Episode 115: Everyone Loves Live Music with Dr. Fabian Holt

This episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast presents an interview with Dr. Fabian Holt, associate professor in the Department of Communication and Arts at Roskilde University. He is the author of Genre in Popular Music and of Everyone Loves Live Music: A Theory of Performance Institutions, the focus of this episode. For decades, millions of music fans have gathered every summer in parks and fields to hear their favorite bands at such renowned festivals as Lollapalooza, Coachella, and Glastonbury. How did these and countless other festivals across the globe evolve into glamorous pop culture events, and how are they changing our relationship to music, leisure, and public culture? In Everyone Loves Live Music, Dr. Holt looks beyond the marketing hype to show how festivals and other institutions of musical performance have evolved in recent decades, as these once meaningful sources of community and culture are increasingly consumed by corporate giants. Examining a diverse range of cases across Europe and the United States, Dr. Holt upends commonly-held ideas of live music and introduces a pioneering theory of performance institutions. He explores the fascinating history of the club and the festival experience both in San Francisco and New York, as well as a number of European cities. This book also surveys the social forces shaping live music as small, independent venues become corporatized and as festivals transform to promote consumerist trappings. Dr. Holt’s book further provides insight into the broader relationship between culture and community in the twenty-first century. Everyone Loves Live Music reveals how our contemporary enthusiasm for live music is more fraught than we would like to think. In this episode host Michael Shields and Dr. Fabian Holt explore the ins-and-outs of Everyone Loves Music, discussing the history of music festivals, the joys and community they can offer in the most ideal of form, while dissecting in depth how popular music festivals have been developed into mass-market commodities by a cultural industry and capitalistic societies.


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