This thesis explores the role of social and cultural capital in the music festival experience. It does so by gathering observations and post-festival accounts from attendees at three separate music festivals located in England. The data were analysed using Fairclough's approach to critical discourse analysis, resulting in the identification of styles and orders of discourse.\ud \ud Little research, particularly of a qualitative nature, has investigated the roles of cultural taste and social inter-relationships in the music festival experience. Bourdieu's theory of cultural capital and the inter-linked theory of social capital, developed with slightly different emphases by Bourdieu, Coleman and Putnam, were selected as providing an appropriate theoretical framework. Cultural capital, particularly its component of habitus, was a useful lens for focusing on the ways in which participants' cultural tastes related to their festival experience. Social capital was useful for its orientation towards the role of social inter-relationships in the development of cultural taste and festival experience. \ud \ud This thesis found that the youth years, particularly through peer influence, were a rich period for initiation into a taste for a particular genre of music. Initiation could also occur later in life. This contrasts with cultural capital theory's emphasis on early socialisation through family and school. A sense of being a member of the festival music genre's cognoscenti was also found to play a role in the festival experience. Participants discovered complexity in all genres of festival music, challenging the hierarchies underpinning cultural capital. Festivals were found to be sites where connections with already known associates were intensified (bonding social capital), rather than sites where enduring new connections were made (bridging social capital). This thesis critically develops approaches to social and cultural capital and suggests drivers for cultural policy
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