A festival is a special event that is usually centered around food, music and dance. They may have religious, cultural or other social significance. They are often a combination of high and low culture, as well as local and global aspects. Festivals are also a typical example of glocalization and the interrelationship between high culture and popular culture.
The word ‘festival’ has different meanings in other languages, including German (fest), Dutch (festival) and French (fête). The word is believed to be of Latin origin, from the noun festus, meaning “holy day, feast, holiday”. The festival was originally used as a term for a specific type of secular celebration that took place on the Christian calendar. It was later adopted by other religions and cultures. For instance, the Hindu festivals of Holi and Diwali are examples of festivals.
Most people are familiar with music festivals like Coachella and Woodstock, but there are many other types of events that fall under the category of festival. There are food festivals, film festivals and even beer festivals. Many of these events are held annually, and they tend to have a specific theme or genre of music that is showcased.
Musicians often enjoy performing at festivals because they have the opportunity to connect with a large number of potential fans at one time. They can increase album sales and garner support for future tours on the basis of their appearances at these events. The variety of acts featured at a festival can also make it difficult for an attendee to pick and choose which bands they want to see on any given day.
A festival can be a celebration of food or a commemoration of an important historical or cultural milestone. It can be a combination of all three, as is the case with some European festivals that combine religious commemoration of a significant event with celebration of local foods and culture.
Another important feature of a festival is that it can be planned for several days, with mini-programmes and performances happening each day. This allows attendees to have a more ‘immersive’ experience by being able to enjoy a wide range of activities and entertainment. For example, the Hindu festival of Holi involves throwing brightly coloured powder at each other.
A festival can either be free or charge a fee for admission. Most festivals have a general admission pass that allows people to see as much of the event as they wish, or they can have individual tickets for specific events. The stalls and other mini-activities at a festival may also charge for their services. For instance, some stalls at a music festival may offer beer for a small fee, while others have more premium seating locations that are sold separately. The ticket fees are typically paid when people enter the festival, although some festivals have reserved seating or have a higher price point for certain acts that have already achieved popularity. These events are sometimes known as ‘festivals of profit’.