Realms of re-enchantment

socio-cultural investigations of festival music space


  • Mark Jennings Murdoch University



Festivals, blues and roots music, charisma, carnival, communitas


The phenomenon of live music performance spaces is both enigmatic and enticing. While few would disagree that there appears to be a different set of priorities and protocols operative in these spaces, there has been little investigation of how socio-cultural theory might be useful in exploring the nature and significance of these spaces. This paper seeks to remedy that, drawing on detailed data compiled from participant observation over three years at the West Coast Blues & Roots festival in Fremantle, Western Australia. The relationship of the live music performance space, or “realm” is explored using three paradigms: charisma, carnival and communitas. The paper concludes with reflections on how the unique experience of music within these realms may interact and change the outside “real” world beyond the festival.

Author Biography

  • Mark Jennings, Murdoch University

    Dr Mark Jennings recently completed his doctoral dissertation at Murdoch University in Western Australia. His thesis was in the area of popular music, Pentecostalism and musical spaces. He is currently a Research Associate at Murdoch University.


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How to Cite

Jennings, M. (2010). Realms of re-enchantment: socio-cultural investigations of festival music space. Perfect Beat, 11(1), 67-83.