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Emily Hall

MA work

Dissertation: Organising the Moment: Festival as Product. The UK Pop Festival, 1967-77

"This is a town, I'm a town alongside your town… The minute they stay overnight, 24 hours, I have to have sewage works, electricity works, water works, a hospital - you name it. I have to build a town, and I'm the mayor." Harold Pendleton, the original organiser of the Reading Festival and owner of the Marquee Club in London, made this claim in conversation with the Mayor of Reading in 1973. He was describing the infrastructure needed to run a pop festival. Yet today these events are much mythologised as non-commercial, spontaneous 'happenings' and given a prominent place in popular memory. My thesis takes Pendleton at his word by exploring how the early pop festivals which took place at Glastonbury, the Isle of Wight and Reading between 1967 and 1977 were designed. It is based on interviews with figures involved in the organisation of these events, blueprints and documentary photographs as well as extensive graphic ephemera which was published to promote pop festivals. My work places particular emphasis on the spatial experience of the festival and the visual material culture associated with it. Drawing on the concept developed by social theorist Henri Lefebvre of 'the moment', it explores whether these events can be conceptualised as manufactured experience. Their success, as I show, was dependent on the dynamic equilibrium between the design processes involved in their realisation, and the counterculture that both inspired and defined them.

Info

  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Humanities

    Programme

    MA History of Design, 2008

  • Dissertation: Organising the Moment: Festival as Product. The UK Pop Festival, 1967-77

    "This is a town, I'm a town alongside your town… The minute they stay overnight, 24 hours, I have to have sewage works, electricity works, water works, a hospital - you name it. I have to build a town, and I'm the mayor." Harold Pendleton, the original organiser of the Reading Festival and owner of the Marquee Club in London, made this claim in conversation with the Mayor of Reading in 1973. He was describing the infrastructure needed to run a pop festival. Yet today these events are much mythologised as non-commercial, spontaneous 'happenings' and given a prominent place in popular memory. My thesis takes Pendleton at his word by exploring how the early pop festivals which took place at Glastonbury, the Isle of Wight and Reading between 1967 and 1977 were designed. It is based on interviews with figures involved in the organisation of these events, blueprints and documentary photographs as well as extensive graphic ephemera which was published to promote pop festivals. My work places particular emphasis on the spatial experience of the festival and the visual material culture associated with it. Drawing on the concept developed by social theorist Henri Lefebvre of 'the moment', it explores whether these events can be conceptualised as manufactured experience. Their success, as I show, was dependent on the dynamic equilibrium between the design processes involved in their realisation, and the counterculture that both inspired and defined them.

  • Degrees

  • BA (Hons) Product Design and Development for the Fashion Industries (Womenswear), University of The Arts, 2005
  • Experience

  • Print Technician, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2007 to present; Assistant Designer for Marks and Spencers Group, London, 2006; Freelance Design Consultant, London, 2005-6