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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Going Alone: The case of solo event goers at music events in the U.K.

Marshall, Hayley, Johnson, James and Brown, Alyssa Eve (2022) Going Alone: The case of solo event goers at music events in the U.K. In: THE INC 2022 - Tourism, Hospitality and Events: Innovation and Resilience during Uncertainty, 22-24 June 2022, Limassol, Cyprus.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


The study focuses upon music events and the phenomenon of solo event goers. Research shows that 54.4% of festival goers attend festivals alone or with one other person (Perron-Brault et al, 2020). The NME (New Musical Express) has reported that 65 percent of young people aged 18 -24 have attended a music event on their own. The case of the solo consumer was explored by Goodwin and Lockshin (1992) who proposed in order to capture this growing market segment, organisations need to be adaptive, and to provide innovations in service markets that are responsive to solo consumers and unique consumption patterns.

An exploration of online social media platforms demonstrated that a number of UK music festivals have pages and discussion boards dedicated to individuals attending festivals and music events alone. Recently, academic research has looked at the experiences and choices of solo consumers specifically diners in the hospitality industry (Brown, et al, 2020; Choi, et al, 2020) the motivations for solo travel (Yang 2021) and the anxieties and support networks associated with travelling alone (Karagöz 2021). However, to date, the case of the solo event goer has not been critically explored in the events management literature. According to Bailey and Davidson (2005) there is a need for further research into music events and to begin to understand how these contribute to an individual’s emotional well-being. To address the gap in knowledge this study focuses on solo event goers at music events in the UK. The research study aimed to understand the motivates individuals to attend music events alone, their experiences of going alone and how attending a music event alone impacted on their personal wellbeing.

According to Dearn and Price (2016) individuals who attend music events alone are still able to socialise and connect with other individuals attending. Moreover, Pitts and Spencer (2008:229) states that individuals attending music events alone opens up common ground for discussion and the potential for friendship formation and that individuals who attend music events alone have the capability to form friendships and connections through a shared interest, creating the sense of community and belonging. Research has shown that ‘engaging with music alone may improve physical health and emotional wellbeing’ (Khalifa et al, 2003:374). One of the key attributes of contemporary work on solo consumption has been the link to socialisation, resilience and wellbeing at various stages of the Covid 19 pandemic (Tuzovic et al 202)

For this study primary research was collected through qualitative semi-structured interviews with 15 individuals who all attend music events alone. The findings of the study suggest that attending events solo can positively contribute and improve a persons’ personal wellbeing. That solo event goers gain a sense of escapism, belonging and community which positively contributes to their wellbeing and a perceived better quality of life. Furthermore, that attending music events alone offers a platform for individuals to form short-term and long-term relationships which in turn positively impacts their wellbeing. Throughout the research participants reflected on their resilience in overcoming vulnerabilities and anxieties by stepping out alone.

Bailey, B. A., and Davidson, J. W. (2005) ‘Effects of group singing and performance for marginalized and middle-class singers’, Psychology of Music, 33(3), pp: 269–303.
Brown, L., Buhalis, D. and Beer, S., 2020. Dining alone: improving the experience of solo restaurant goers. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management.

Choi, Suh-hee, Elaine Chiao Ling Yang, and Saloomeh Tabari. "Solo dining in Chinese restaurants: A mixed-method study in Macao." International journal of hospitality management 90 (2020): 102628.

Goodwin, C. and Lockshin, L., 1992. The solo consumer: Unique opportunity for the service marketer. Journal of Services Marketing.

Karagöz, D., Işık, C., Dogru, T. and Zhang, L., 2021. Solo female travel risks, anxiety and travel intentions: Examining the moderating role of online psychological-social support. Current Issues in Tourism, 24(11), pp.1595-1612.
Khalifa, S., Bella, S. D., Roy, M., Peretz, I., and Lupien, S. J. (2003) ‘Effects of relaxing music on salivary cortisol level after psychological stress’, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 999(1), pp: 374–376.

Perron-Brault, A., De Grandpré, F., Legoux, R., and Dantas, D.C. (2020) ‘Popular music festivals: An examination of the relationship between festival programs and attendee motivations’, Tourism Management Perspectives, 34, pp: 1-11

Pitts, S. E. & Spencer, C.P. (2008) ‘Loyalty and Longevity in Audience Listening: Investigating Experiences of Attendance at a Chamber Music Festival’, Music and Letters, 89(2), pp: 227–238.

Tuzovic, S., Kabadayi, S. and Paluch, S., 2021. To dine or not to dine? Collective wellbeing in hospitality in the COVID-19 era. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 95, p.102892.

Wang, X., Wong, Y.D. and Yuen, K.F., 2021. Rise of ‘lonely’consumers in the post-COVID-19 era: A synthesised review on psychological, commercial and social implications. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(2), p.404.

Yang, E.C.L., 2021. What motivates and hinders people from travelling alone? A study of solo and non-solo travellers. Current Issues in Tourism, 24(17), pp.2458-2471.

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Depositing User: Alyssa Eve Brown


Item ID: 14900
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for James Johnson: ORCID iD
ORCID for Alyssa Eve Brown: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2022 13:34
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2022 04:30


Author: James Johnson ORCID iD
Author: Alyssa Eve Brown ORCID iD
Author: Hayley Marshall

University Divisions

Faculty of Business, Law and Tourism > Sunderland Law School


Tourism > Events Management
Tourism > Tourism

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