Music tourism: The “mental vaccine” for human beings

05:00:02 - October 05, 2021

Music has long become an important part of people’s spiritual life. Over time, it has constantly made contributions to many sectors, including the tourism industry. By regularly organizing music events, destinations can get famous for music tourism and develop in many aspects.

Nowadays, as the demand for entertainment is increasing, music appears everywhere: in the space of cafeterias, restaurants, business events, picnics, trips, movies, advertising, etc. New music genres and songs are continuously released, while music stars are also passionately sought after. Therefore, music events are organized more and more from a small, medium to large scale in many destinations. In recent years, music tourism has been widely spreading all over the world.

The “handshake” between music and tourism

Music tourism is the act of visiting a destination to see a music festival or other music performances taking place there.

Many people, especially youths, are no longer strange to renowned music festivals attracting hundred-thousands of audiences from everywhere such as Coachella, Tomorrowland, Ultra Music, Ravolution, etc. Through music, they are connected by dancing together and can understand one another in some way.

When one or some music shows take place in a destination, the fans of the performing artist line-up will come to take part in. They can be locals or people from other places. Many of them will combine enjoying live music with leisure travel, particularly in the longer-than-one-day events. Thanks to that, hospitality, F&B and leisure services in a destination will be enhanced simultaneously.

Some famous destinations such as Memphis, New York, Las Vegas, California (U.S.A.), Barcelona (Spain), Berlin (German), Havana (Cuba), Vienna (Austria), Milan (Italy), etc. have been successful with many monumental, long-day music events and attracted a large number of music lovers all around the globe.

A study by online travel agency eDreams in 2019 identified music as a key factor in destination choice for a third of U.S. millennials. One in four Americans prepared to travel to a different country to watch their favorite artist perform. According to the survey, 23 percent of Americans are more likely to travel to a destination because its local music style inspires them.

Tourism development also means that the economy can develop accordingly. Based on a UK Music organization’s report, in 2019, pre-pandemic, music tourism contributed up to 4.7 billion pounds (equivalent to 6.32 billion USD at current exchange rates) to the U.K’s economy. The number of both domestic and international music tourists was 12.6 million people, up 13% from 11.2 million in 2018. More than 45 thousand full-time equivalent jobs were sustained by this activity.

Unlike seasonal types of tourism, music tourism can attract guests year-round. For example in New Orleans (U.S.A.), Kristian Sonnier, Vice President, Communications & Public Relations of New Orleans and Company, said that the city is home to more than 130 festivals a year – every three days.

In recent years, Vietnam has also paid more attention to music tourism with standard festivals, not just few-hour programs to keep tourists stay longer. Some notable and supported events can be mentioned such as the series of beach music festivals Fun Beach Festival in Vung Tau, or the sports – music – picnic festival Passion Land in Lam Dong, etc.

Photo: Fun Beach Festival.

Music tourism is still rekindled amid the pandemic

Since the Covid-19 epidemic was widespread all over the world, mass gatherings and events were forced to stop, the tourism sector in general and music tourism in particular have seen extremely heavy losses. However, some destinations and event organizers have been still trying to deliver everybody great musical experiences that match the actual situation of the locality.

Divide the event agenda into multiple times and locations: Last year, Cruïlla held a festival amid the pandemic, a downsized version called Cruïlla XXS. Instead of packing the event into a single weekend and location, organizers created a series of open-air concerts with the city as its stage. Each weekend in July 2020, homegrown acts performed for crowds of no more than 400 at Barcelona’s most popular landmarks such as the legendary football stadium Camp Nou, Design Museum of Barcelona, or Sant Pau Art Nouveau.

Virtual reality music festival and livestreams: Virtual reality (VR) technology is on the throne during the pandemic. This July, the Splendour XR virtual reality festival took place in Australia. Splendour XR created a virtual North Byron Parklands, where users could participate in using VR gear or watching through the window of a web browser. They could switch between different spaces, see others’ avatars, and enjoy the pre-recorded performances of artists such as Khalid, Charli XCX, Chvrches, King Gizzard, etc.

Khalid at Splendour XR. (Photo: Splendour XR)

In the upcoming days, some music festivals are able to take place as travel restrictions have been eased and the epidemic has temporarily stabilized. Among them is the Amsterdam Dance Event, a five-day annual electronic music event in the Netherlands’ capital, which will be organized from October 13 to October 17 this year. A good news is fully vaccinated travelers to Amsterdam no longer have to quarantine starting from September 25.

Or Austin City Limits music festival from October 1 – 3, and October 8 – 10 with outstanding acts such as Miley Cyrus, Machine Gun Kelly, Megan Thee Stallion, etc. Attendants have to wear masks, and have a printed copy of a negative Covid-19 test result. From October 29 – 30, Outside Lands Music Festival will welcome tourists as planned. The performing artists are highly anticipated, including Lizzo, J Balvin, Young Thug, Kehlani, etc. To ensure safety, guests must wear masks, and provide proof that they are fully vaccinated (the final vaccine dose is at least 14 days prior to entry date), or a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours.

In this uncertain period, music is considered as a kind of “mental vaccine” to ease, assure and give people more hope. Artists all around the world still keep composing and releasing such songs diligently. In the near future, on-site music tourism probably can’t return to its pre-epidemic heyday, giving way to online shows. Nevertheless, when everything is settled, music tourism is expected to continue to grow strongly and once again can connect people and bring high economic and cultural values to the destinations.

Music tourism: The “mental vaccine” for human beings


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