There are many obscure definitions of the term ‘a crowd ‘ one of which is defined as by the Oxford Dictionary as “ a big figure of people gathered together, normally without orderly agreement ” and Le Bon ( 2006:15 ) defines a crowd as “ a assemblage of persons of whatever nationality, profession or sex and whatever be opportunities that have brought them together ” .

The Oxford Dictionary ( ) besides defines behavior as “ a mode of behaving or the response of an being to a stimulation ” in respects to this literature the stimulation could be the emotions of others, or a shared experience within the crowd, or factors lending to emotions within persons in a crowd.

Getz ( 2007:293 ) provinces that “ understanding crowd emotions and behavior is indispensable for most events ” But “ Crowd direction, nevertheless, is non merely achieved by trying to command the audience, but by seeking to understand their behavior and the assorted factors which can impact this. ” ( HSE, 2009:46 ) It is besides noted in the HSE ( 2009 ) that the behavior of crowds at events is determined by their ain personal ends and motives.

This literature reappraisal will look at the models behind three theories of crowd behavior, as it is imperative to understand the psychological behavior of crowds ( Kendall 2008:545 ) .

Best services for writing your paper according to Trustpilot

Premium Partner
From $18.00 per page
4,8 / 5
Writers Experience
Recommended Service
From $13.90 per page
4,6 / 5
Writers Experience
From $20.00 per page
4,5 / 5
Writers Experience
* All Partners were chosen among 50+ writing services by our Customer Satisfaction Team

The theories concerned are: –

-Classic theories

– Contagious disease Theory

– Convergence Theory

-Emergent- Norm Theory

It will seek to place cardinal factors that can alter behavior within crowds and the impacts these can hold on out-of-door events.

The literature underpinning research into crowd behavior stems from subjects such as psychological science and sociology, with an evident deficiency of recent research into crowd behaviors at big out-of-door events.

Crowd Behaviour Theories

It is noted that the two classical theories that are reviewed, are the foundations of what has been formed today, they have evolved over clip, but it is provided as an overview of crowd behaviour theories.

Contagion Theory

There are two cardinal writers of the ‘Group Mind ‘ theory,

Le bon


It is of import to recognize that the widely cited plants of Gustave Le Bon, from his 1895 book, The Crowd was based on his observations of crowds during the Gallic revolution, and are a long manner from the crowds that are experienced today.

Le Bon ( 2006 ) stated that crowds were protected by the namelessness of crowds and that single duty was discarded, accordingly burying their normal values and ability to believe and to ground. He besides assessed that thoughts and emotions within the crowd became contagious and spread quickly.

However Reicher ( 2003:186 ) suggests that contagious disease theory is an affect of suggestibility, and that an single forfeits personal involvement in favor of the corporate involvement of the crowd

It is so understood that Persons within crowds are more likely to affect themselves in antisocial behavior as the namelessness provided makes them experience invulnerable, it is this corporate behavior that is understood to be irrational and that persons will set about actions within a crowd environment that they would usually defy.

Freud believed “ that the crowd ‘Unlocks ‘ the unconscious ” and that in normal day-to-day state of affairss moral criterions are maintained “ because they are installed in the human mind as the super self-importance ” . However in a crowd state of affairs the leader of the group surpasses the ace self-importance and now controls the unconscious, taking to “ barbarian urges ” ( Hewstone & A ; Manstead, 1996:152 )


My apprehension of this theory is that it does non place as to why some crowds become violent and other remain inactive.

2. Convergence Theory

Convergence theoreticians such as, Reicher ( 1984 ) , and McPhail ( 1991 ) , argue that persons within a crowd do non free personal individuality, as stated in the contagious disease theory, but they communicate personal beliefs and values so that the crowds behavior is that of similar feeling.

It is understood that convergence theory is more rational as it focuses on the shared beliefs and emotions within a crowd. It is possible that single can work the protection of being in a crowd to take part in behavior that would usually be repressed.


However it does non give manner to why persons in this crowd, who portion similar beliefs, behave otherwise.

Emergent-Norm Theory

Cardinal Writers identified: –

Turner and Killian

Turner and Killian ( 1993 ) as cited in Kendall ( 2008:547 ) concede that crowds are understood to develop their ain definition of a state of affairs and hence set up their ain ‘norms ‘ – ” societal regulations that specify appropriate and inappropriate behavior in given state of affairss ” ( Sharpe, 2007:508 ) that reflect the juncture and supply criterions that allow determinations to be made about how people will interact with each other. ( Sharpe,2007 )

Adang et Al ( 2004 ) identifies that in every crowd you can descry persons making such things as originating confabs, shouting waies and in utmost instances originating force. FIND THEORY IN TURNER AND KILLIAN

Emergent-Norm Theory argues that the visual aspect of unanimity among the participants in incidents of corporate behavior accompanies the outgrowth of dominant norms and harmonizing to this theory, one time a dominant norm emerges group members differing with it maintain quiet out of fright of group animadversion ( Aguire et al, 1998 ) rephrase

Analysis of theories

Factors of Crowd Behaviour

Berlonghi ( 1995 ) argues that by merely stating a crowd is a big figure of people gathered closely together is a error and that it indispensable to separate one person from another. By being unable to do differentiations about the crowd it leaves crowd control and crowd direction ineffective. He besides recognises those events that are a success, that ne’er become publicised are they the effect of effectual planning, or merely the consequence of good fortune.

Crowd Catalysts

It would look that there are a battalion of factors that can act upon behaviors between persons in a crowd. Berlonghi ( 1995 ) has identified factors that may lend to, or trip a crowd from being one that is managed to one that needs to be controlled.

Operational Fortunes

Lack of parking, sold out event, and no show of performing artists are all illustrations of factors that can modify a crowds behavior, an illustration of how crowd behavior changed can be identified by ‘The Rage Factor ‘ a Fury Against The Machine gig, which took topographic point in Finsbury Park in 2010. Tickets were available by Ballot to observe the run that got the set to figure one the old Christmas. 180,000 people had applied for tickets with merely 40,000 being available. It is reported that several hundred fans scaled the fencing. ( Gittins, 2010 )

Reading Festival has been forced to use for extension to the figure of ‘early bird ‘ tickets leting 20,000 people to get before the declared start of the event ; this was due to an ever-increasing sum of festival departers geting at the festival entryway prior to the event over the last few old ages. ( Reading Borough Council, 2010 )

Event Activities

Fireworks, picture rematchs, and optical masers may arouse actions within the crowd.

Performers Action

Sexual or violent gestures towards the crowds, Latitude festival 2010 witnessed an onslaught on the crowd, with Crystal Castles ‘ front adult females looking to flog out after allegedly being groped by a male fan as she was crowd surfboarding. The vocalist repeatedly threw clouts into the crowd and later she stormed off phase before the allotted clip, with widespread booing from the dorsum of the Fieldss ( NME, 2010 )

The HSE ( 1999 ) states that event organizers should be cognizant of the history of the performing artists and besides the audience which they attract.

Spectator factors

Anti societal behavior can impact a crowd non merely the person, and is holding an impact in how events are being delivered ( Connell, 2009 ) . Kemp et Al ( 2007 ) as cited in Connell ( 2009 ) have identified that intoxicant and drugs are a major factor in finding crowd behavior.

The Guardian ( 2010 ) reported that at T in the Park festival in Kinross-shire, Scotland, there were 2 colzas and an attempted slaying. Some festival departers believe a major portion of the job is a altering demographic among those go toing, with imbibing and drug taking exceling the music.

Security or Police

Use of inordinate policing, statements with attendants and maltreatment of authorization can trip aggression within the crowd.

“ It has become progressively accepted that the result of crowd events can non be explained entirely on what crowd members do, but must besides turn to constabulary actions ” ( Adang, 2004 ) . It is usual to utilize constabularies to command a crowd but this frequently so leads to confrontation with the constabulary ( Argyle, 1992 ) .

Man Made Catastrophes

Structural failure can be debatable non merely for those straight injured, but by crowd rushs flying the event. Crowd rushs are frequently reported at both little and big events, and can be ruinous.


The primary focal point of this reappraisal is to understand crowd behaviors and factors which can impact the result of a crowds ‘ behavior. Once the variable factor has caused an impact, it is so the persons within the crowd that will respond to the stimulation, and organize themselves into the parametric quantities of crowd behavior that have been outlined by theoreticians.

It is apparent that there are factors within all three theories that can be imparted into observations within crowds at music festivals it is possible to imagine actions at out-of-door music events that can be explained by these theories, nevertheless much of the recent literature merely reiterated these theoreticians with an evident deficiency of observation towards currents tendencies and attitudes in society.

The effects of crowd behavior within out-of-door music events can be ruinous should event directors non take into consideration the factors that can impact the behavior of both little and big crowds. If event directors fail to understand persons within a crowd, and the possible that they have to physically alter the kineticss of the crowd around them, they face black effects.


In 2010 there were over 450 music festivals entirely in the UK ( Winterman, 2010 ) and there has been small research into Anti Social Behaviour at events including the motivations of ‘gatecrashers ‘ at events – attendants trying to come in events without a ticket and the effects that such actions can hold on crowd safety at events.

None of the theories above draw attending to why some crowds are organised and others self-generated, by looking at the motives of persons at music festivals we may get down to farther understand anti societal behavior at these events.


I'm Niki!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out