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The Science of Concerts

A fragmented and digitised society can benefit greatly from live music, writes Aisling Rawlinson.

By Aisling Rawlinson, Third year, Geography

Live music and concerts have multiple social, psychological and health benefits for concertgoers. Concerts are not only forms of entertainment, but also stress relievers and mood boosters. As well as this, going to live concerts increases feelings of belongingness and connectedness with those around you. 

The social benefits of live concerts can be summarised by the work of Emile Durkheim, a sociologist who coined the term ‘collective effervescence.’ This describes the sense of communal energy and shared emotion that is felt when an individual becomes part of a collective sharing a common purpose – this is experienced at live concerts when we are surrounded by other like-minded people. 

Whilst experiencing the music, concertgoers create a connection and synchronicity to each other in that shared moment. This leads to a collective positive energy and euphoric feelings of happiness, fulfilling our innate human need for belonging. Therefore, live concerts provide a unique opportunity to experience both the music and positive social interaction that comes with it, strengthening social bonds and leading to feelings of belonging and connectedness. 

Friends smiling at a concert | Unsplash / Jade Masri

Psychologically and physically, live music can increase mood and decrease stress. Experiencing live concerts triggers the release of oxytocin, which improves senses of companionship, trust, and vitality, as well as releasing dopamine – leading to feelings of concert euphoria. Stress hormones are also decreased by the lowering of cortisol levels, and happiness increased through the release of positive endorphins.  The increased level of these endorphins can also relieve physical pain, as they work to reduce the body's perception of pain. 

The experience of live concerts can also provide individuals with an outlet for pent-up negative emotions, leading to individuals experiencing emotional liberation from singing along and dancing at concerts. This also relates to the feelings of connectedness to other members of the audience as well as the performers; being in a safe space like this can enable us to release negative feelings through the outlet of music. 

In an increasingly fragmented and digitised society, the benefits of live music and concerts are important to remember. There are wide-ranging benefits associated with attending live concerts, including social bonding, a sense of belonging, reduced stress, increased mood, and emotional liberation. Even in a heavily digitised world, the power of music remains clear, and the benefits it can provide us are significant. 

Featured image: Unsplash / Yvette de Wit

When did you last go to a concert? What emotions did your experience evoke?