Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Margaret M. Gripshover (Director), Dr. Thomas L. Bell, Dr. David J. Keeling, Dr. Katie M. Algeo

Degree Program

Department of Geography and Geology

Degree Type

Master of Science


Commercial music festivals in the United States have been growing in popularity since the 1960s. Today, many weekend-long music festivals are annual events spanning a variety of genres and often occur at the same locations each year. My research compares and contrasts how jamband music festivals are marketed as sustainable events and attempts to determine how the advertised sustainable practices are implemented and utilized at selected jamband music venues. The jamband genre of music emphasizes musical improvisation and borrows from other styles of music: rock, electronic, jazz, blues, folk, and bluegrass.

In addition, any impacts these festivals have upon the local environment are evaluated. Sustainability is a topic often used as a marketing strategy when promoting summer jamband music festivals. Fans of this genre are identified with a culture that is similar to the environmentally conscious hippie culture of the 1960s and 1970s.

The data for this research were obtained through field observations, interviews, surveys, and content analyses of promotional materials. It is my hypothesis that the festivals’ sustainable practices will be adopted by local communities as the festivals leave both a physical and cultural imprint upon the local landscapes, which is determined through attendee surveys and interviews with local decision makers and festival promoters. I also hypothesize that the geographic location of each will have an influence on the participation in such practices by the festival attendees, as I believe those in attendance at the High Sierra Music Festival in California will be more likely to have green lifestyles as California has been a leader in environmentally conscious innovations and attitudes, whereas other states, Illinois and Tennessee, lag behind. The data collected were mapped and analyzed to determine the effectiveness of environmental sustainability promotions and practices at the fan level as well as the local level. This research fills a gap within the geographic literature as no research exists examining the spatial relationship between music festivals and sustainability. Additionally, my research highlights that popular cultural events can be opportunities to engage in meaningful environmental education on issues such as recycling, and environmental sustainability.


Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Environmental Monitoring | Environmental Sciences | Sustainability