Festivals, Events and Family Well-Being – Short-Term Happiness, Long-Term Quality of Life?

Monday, 11 July 2016: 10:45
Location: Dachgeschoss (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Raphaela STADLER, University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
Allan JEPSON, University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
Festivals are considered a ‘time out of time’ (Falassi, 1987); they hold a unique ability to entertain, educate, hold aesthetic value and provide a platform for escapism through the creation of an often unique event experience. The short-term, yet very intense nature of festivals and events produces ‘liminal’ experiences for participants which lead to the feeling of oneness and being part of the community. These concepts, alongside questions of socialisation, bonding and family togetherness, have been widely explored in festival and event studies, but research on the impact of event attendance upon family well-being, happiness and quality of life (QOL) is limited. Agate et al. (2009) argued that engaging in leisure activities, such as attending a festival or event, can enhance and improve family relationships and a healthy family life – important elements of family QOL. It is thereby not necessarily the amount of time that families spend together engaging in leisure activities, but how meaningful these are to individual family members and the family as a whole. This paper explores the short-term or ‘present moment’ happiness which can be achieved through festival attendance and poses the question of whether short term attendance and happiness can lead to long term well-being and family QOL? Data from focus groups and in-depth interviews with families in Hertfordshire, U.K., is analysed with regards to changes in perception of family QOL pre and post event attendance. The different phases of anticipation, attendance, liminality and flow and their impact on family QOL are also discussed.