequently in experiences that included music.

The Benefits of Music Festivals
Also, research has shown that festival attendance can create a sense of community, bringing groups together beyond the mere aggregate of people; a sense of common purpose and connection can emerge.

Is there any evidence?
Packer and Ballantyne investigated the social wellbeing and psychological benefits of music festival and they reported that people experience senses of engagement and connection at festivals in ways that are not possible in even typical live music concerts. Not only is there much interaction with other attendees, especially in the context of multi-day events, but with artists themselves; the music festival allows for close proximity. Results have shown that attendance at a festival is an active process that allows significant engagement with music, because the connection between performer and audience is bi-directional, resulting in a personalised, distinctive experience. Unstructured exposure to various music performances, as is common in the festival environment, can inspire a feeling of creativity, contributing to a person’s feeling of having purpose in life. When talking about interesting results, it is important to point out the result of Packer and Ballantyne’s second study which gathered quantitative data in questionnaire format. Quantitative data reinforced the positive effects of attendance; for example, 92% of participants agreed with the statements “I feel I have accomplished something” and “I have a greater understanding of the importance of music in my life.”

If music festival attendance can increase engagement in young people and have a range of other effects, there could be potential in encouraging attendance for wide groups of people.
Not only can music improve engagement for those in need, but also wider population strategies and community events could be a future strategy to improve a wide range of psychological effects.

So, what to do with this information? Use it.

Visit a festival even if you don’t really feel like going anywhere. Maybe this tiny decision could change the way you feel and act. When you come back, there are quite good chances you’ll feel much more confident and happier.

At least science says so.



Bowen, H. E., & Daniels, M. J. (2005). Does the music matter? Motivations for attending a music festival. Event Management, 9(3), 155-164.

Fredrickson, B. L., Losada, M. F. (2005). Positive affect and the complex dynamics of human flourishing. American Psychologist, 60(7), 678-686.

Gibson, C., & Connell, J. (2003). ‘Bongo fury’: Tourism, music and cultural economy at Byron Bay, Australia. Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie, 94(2), 164-187.

Juslin, P. N., Liljestrom, S., Vastfjall, D., Barradas, G., & Silva, A. An experience sampling study of emotional reactions to music: Listener, music, and situation. Emotion, 8(5), 668-683.

Lim, M. S. C., Hellard, M. E., Aitken, C. K. & Hocking, J. S. (2007). Sexual-risk behaviour, self-perceived risk and knowledge of sexually transmissible infections among young Australians attending a music festival. Sexual Health, 4, 51-56.

Packer, J., & Ballantyne, J. (2010). The impact of music festival attendance on young people’s psychological and social well-being. Psychology of Music, 39(2), 164-181.

Pascoe, R., Leong, S., MacCallum, J., Mackinlay, E., Marsh, K., Smith, B., et al. (2005). National review of school music education: Augmenting the diminished. Canberra: Australian Government.

Pitts, S. E. (2005). What makes an audience? Investigating the roles and experiences of listeners at a chamber music festival. Music & Letters, 86(2), 257–269.

Scheier, M. F., Wrosch, C., Baum, A., Cohen, S., Martire, L. M., Matthews, K. A., Schulz, R. & Zdaniuk, B. (2006). The life engagement test: Assessing purpose in life. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 29(3), 291-298.

Seligman, M. E. P. Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well- being. 2011, New York: Simon & Schuster.

Seligman, M. E. P., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology: An introduction. American Psychologist, 55, 5-14.


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