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Festival Insights NEWS: What Is ‘Atmosphere’ – and How Can You Help Create It at Your Event?

John Drury is Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Sussex. His research focus is crowds and collective behaviour. He has published nearly 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, most of which are on crowds. With colleagues Steve Reicher and Clifford Stott, he developed the Elaborated Social Identity Model of crowd conflict. Some of the crowd events he has researched include the Hajj (Mecca), the London bombings of July 7 2005, the Hillsborough disaster, the 2010 Chile earthquake, and the 2011 English riots. 

Why do people attend music events rather than simply listen to music in the comfort of their own homes? Attending live events costs money, involves travel and queuing, and can mean being in a dense crowd. Why do people endure these and other apparent inconveniences?

When asked, people often say that it is the ‘atmosphere’ of the event that makes it so attractive. There is something about…

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