The Arena Concert: Music, Media and Mass Entertainment just published


Given the recent spotlight on Beyoncé’s Super Bowl performance, I thought why not remind folks that our recently published The Arena Concert: Music, Media and Mass Entertainment (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015)  presents research and findings in relation to expanded critical approaches to popular music, in the context of, and as prompted by the need to evolve new approaches to, the arena concert. Its one of the first academic texts to tackle this subject and  proposes that the arena concert represents a sizeable aspect of the near-future of popular music consumption and live music cultures, and that methodologies associated with popular musicology are effectively “stress tested” by this relatively new paradigm. Blended and recalibrated critical approaches are deemed necessary in order to assemble a critical apparatus capable of engaging with such enormous events. The question of creativity now stretches across many artistic disciplines and practices (dance, music, lighting, video design, sound mixing, social media, expectations management, merchandise, event creation), which all contribute to the arena concert experience.

As well as co-editor, I wrote a chapter  that tackles Beyoncé’s Celebrity Feminism and Performances of Female Empowerment in the Arena Concert. It is concerned with performances of female empowerment by pop and R and B stars, who use it as part of their brand including Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, Pink and Nicki Minaj. I argue that Beyoncé’s engagement  was considerably more pronounced. The oscillation between spectacle and intimacy which appears to be the foundation of a successful arena concert, as combined with themes of empowerment, has become part of the expected package for many star female artists in performance. It examines Beyoncé and her 2013-2014 arena concert tour, The Mrs Carter Show, to explore the ways in which she employs the tropes of what appear to be female empowerment and celebrity feminism in order to maintain and develop her position in popular music and pop culture more widely. It considers her attempts to promote her status as celebrity feminist through her arena concerts and assesses how Beyoncé calls on her fans to use her music and imagery to engage with what can be read as a rather simplistic notion of female empowerment.


Of course theres much more to be said given her recent performances. Thats  in my forthcoming book…Fairclough, K (2016) Beyoncé: Celebrity, Feminism and Pop Culture. London, I.B Tauris


Published by kirstyfairclough

Kirsty Fairclough is Reader in Screen Studies at the School of Digital Arts, Manchester Metropolitan University and Chair of Manchester Jazz Festival. She has published widely on popular culture and am the co-editor of The Music Documentary: Acid Rock to Electropop (Routledge), The Arena Concert: Music, Media and Mass Entertainment (Bloomsbury) and Music/Video: Forms, Aesthetics, Media. New York, (Bloomsbury) and author of the forthcoming Beyoncé: Celebrity Feminism and Popular Culture (I.B Tauris) and co-author of American Cinema: A Contemporary Introduction (Palgrave). Her work has been published in Senses of Cinema, Feminist Media Studies, SERIES and Celebrity Studies journals and she has made several television and radio appearances. Kirsty has lectured internationally on popular culture, feminism and representations of women most notably at The Royal College of Music, Stockholm, The University of Copenhagen, Second City, Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, Middle Tennessee State University, Unisinos Brazil and Bucknell University, Pennsylvania. She has significant experience in international partnership development, particularly in North America and developed the Salford Popular Culture Conference series with international partner universities, including I’ll See You Again in 25 Years, Twin Peaks and Generations of Cult Television: A Two Day International Conference (University of Salford, May 2015) and Mad Men: The Conference (Middle Tennessee State University, May 2016) and Purple Reign: An interdisciplinary conference on the life and legacy of Prince, a three day international academic conference hosted by the School of Arts and Media, University of Salford, UK and the Department of Recording Industry, Middle Tennessee State University, USA.

One thought on “The Arena Concert: Music, Media and Mass Entertainment just published

  1. Interesting. Will you get any quotes from Beyonce giving her side of things? Her actual reasons, thoughts and such?

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