2017-2018 Catalog

MUSC 288 Music and Festival

Defined by anthropologists as "a sacred or profane time of celebration, marked by special observances" (Falassi 1987) and a "themed, public celebration" (Getz 2005), the festival has been theorized in recent years as an important site of social, cultural, and economic activity. Since the age of antiquity festivals have included musical performances that draw audiences from far and wide, confirm and strengthen community alliances (and in some case, religious commitments), and create economic opportunities for musicians and cultural brokers. Engaging contemporary academic work on the festival, in this course we will theorize the role of music in historic and contemporary festivals including Carnival, Mardi Gras, Burning Man, and Electronic Dance Music Festivals. Key questions we will consider include how festivals change through time and are similar or different from other touristic experiences; to what extent they offer radical, lasting alternatives to normative political and social hierarchies; how festival organizers strike a balance between cultural and economic aims; and which discourses of authenticity and tradition circulate among musicians and fans.

Core Requirements Met

  • Fine Arts
  • Pre-1800