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Festival space: gender, liminality and the carnivalesque

Hanya Pielichaty (Lincoln Business School, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK)

International Journal of Event and Festival Management

ISSN: 1758-2954

Article publication date: 19 October 2015




Contemporary outdoor rock and popular music festivals offer liminoidal spaces in which event participants can experience characteristics associated with the carnivalesque. Festival goers celebrate with abandonment, excess and enjoy a break from the mundane routine of everyday life. The purpose of this paper is to explore the way gender is negotiated in the festival space.


The rock and popular music tribute festival, known as “Glastonbudget” provides the focus for this conceptual paper. A pilot ethnographic exploration of the event utilising photographic imagery was used to understand the way in which gender is displayed.


It is suggested that liminal zones offer space to invert social norms and behave with abandonment and freedom away from the constraints of the everyday but neither women nor men actually take up this opportunity. The carnivalesque during Glastonbudget represents a festival space which consolidates normative notions of gender hierarchy via a complicated process of othering.

Research limitations/implications

This is a conceptual paper which presents the need to advance social science-based studies connecting gender to the social construction of event space. The ideas explored in this paper need to be extended and developed to build upon the research design established here.


There is currently a paucity of literature surrounding the concept of gender within these festival spaces especially in relation to liminality within events research.



First, the author would like to thank and acknowledge her colleague and friend Richard Voase for his continued support and guidance. Second, thank you to the journal reviewers for their comprehensive and encouraging feedback.


Pielichaty, H. (2015), "Festival space: gender, liminality and the carnivalesque", International Journal of Event and Festival Management, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 235-250.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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