Bloomsbury Popular Music
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The Arena Concert

The Arena Concert: Music, Media and Mass Entertainment

by Robert Edgar

Robert Edgar is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Arts at York St John University, UK. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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, Kirsty Fairclough-Isaacs

Kirsty Fairclough-Isaacs is Senior Lecturer in Media and Performance and Associate Director (International) in the School of Arts and Media at the University of Salford, UK. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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, Benjamin Halligan

Benjamin Halligan is Director of Postgraduate Research for the College of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Salford, UK. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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and Nicola Spelman

Nicola Spelman is Senior Lecturer in Popular Music in the School of Arts and Media at the University of Salford, UK Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Bloomsbury Academic, 2016
  • DOI:
    10.5040/9781501316326
  • ISBN:
    978-1-6289-2554-8 (hardback)

    978-1-6289-2555-5 (paperback)

    978-1-6289-2557-9 (epub)

    978-1-6289-2556-2 (epdf)

    978-1-5013-1632-6 (online)
  • Edition:
    First edition
  • Place of Publication:
    London
  • Published Online:
    2017 2017
The Arena Concert
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The Arena Concert: Music, Media and Mass Entertainment is the first sustained engagement with what might said to be - in its melding of concert and gathering, in its evolving relationship with digital and social media, in its delivery of event, experience, technology and star - the art form of the 21st century.

This volume offers interviews with key designers, discussions of the practicalities of mounting arena concerts, mixing and performing live to a mass audience, recollections of the giants of late twentieth century music in performance, and critiques of latter-day pretenders to the throne. The authors track the evolution of the arena concert, consider design and architecture, celebrity and fashion, and turn to feminism, ethnographic research, and ideas of humour, liveness and authenticity, in order to explore and frame the arena concert.

The arena concert becomes the “real time” centre of a global digital network, and the gig-goer pays not only for an immersion in (and, indeed, role in) its spectacular nature, but also for a close encounter with the performers, in this contained and exalted space. The spectacular nature of the arena concert raises challenges that have yet to be fully technologically overcome, and has given rise to a reinvention of what live music actually means.

Love it or loathe it, the arena concert is a major presence in the cultural landscape of the 21st century. This volume finds out why.