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That feeling of exaltation: An ethnography of music and religious experience at a music festival

Jennings, M. (2008) That feeling of exaltation: An ethnography of music and religious experience at a music festival. In: Music, Culture and Society Conference, 6 - 8 March 2008, Monash Conference Centre, Monash University, Melbourne

Abstract

This paper is a work in progress, based on an ethnography of the performances at the West Coast Blues & Roots festival (henceforth “WCB&R”) which took place March 31 - April 1 2007 in Fremantle, Western Australia. I begin with a narrative of a day at the festival, sketching the transition from the casual interest of attendees in the morning and early afternoon to the intense, densely packed devotion of participants in the evening. I describe music as a ritual negotiated between performers and participants. I outline the combination of factors by means of which music becomes a “portal”, inviting participants to an experience of euphoria and communitas . I make use of the broad understanding of religious experience outlined by Friedrich Schleiermacher, together with the historical and ethnographic work of Robin Sylvan, to suggest that this musical portal opens into a transcendent experience of the sacred.

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Conference Website: http://arts.monash.edu.au/ecps/conferences/music-c...
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/24053
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