On the road—again

Revisiting pop music concert tourism

Authored by: Carla Schriever

The Routledge Handbook of Popular Culture and Tourism

Print publication date:  June  2018
Online publication date:  July  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138678354
eBook ISBN: 9781315559018
Adobe ISBN:


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Considering tourism as a phenomenon of distinctive directions, tourism devoted to fandom leads to different perspectives. Regardless of these differences, fandom tourism and general tourism feature multiple and interlocking dimensions: economic, social, cultural, political, institutional, as well as personal abilities. Jayapalan (2001) argues that the main reason for tourism is rooted in individual curiosity. New technologies made it easier for people to satisfy this curiosity by traveling across long distances. With the introduction of travel frequency on diverse means of transportation people “seem to enjoy the prospect of moving from one continent to another in a matter of hours” (Jayapalan, 2001, p. 1). This also affects the motivation and options of fandom travel, which I will focus on in more detail later. Jayapalan argues that experiences that are gained by traveling “have [a] profound effect upon the life of the individual as well as upon society as a whole” (2001, p. 8). In dimensions of fandom tourism this can be applied to the diversity of individual reasons and the effect on the concert travel within the micro and macro fan cultures concerning each artist’s fan culture. This chapter foregrounds the motifs and dynamics of fandom travel within the fan culture around the late singer Prince over the course of 35 years. The majority of fans, who are life-course fans, a term introduced by Paul Booth (2010), have followed the artist’s career since adolescence, which means they became fans during the early 1980s. Within this time their travel practices changed, caused by the alterations in the artist’s tour scheduling and general approach. This needs to be considered as influencing the fandom tourism within the thematized fan culture. Being used to a structured approach, with annual concert schedules, the artist’s practice was transformed by the lack of concert management. To keep track of the artist’s career, fans had to adjust to ad hoc concerts. Concerts announced between half a week and two hours before the event require a lot of energy, commitment, as well as economical and personal flexibility. Focusing on the perception of these concerts shines a light on popular culture tourism within the study of fandom tourism. The performative change of the fan culture will, in the last instance, be reflected by introducing tourism that followed the artist’s death in April 2016.

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