Summer music festivals that involve a few days of camping have often been linked to sustainability agendas. Yet relevant studies have so far overlooked how these events can themselves serve as experiments in less resource consumptive living. Building on a wider interest in the cultural evolution of cleanliness norms, this paper explores how attendees come to use water in personal washing at two UK festivals. Through survey, observation and interview research, it examines how current festival goers respond to the disruption of their usual washing regimes, paying particular attention to how a combination of social and infrastructural cues serves to encourage the emergence of a temporary new cleanliness culture. Doing so highlights the value of seeing human resource consumption as a matter of dynamic collective convention more than fixed personal preference since these respondents were seen to embrace a new relationship with washing that was otherwise deemed unthinkable. This leads to a broader discussion of how visitor needs and the social world are most usefully studied by both future festival organisers and the wider field of sustainable tourism research.
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
- Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
- Festivals, cleanliness, water consumption, social norms