Jehan Abou El Leil

Jehan Abou El Leil is Irish born, half Egyptian and half Australian. She is currently twenty-one years old and has been studying Creative and Visual Culture for the last three years. She hopes to, upon graduation, take part in further study abroad next year in a course related to film and media. She imagines a future in a career related to media that allows her to chase the sun and travel the world.

The Great Cultural Reset: COVID-19 and its Impact on Music Festivals

Traditionally, there are three pillars of sustainable development, which include economic, social and environmental; however, several academics and researchers alike have stated that culture, with its mass influence, should become the fourth. This is because culture is a critical means to determine how values, behaviours, and assumptions influence the inclusiveness, openness and cohesion of societies, as well as the improvement of people's rights, health, and quality of life, implying it has several impacts across society. This thesis argues that considering music festivals are especially suitable platforms for spreading culture, adapting their conduction would significantly impact their audience's ways of life and cultural norms, inspiring them to become more sustainable.

With the outbreak of COVID-19, reports claim that society has plunged into a worldwide catastrophe with severe economic and social ramifications, making it clear that organisations and event planners should utilise the restrictions imposed due to COVID-19 and seize the opportunity to reset music festival practices and change societal habits to make them more sustainable.

To understand COVID-19's ability to influence a cultural reset toward more sustainable practices, this thesis uses UK music festivals as a case study due to their vast impact and popularity amongst citizens. The UK has such an enormous music festival sector, where they are a destination for several of the largest music festivals, including Glastonbury festival, which can hold up to 210,000 guests. Hence, analysing the effects they have on society would provide a practical framework for how organisations could redesign communities worldwide toward more sustainable living practices.

These effects are explored by first investigating the influence of culture and consumption; this is essential to understand how their alteration could change society's lifestyles and habits and impact a cultural reset. Second, this paper delves into the impact and importance of music festivals in the UK and to understand the full scope of why music festivals are vital for some in creating lifestyles and ideal platforms for inducing a cultural reset. In the third chapter, it outlines the effects of COVID-19 on the music festival sector and thus how it could influence a cultural reset, and lastly this thesis outlines the possible opportunities several entities involved in music festivals could seize.