“That's cool, you’re a musician and you drink”: Exploring entertainers’ accounts of their unique workplace relationship with alcohol

Alasdair J.M. Forsyth, Jemma C. Lennox, Carol Emslie

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Abstract

This qualitative research investigates the alcohol experiences of entertainers who perform within licensed premises. Previous, mainly quantitative, studies have found that entertainers, specifically musicians, are an occupational group who drink excessively. This qualitative study draws on a wider sample of entertainers to examine their accounts of drinking in the workplace and the explanations they provide for this. We conducted individual semi-structured interviews (n=24) with band-members, variety acts and DJs in Glasgow, Scotland. This revealed a workplace characterised by continual opportunities for often free alcohol consumption. Unlike most occupations, for entertainers ‘drinking-on-the-job’ was normative, expected, and sometimes encouraged by peers, the public, employers or sponsors. Entertainers also experienced performance-related incentives to drink before, during and/or after a show; including anxiety, matching their intoxication level to the audience’s, and ‘reward-drinking’. This qualitative research confirms the unique nature of the entertainer-alcohol link, even in comparison to that found within other leisure industry occupations. While providing some explanation as to why entertainers might drink excessively, participants’ accounts also suggested potential strategies for avoiding the negative outcomes of workplace drinking.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85–94
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Volume36
Early online date3 Sep 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016

Keywords

  • musicians
  • alcohol
  • drinking behaviour

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