Keeping it Country while Dancing with the Elite

Stian Vestby

Abstract


This article examines programme and audience development at the Norwegian Country Meeting after this festival achieved status as a Norwegian hub festival for country music in 2012. Building on ethnographic data, this article focuses on the effects cultural policies and authoritative criteria for aesthetic quality have had on a popular musical event. The results show how cultural policy may be operationalized based on the dominating preferences of the cultural elite. In this context ‘musical gentrification’ (Dyndahl et al. 2014), a structural phenomenon in which low culture is absorbed into the legitimate culture with inclusionary and exclusionary outcomes, becomes a central theoretical concept. The significance of the study is reflected in its descriptions of how cultural practices and policies relate to wider systems of power and socio-aesthetic inequality.

Keywords


Country music; festival audiences; class distinctions; cultural policy; quality judgements; musical gentrification

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References


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Discography

Dolly Parton. 1971. “Coat of Many Colors”, Coat of Many Colors, CD, RCA, 4 October, USA.

Vassendgutane. 2005. “Granada”, Ungkar med Dobbelseng [Bachelor with Double Bed], CD, Bare Bra Musikk, 6 April, Norway.

Videography

Moldestad, S. 2014a. “Coat of Many Colors” Blågras 2014 [Online video]. Available from: https://youtu.be/RyAt-JHN1R8 Accessed: 14 January 2019.

Interviews

Annlaug. 2015. Interviewed by Stian Vestby, Nordfjord, 5 March.

Bjørn. 2015. Interviewed by Stian Vestby, Nedre Eiker, 20 January.

Eirik. 2015. Interviewed by Stian Vestby, Bergen, 14 January.

Festival representative A. 2014. Interviewed by Stian Vestby, Nordfjord, 24 February.

Festival representative B. 2014. Interviewed by Stian Vestby, Nordfjord, 25 February.

Festival representative C. 2014. Interviewed by Stian Vestby, Nordfjord, 26 February.

Hilde. 2015. Interviewed by Stian Vestby, Nordhordland, 15 January.

Anniken Huitfeldt. 2014. Interviewed by Stian Vestby, Oslo, 10 November.

Kristian. 2015. Interviewed by Stian Vestby, Nordfjord, 7 March.

Other sources

Baugus, R. 2015. “Amazing Grace”, Blågras, 11 July.

Moldestad, S. 2014b. Concert Introduction, Blågras, 12 July.




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