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Conceptualising safety and crime at UK music festivals

Bows, Hannah; King, Hannah; Measham, Fiona

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Fiona Measham


Louise Platt

Rebecca Finkel


There has been a global surge in music festivals over the last decade, especially in Europe. In the UK, it is estimated that more than 3.5 million people attended the 230 music festivals in 2015 (Time Out, 2015; UK Festival Awards, 2016). Despite a body of research indicating higher levels of crime, particularly acquisitive and violent crime in spaces with similar characteristics (e.g. nightclubs, pubs and gigs), there have been no previous studies examining the occurrence or nature of crime at music festivals. This chapter brings together conceptual developments across the social sciences to shed light on the underexplored subject of gender and safety at music festivals, a leisure location of growing interest to social scientists and of significant growth within the events industry. This chapter presents data from the first UK study to explore safety and crime at music festivals and raises questions regarding the distinctive features of commercialised music festivals, the extent to which they can be considered transgressive or countercultural spaces and what might be the distinctions, if any, of gendered sexual violence within such spaces.


Bows, H., King, H., & Measham, F. (2020). Conceptualising safety and crime at UK music festivals. In L. Platt, & R. Finkel (Eds.), Gendered violence at international festivals (86-104). Routledge.

Online Publication Date Mar 24, 2020
Publication Date 2020
Deposit Date May 15, 2020
Publicly Available Date Sep 24, 2021
Publisher Routledge
Pages 86-104
Book Title Gendered violence at international festivals.
Chapter Number 7


Accepted Book Chapter (658 Kb)

Copyright Statement
This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Gendered violence at international festival on 24 March 2020 available online:

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