How going to concerts and festivals affects us scientifically

Skip yoga for a concert, but don't forget earplugs.


Increased life satisfaction

One of Australia's largest universities, Deakin University, surveyed a thousand people and, based on the data it collected, published a study in spring 2017 that found any going to social events involving listening to music increased life satisfaction. That is, if you regularly go to concerts, festivals, flats, parties with DJs and other similar events, you feel more satisfied with your life than those who, for whatever reason, deprive themselves of such experiences. The presence of others while listening to music is a must, so concerts and festivals are no substitute for listening solo through headphones.


Taking photos with your smartphone enhances the concert experience

Alas and ah, if you too are annoyed by people who keep blocking your view of the stage by snapping photos of artists on their smartphones, scientists give them an indulgence. Researchers from Yale University, the University of Southern California and the University of Pennsylvania published a study in 2016 that found filming events like concerts enhances the experience of the event. Also, condolences to artists who don't like audience members in the audience using their smartphones.

How scientifically speaking attending concerts and festivals affects us
How scientifically speaking attending concerts and festivals affects us

More satisfaction with life

Deakin University, one of Australia’s leading universities, surveyed 1,000 people and, using the information, published a study in spring 2017 that found that attending social events with music increases life satisfaction. That is, those who frequently attend concerts, festivals, flats, DJ parties and other such events feel happier in life than those who, for whatever reason, avoid such events. Concerts and festivals cannot replace listening to music through headphones alone, as listening to music requires being surrounded by other people and so does how the light gets in festival.


Using your smartphone to take images at concerts improves the experience.

Alas and ah, scientists indulge those folks who continually blocking your view of the stage by taking pictures of performers with their iPhones. A 2016 study by Yale University, University of Southern California, and University of Pennsylvania researchers showed that capturing live events like concerts improves the audience’s overall experience. Also, sympathies to artists who find it annoying when spectators use their iPhones.

Lowering stress hormone levels

The impact of music on people has generally been researched for a long time, but for many years, psychological rather than physiological factors predominated the research. Recent scientific advancements have produced an increasing number of research demonstrating how music can impact the biochemistry of the human body. Prior to and following two concerts by composer and conductor Eric Whitacre, researchers from Imperial College London and the Royal College of Music took stress hormone measurements in 117 participants.

Extension of life

After reading the foregoing, it is simple to assume that attending concerts extends life expectancy. This seems to be a natural result of lower stress hormone levels and higher life satisfaction. But the stadium and event staff at London’s O2 Arena made the decision to collaborate with renowned Goldsmiths University behavioral science expert Patrick Fagan and carry out a study. They came to the conclusion that going to a concert once every two weeks could add up to nine years to a person’s lifespan.

Not only was the study done before and after a performance, but also before and after a yoga session and before and after a dog walk outside. Psychometric tests and pulse readings were also used. The findings revealed a 21% boost in life satisfaction following 20 minutes at the concert, a 10% rise following yoga, and a 7% increase following dog walking. You should attend concerts frequently for best outcomes, which is important. Patrick Fagan agreed with the Deakin University researchers that in order to experience the effect, music should be heard at the concert rather than over headphones, and that one should not anticipate immediate results.

Loss of hearing possible

To prevent suffering from temporary or permanent hearing loss, Wilco Grolman of Utrecht Medical University Teaching Hospital in the Netherlands and the World Health Organization advise bringing earplugs to music festivals and concerts. A research done on volunteers at an Amsterdam festival supported this assertion. With and without earplugs, each group listened to live music for 4.5 hours. When the volunteers’ hearing was assessed once more, it was discovered that those whose eardrums had not been shielded experienced greater tinnitus and were five times more likely to experience temporary hearing loss than those who had earplugs in. It turns out that you should stock up on earplugs if you value your hearing but yet want to stand close to the amplifiers.

What to do before you start packing for the festival
What to do before you start packing for the festival

Before you start writing stuff lists, wreaking havoc at home and running around asking “Did you remember the salt?” and “Did you check the lights? Are they working?” – Do your homework.

Check the weather forecast for the festival days. What temperatures are expected during the day and, most importantly, at night. Will it be rain or cloudy. If the event is in a mountainous area, like wide awake festival 2022, the forecast may be inaccurate: The weather changes frequently and unpredictably. You should check the forecast two to three days before the festival.

tower of london food festival

Find out

Where you are going to stay. In a tent or in a cabin. Often the accommodation at the festivals is in a tented city but you may also find rooms to rent. The cottages often have minimal facilities: bunk beds without mattresses and no bathroom or kitchen, but they are still warmer than the outdoors. This rarely happens, but sometimes tents are charged separately and need to be booked in advance. It’s worth checking with the organisers.

Where the parking area is located. How long it will take you to walk from your car to the camp site. If parking is close, you may be able to live in your car – this can be convenient too.

What about food and water. Is there a food court, or will it be a kitchen where you have to cook yourself. Is it possible to use a burner or make fires. Are there water coolers, drinking fountains, clean springs or areas where you can buy bottled water.

Is there a charging station. A place where everyone can charge their phones, cameras and tablets. If there isn’t one, it makes sense to bring a powerbank or even a solar panel if you’re not coming by car.

Shower facilities and toilet facilities. Often there’s no shower – in which case you should bring more wet wipes and antiseptic. Or you can try to set up a shower on site. Don’t forget a roll of toilet paper, as the restrooms at festivals are usually either bio-toilets or classic wooden boxes with a hole in the floor.

What to pack

There are three options: suitcase, backpack and bag. A suitcase is not the easiest way to get to the campsite as it will be dragged over mud, rocks, or at best across the lawn. Therefore you should carry your stuff in a backpack or, even better, in a bag. It can hold a lot of things, it opens wide, so it’s easy to put things in and take them out. Most backpacks do not get wet and are made of very strong and unpretentious fabrics, which are very difficult to tear and easy to clean. Both the backpack and the bag are easy to fit in the car and easy to carry to the place where you will pitch your tent.

Where to sleep and camp

At almost all festivals people sleep in tents or cars. If you choose a tent you will need a sleeping bag and a mat. You can also take an inflatable or folding pillow to sleep more comfortably, because you are not constrained by the weight of equipment.



In general, the effect of music on humans has long been studied, but for many years the studies were dominated by psychological aspects rather than physiological ones. More recently, advances in science have led to more and more studies showing how music can affect the biochemistry of the human body. Researchers from Imperial College London, together with the Royal College of Music, sent 117 volunteers to two concerts by composer and conductor Eric Whitacre, measuring their stress hormone levels before and after the performance.

Reducing stress hormone levels



Synchronisation of brain waves

Researchers at the University of Western Ontario have found that people's brainwaves are better synchronised when they are together at a live music concert. This makes everyone in that group of people feel happier about being with others and about the concert. Researchers first asked 24 subjects to listen to a live concert of a musical group, and later the same participants were divided into groups of three or four and played a recording of the concert. So it was found that people's brainwaves are much more in sync when they listen to a live concert in a large crowd, rather than in a recording and almost singly. Also, the synchronisation will not be as high when listening to and watching a video recording of the performance.


Life extension

After reading the previous paragraphs, it is easy to believe that going to concerts increases life expectancy - a seemingly natural consequence of lower stress hormone levels and increased satisfaction with one's life. However, the stadium and concert team at the O2 Arena in London decided to team up with behavioural science expert Patrick Fagan of the prestigious Goldsmiths University and conducted a study. They concluded that attending a music concert once every fortnight could extend a person's life by up to nine years. The study was conducted using psychometric tests and pulse measurements, not only before and after a concert, but before and after a yoga class and before and after an outdoor walk with a dog. The results showed a 21% increase in feelings of life satisfaction after 20 minutes at the concert, a 10% increase after yoga and a 7% increase after walking the dog. Importantly, you need to go to concerts regularly for best results. Like the researchers at Deakin University, Patrick Fagan said that to achieve the effect, music should be listened to at the concert, not through headphones, and that one should not expect instant results.