Music fans as tourists

The mysterious ways of individual and social dimensions

Authored by: Maria Lexhagen

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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In popular culture tourism people travel to and visit places associated with various popular culture phenomena. Following seminal work and state of the art research defining fans and fandoms (Ford, De Kosnik, & Harrington, 2011; Gray, Sandvoss, & Harrington, 2007; Jenkins, 2012; Lewis, 1992), popular culture tourists can to varying degrees be considered as fans. Studying popular culture tourism as a type of fan practice or fan activity is based on focusing on what fans pursue in everyday life if fandom is defined as a role in relation to popular culture (Duffett, 2015). Specifically, music tourism “can be seen as a range of practices where sites of music production and expression become the points of attraction for tourists” (Gibson & Connell, 2005, p. 16). It is an act of consumption that involves complex rituals and suggests the powerful emotive role of music in contemporary society (Gibson & Connell, 2005). People travel to music events and attractions as well as places associated with music either as fans, pilgrims, concert goers, festival attendees, or perhaps to places where the sound of music is closely associated to the experience of place (Lashua, Spracklen, & Long, 2014). Research that uses various perspectives of place and geography has described music tourism in previous literature (c.f. Carney, 1997; Cohen, 1991, 2007; Cohen, Knifton, & Leonard, 2013; Connell & Gibson, 2003; Gibson & Connell, 2012; Krims, 2007; Leaver & Schmidt, 2009; Watson, Hoyler, & Mager, 2009; Xie, Osumare & Ibrahim, 2007). However, it should be noted that for popular culture tourism, and in general, it is important to acknowledge that fan practices or fan activities are only indicative of fandom as a role. People can do things for any number of other reasons outside the role of fandom, such as for the pure pleasure of listening to a piece of music or as part of a musician’s working life (Duffett, 2015).

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