Music Festival Studies: Current Perspectives, Future Directions

July 10, July 30, July 31, August 1, 2020 // Virtual Conference (hosted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Music Festival Studies Conference

July 10, July 30, July 31, August 1, 11:00am-5:00pm Eastern Time, Virtual Conference

For more information, email Registration is open!


11:00am-12:15pm ET: Early Music 

  • John Dilworth, “Handel Festivals and Nineteenth-Century Media” (10 min)
  • Giles Masters, “Early music and the ISCM poly-system: Oxford and London, 1931” (10 min)
  • Rebekah Franklin, “Performing the Passions: American Bach Festivals and the Creation of Community” (20 min)

2:00pm-3:00pm ET: Workshop 

3:30pm-4:30pm ET: Beyond the Local 

  • Pallas Catenella, “Virtually Live, Imagined as Real: Avatarian Embodiment in the Music Festivals of Minecraft” (20 min)
  • Lucas Henry, “‘Music Moves Europe’: Music Festivals, Music Awards, and the Performance and Consumption of European Identities” (20 min)


11:00am-12:30pm ET: Spirituality 

  • Vivek Virani, “Playing in the Space Between:  Cultural and Religious Pluralism in India’s Spiritual Music Festivals” (20 min)
  • Andrew Mall, “Music / Business / Ethics at Christian Festivals” (20 min)
  • Eric A. Galm, “Making A Difference Through Music Festivals: The Brazilian Congado Mineiro in Hartford, Connecticut”

1:30pm-2:30pm ET: In Practice 

  • Jody H. Cripps, Ely Lyonblum, and Anita Small, “Signed Music in the Deaf Community: Performing The Black Drum at Festival Clin d’Oeil” (20 min)
  • Tim Slaughter and Judy Van Zile, “APDF—The Asia Pacific Dance Festival: Stories of the Festival’s Development” (20 min)

3:00pm-4:00pm ET: Comparative Methods 

  • Jeremy Reed, “Celebrating and Selling the Nation: Festivals as Cultural Resource and Performance in Jordan” (20 min)
  • Steve Waksman, “Festival Reformation: Presenting Jazz and Folk in Newport” (20 min)


11:15am-12:30pm ET: Identities Within and Across Borders 

  • Christi-Anne Castro, “A Contemporary Case Study on the Politics of Multiculturalism, Community, and Difference at the Folklorama Festival” (10 min)
  • Ian Copeland, “Contesting Musical Refugee-ness at Dzaleka’s Tumaini Festival” (10 min)
  • Sam Jones, “‘The Irish music is in the walls; it stays there when we leave’: Sense, Affect, and Materiality at Irish Traditional Music Festivals” (10 min)

2:00pm-3:00pm ET: Workshop 

3:30pm-5:00pm ET: Contemporary Music: Institutions

  • Elena Dubinets, “Conductor, Soloist, Composer: Curating a Contemporary Music Festival” (20 min)
  • Will Robin, “Bang on a Can and New Music America:  Competing Festival Visions for Contemporary Music” (20 min)
  • Ryan Ebright, “Incubation and Integration: The American Music Theater Festival and Anthony Davis’s X” (20 min)


11:30am-12:45pm ET: Space, Place, and Politics 

  • Emily Ruth Allen, “White Pageantry on Parade: Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama” (10 min)
  • Allison Brooks-Conrad, “A Site for Revolution: Musical Performance and Political Mobilization at the Estonian National Song Festival Grounds, 1988-1991” (20 min)
  • Ryan Gourley, “Social Betweenness in the Soviet Jazz Festival Network” (10 min)

2:00pm-2:50pm ET: Nostalgia 

  • Jake Cohen and Julie Viscardi-Smalley, “‘The Circus is the Place for Me’: The Phish Festival as Microcosmic Rural Spectacle” (20 min)
  • Kelso Molloy, “More than ‘Oldchella’: Desert Trip 2016 and the Performance of Age(ing) in Classic Rock” (10 min)

3:30pm-5:00pm ET: Gender Politics 

  • Marta Beszterda, “Negotiating Inclusion at the Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music” (20 min)
  • Amir Lehman, “Electronic Dance Music Culture in the Postcolony” (10 min)
  • Kaitlyne A. Motl (kxmotl), “It Couldn’t-Wouldn’t-Shouldn’t Happen Here: Silencing Survivors of Sexual Violence at Music Festivals, Seeking More Comprehensive Solutions” (10 min)
  • Jessica Pruett, “‘A Gathering of Mothers and Daughters’: Race, Gender, and the Politics of Inclusion at Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival” (10 min)

Download Abstracts


  • Lisa Jakelski, Eastman School of Music
  • Emily Richmond Pollock, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Caitlin Schmid, St. Olaf College

[Photo: “Angélique Kidjo” at Crashfest 2016 by marzianademarzo is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 ]

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