Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Grove Music Online. Grove is a registered trademark. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 25 August 2019


  • Percy M. Young,
  • Edmund A. Bowles,
  • Charles Edward McGuire
  •  and Jennifer Wilson


A generic term, derived from the Latin festivitas, for a social gathering convened for the purpose of celebration or thanksgiving. Such occasions were originally of a ritual nature and were associated with mythological, religious, and ethnic traditions. From the earliest times festivals have been distinguished by their use of music, often in association with drama. In modern times the music festival, frequently embracing other forms of art, has flourished as an independent cultural enterprise, but it is still often possible to discover some vestige of ancient ritual in its celebration of town or nation, political or religious philosophy, or living or historical person. The competitive music festival has also retained combative features reminiscent of festival events of former times.

The present article is concerned with the evolution of the musical festival in Western Europe and North America, and with developments elsewhere in the world that have sprung from these traditions; discussions of individual festivals may also be found in the articles on the relevant towns and cities....

Access to the complete content on Grove Music Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.

Anuario musical
Musical Times
Early Music
Galpin Society Journal
Die Musikforschung
19th Century Music
Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart
The New Grove Dictionary of American Music
R.M.A. [Royal Musical Association] Research Chronicle
The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz
Rivista musicale italiana