Music, Beer and Performativity in New Local Leisure Spaces: Case Study of a Yorkshire Dales Market Town

Abstract

Pubs and popular music share long-standing connections, both through commodified entertainment practices and ones which cultivate a sense of belonging. In this article we consider how new spaces for drink and music related leisure form sites of community, distinction and resistance in a Yorkshire Dales market town. Pubs in urban areas have long contributed to the vitality of more diffuse music scenes, but instances of pub-based scenes in rural areas have been rare and disconnected. However, the conjunction of reduced demand for retail space and an emergent do-it-yourself culture has brought about the transformation of redundant retail outlets as independently-run leisure spaces in both urban and rural locales, including a growing number of micropubs. Foregrounding the role of individual agency and the significance of locally-negotiated meanings, we examine how Habermasian communicative leisure is performed at recently-opened micropubs which stage live music. Through observational analysis and semi-structured interviews we examine how these performative spaces foster a sense of belonging and how this is enhanced through activities including music quizzes, trips to music festivals and amateur music-making. We consider how locally negotiated trading and exchange practices constitute resistance to corporate capitalism and the extent to which this community’s preferences for real-ale and less-mainstream musical styles also serve as markers of distinction in a Bourdieusian sense.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Craft beer has no legal definition. It is a marketing term that can be used and abused by big corporations as well as one-person breweries. It has come to mean beer made in a range of styles by brewers who copy the first craft breweries in the Unites States. Craft beer is dispensed in kegs and its secondary fermentation can often be stopped in the same way it is stopped in keg lager, and carbon dioxide is often added to make it fizzy. Real-ale is defined as beer that continues its secondary fermentation in the cask, and is dispensed through a hand-pump: this is the traditional British style of beer defended by the Campaign for Real Ale when it was first set-up in the 1970s.

  2. 2.

    All are anonymised in this paper.

  3. 3.

    The ‘Dewsbury Rules’ refers to a self-opinionated former patron and is a list of some 20 topics which are deemed likely to cause argument or offence if raised in open conversation at the bar. Every third or fourth entry on the list is ‘Margaret Thatcher’.

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Robinson, D., Spracklen, K. Music, Beer and Performativity in New Local Leisure Spaces: Case Study of a Yorkshire Dales Market Town. Int J Sociol Leis 2, 329–346 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41978-018-00029-5

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Keywords

  • Community
  • Leisure
  • Authenticity
  • Music
  • Real-ale
  • Micropubs