This paper offers an explorative analysis of the online social practices of livestreamed concerts as one of the most popular cultural outlets during the COVID-19 imposed ‘lockdown’ in Europe. Ritual theory is used to investigate the potential of these virtual concerts in generating a collective consciousness, and the related feelings of social solidarity and resilience, specifically important in times of physical isolation. Through a thematic content analysis of the comments (n = 1501) posted during livestreamed techno concerts in the Netherlands, we find that both old and new ritual actions are used to form online communities. While these ritual activities mark participation and remind members of a previous collective feeling, the omission of visceral elements of a physical audience hampers the establishment of a renewed sense of social solidarity.

COVID-19, livestream, music, rave culture, social solidarity, ritual theory
dx.doi.org/10.1080/14616696.2020.1818271, hdl.handle.net/1765/131201
European Societies
Arts & Culture Studies

Vandenberg, F., Berghman, M.J, & Schaap, J.C.F. (2020). The ‘lonely raver’: music livestreams during COVID-19 as a hotline to collective consciousness?. European Societies. doi:10.1080/14616696.2020.1818271