A new study by scientists at Yale University has come to the conclusion that going to music festivals is actually good for you and can make you a better person
A team led by Dr. Daniel Yudkin was inspired to do the study by the traditions of religious celebrations, coupled with the sense of loss music fans experienced throughout the global pandemic and the absence of live music.
“Humans have long sought experiences that transcend or change their sense of self,” Dr Yudkin’s paper begins. “By weakening boundaries between the self and others, such transformative experiences may lead to enduring changes in moral orientation.
“We’ve long known that festivals, pilgrimages, and ceremonies make people feel more bonded with their own group. Here we show that experiences at secular mass gatherings also have the potential to expand the boundaries of moral concern beyond one’s own group.”
The research was carried out among 1,200 people who attended music festivals such as Burning Man in the US and Burning Nest in the UK. The participants were invited to “play games for science” at festival booths, then interviewed again later, while an additional 2,000 people who hadn’t taken part in the games were also interviewed.
Findings reported that “Overall, 63.2% of participants reported having transformative experiences so profound that they left the events feeling radically changed, including a substantial number of people who did not expect or desire to be transformed.”
Subjects expressed a greater sense of understanding of different people, a greater willingness to help others and a higher sense of general wellbeing, with the effects lasting for up to six months for some.
Dr Yudkin said: “The findings are an important reminder of what we’ve missed in years of pandemic isolation –powerful social experiences, or what the sociologist Emile Durkheim called ‘collective effervescence.’”
Of course, we already knew that. But hey…science!