During 2013 and 2014, I spent over a year researching the user experience of music festivals. While working on this project kept me too busy to attend festivals during those years, the research was fun anyway.


The modern music festival is a site of interaction between up to hundreds of thousands of people, artists, vendors, musicians and technologies. Audiences travel thousands of miles and invest huge amounts of time, energy and money to attend them. Despite the increasing commercial demand for music festivals and the budding recognition of their social value to festivalgoers, human-centered design methods have not been applied to explore ways to increase the value of music festival experiences for audiences.

The purpose of this project was twofold. First, I planned to develop a nuanced, human-centered understanding of music festival audience experience. Based on that understanding, I then planned to design a solution that enhances meaningful, positive experiences for festivalgoers, especially during the periods of anticipation before and reflection after events. By combining insights pulled from research in music psychology, positive psychology and current neuroscience on happiness with qualitative data gathered from my own human-centered design research methods, I developed several robust conceptual models for the complex realities of audience experience at music festivals. Based those models, I then developed a web-based platform called Neverfade that acts both as a music festival history archive and a virtual space where individuals can curate, save and share their own music festival experiences.

You can view or download my thesis directly from the Carnegie Mellon University Research repository or view it below - it takes a while to load. It's been downloaded over 3,700 times to date, and has been cited occasionally by researchers interested in music festivals.

You can check out the process behind my thesis project at my old portfolio site.