ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Rock and Roll and Ancient and Modern Religious Festivals: Common Roots or Music of the Gods?

Updated on September 30, 2012

Primal Religion and Rock and Roll

Rock and roll festivals have been a part of many people’s culture for a very long time. Music festivals are often seen as a break from the mundane by people who enjoy that style of music. I have attended several rock festivals and have witnessed many things that are relatable to religious festivals in both primal and modern times. The bands’ performances, how the people act, and the sacred bonding that happens at rock festivals could all be seen as nearly religious experiences. The seemingly secular festivals have many similarities to religious festivals of many cultures.

Music and Religion

Music of any type and festivals seem to go hand in hand. So it seems very natural for bands to be playing at both a rock festival and at religious festivals. Nearly every Christian religious gathering has both a choir and the congregation singing during their services. These band gatherings could be interpreted as a call back to earlier times. Just like with religious festivals, people attend modern rock festivals to become a bit more in touch with their primal ancestors. Those people want to listen to rock as a group as they might have listened to celebration drums around a campfire two thousand years before, and the bands want to bring that experience for them. Many bands will also use pyrotechnics and fire during their shows to excite the people. This is similar to fire altars and bonfires for religious celebration used in ancient times in Hinduism and other religions (Shattuck 23-24).

The Time of Festivals

During festivals, religious or rock and roll, participants want to enjoy their time and maybe learn more about their views of the world. These festivals are a time to gather and reflect on what brought you there. The people who participate in rock and roll festivals are on separate time than what they are in during their normal lives. They may have had to take time off work or find a baby sitter to get away from the kids. It could almost be seen as sacred time. This is very similar to religious festivals in that the time spent during it is sacred and separate from time spent during daily life (Eliade 85). People at rock and roll concerts also participate in many acts that could be seen as primal. One of these acts, the mosh-pit, is a mix of chaos and order, violence and joy. These traits also seem to constantly repeat themselves in many aspects of religion, such as sacrifices, destruction, and the sacred itself (Eliade 29). Many religions have also used intoxication via drugs for spiritual purposes. At many rock festivals I have attended, I have seen many people using different drugs as a means to enhance their experience or to enjoy the festival more fully. I believe that these two different uses for narcotics could be seen as similar experiences. The final part of the traditional rock festival is the food. During many religious festivals food plays an important role. In rock festivals the food is plentiful and usually pretty primitive. At many rock festivals I have seen giant turkey legs, sausages on sticks, and other early styles of food. It is easy to eat and generates little trash. It is almost a replica of primitive festivals, similarly to how many religious festivals operate.

Festival Bonding

The final piece that really makes a festival a festival is the bonding. With many religious festivals, the group separates itself from others while participating in the festival; Eliade describes this as being “completely immersed in the dream time” (Eliade 86). This bonding at a rock festival is similar. Everyone there has at least, and a lot of times only, one thing in common -- their taste in music. This bond is similar to the religious bond. One group of religious people may have only one thing in common between them: their religion. So it seems to follow that these two very different situations at least have a similar type of bond between their participants. When you attend a rock festival, you can look at and talk to the other people almost as family. You feel a strong, unspoken, almost sacred connection with nearly everyone at a rock festival. This bond is potentially the strongest connection between a profane rock concert and a sacred religious festival.

Conclusion

The final piece that really makes a festival a festival is the bonding. With many religious festivals, the group separates itself from others while participating in the festival; Eliade describes this as being “completely immersed in the dream time” (Eliade 86). This bonding at a rock festival is similar. Everyone there has at least, and a lot of times only, one thing in common -- their taste in music. This bond is similar to the religious bond. One group of religious people may have only one thing in common between them: their religion. So it seems to follow that these two very different situations at least have a similar type of bond between their participants. When you attend a rock festival, you can look at and talk to the other people almost as family. You feel a strong, unspoken, almost sacred connection with nearly everyone at a rock festival. This bond is potentially the strongest connection between a profane rock concert and a sacred religious festival.

Sources

The Sacred and The Profane: The Nature of Religion
The Sacred and The Profane: The Nature of Religion

Eliade, Mircea. The Sacred And The Profane, The Nature Of Religion. Orlando: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1959. Print.

 

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)