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Islay Jazz Festival

Medboe, Haftor; Maclean, Diane


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Dr Diane Maclean
Dean of the School of Arts and Creative Industries


This article considers the ecologies and stakeholder interests that overlap in the staging of an annual jazz festival on a small Scottish island in the Outer Hebrides. Through interviews with festival promoters, performers and audience members, alongside insights from island residents, we interrogate the special circumstances governing the presentation of a festival of ostensibly urban music in a rural island location. Constructions of identity and myth are observed to permeate narratives around both festival and island, often symbiotically intertwined to mutual benefit. Nonetheless, tensions between incomer and visitor, the rural and the urban, ‘high’ and ‘low’ arts, nostalgia and progress are seen to emerge. In the discussion of the complexities involved in the import of a jazz festival to an island steeped in its own history, and internationally recognized for its manufacture and export of distinctive Scotch whisky, this article seeks to explore universal themes of identity construction through a finite study of a distinctly situated cultural festival.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 17, 2020
Publication Date 2020-02
Deposit Date Jan 28, 2020
Publicly Available Date Mar 1, 2022
Journal Jazz Research Journal
Print ISSN 1753-8637
Publisher Equinox Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 2
Article Number 3
Series ISSN 1753-8637
Keywords festival; jazz; culture; island; identity construction; festivalisation
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