Event Cinema and Liminal Spaces of Dress: Popular Music, Venues and Performativity

Authors: Pullen, C.

Start date: 30 March 2016

The rise of Event Cinema has stimulated the opportunity for large-scale live media events to take place. This includes not only theatre and sports events simulcast into your local cinema, but also popular music concerts. However unlike popular music, and particularly ‘rock’ venues, cinemas generally seem like homogenous, culturally sterile, places of social dress. However the advent of Event cinema offers new modes of cultural identification, suggesting the rise of the subcultural, subaltern and cultural capital, offering a performative liminal space for dress and apparel.

This paper offers an historical background of the live pop concert event in cinema, foregrounding the case study of the ‘Fare The Well Concert’ for The Grateful Dead, broadcast on 6 July 2015 - 20 years to the day that Jerry Garcia last played in the band. This globally broadcast concert sold over 500,000 tickets world wide to cinema venues. Many ‘fans’ eagerly engaged in the event, connecting to the tribal apparel of their chosen band, including wearing the hippy styling that the Grateful Dead espoused.

Through examining the performative liminal space of both music venues, and Event cinema space, alongside exploring discourse online and news reporting, relating the ‘Fare the Well’ concert, this paper examines subcultural potential in contrast to neoliberal commodity, framing Event cinemagoers relation to dress, and cultural resistance and/or cultural capital.

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