Piloting a mass gathering conceptual framework at an Adelaide Schoolies Festival

Alison Hutton, Rebecca Munt, Kathryn Zeitz, Lynette Cusack, Mayumi Kako, Paul Arbon

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)


    During the summer months in Australia, school leavers celebrate their end of school life at schoolies festivals around the nation. These events are typically described as a mass gathering as they are an organised event taking place within a defined space, attended by a large number of people. A project was undertaken to analyse the usefulness of Arbon's (2004) conceptual model of mass gatherings in order to develop a process to better understand the Adelaide Schoolies Festival. Method: Arbon's conceptual framework describes the inter-relationship between the psychosocial, environmental and bio-medical domains of a mass gathering. Each domain has set characteristics which help to understand the impact on the mass gathering event. The characteristics within three domains were collected using field work and bio-medical data to examine the relationship between injury and illness rates. Results: Using the conceptual framework to evaluate this schoolies event helped create an understanding of the physiology, environment and behaviour contributing to patient presentations. Results showed that the schoolies crowd was active and energetic, and the main crowd behaviour observed was dancing and socialising with friends. The environmental domain was characterised by a grassy outdoor venue that was bounded and dry. Due to the overall health of the crowd, activities undertaken and the supportive environment, the majority of injuries to schoolies were minor (68%). However, twenty-four percent of schoolies who presented with alcohol related illness were found to have consumed alcohol at risky levels; half of this cohort was transported to hospital.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)183-191
    Number of pages9
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


    • Conceptual framework
    • Mass gathering
    • Risky drinking
    • Schoolies


    Dive into the research topics of 'Piloting a mass gathering conceptual framework at an Adelaide Schoolies Festival'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this