Virtual Reality in Festivals: A Systematic Literature Review and Implications for Consumer Research

Daisy Lee, Peggy M.L. Ng, Tai Ming Wut


Technological advancements in virtual reality have influenced festivalgoers, performers, and festival organizers. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers of cultural and tourism festivals have sought to deliver festivals online using virtual reality to provide an immersive experience from home. However, despite growing interest in virtual reality for festivals, there is no current systematic review to synthesize knowledge from academic papers within the festival context. This paper aims to provide a structured understanding of extant virtual reality research regarding festivals by using a systematic literature review. After a comprehensive review of extant literature from major databases, 19 relevant articles were extracted and synthesized according to the types, venues, roles, and objectives of the virtual reality applications. This study is the first systematic literature review to examine the current landscape of consumer research on virtual reality in festivals. Our results show that the limited numbers of extant literature concerning virtual reality in festivals indicates that this is an important yet significantly under-researched topic for future research. Current literature on virtual reality in festival contexts also lacks an in-depth understanding of consumer engagement and experiences. This paper recommends incorporating the application of theory and robust consumer research methods into future virtual festival research.


Doi: 10.28991/ESJ-2022-06-05-016

Full Text: PDF


Festival; Virtual Reality; VR; Virtual Festival; Systematic Literature Review.


Cover, Robin. (2001). X3D Open Web3D Standard Now Available: Adoption by MPEG-4 Group, Cooperation With World Wide Web Consortium, and Open Source Implementation to Propel Commercial Adoption of Royalty-Free Standard. The XML Cover Pages. Available online: (accessed on May 2022).

Garza, F. (2015). With Google’s new immersive videos, you can feel what it’s like to be a ballet dancer. Quartz. Available online: (accessed on June 2022).

Etherington, D. (2015). Facebook to Support Spherical Video In News Feed And Oculus. TechCrunch. Available online: (accessed on May 2022).

Weiss, P. L., Rand, D., Katz, N., & Kizony, R. (2004). Video capture virtual reality as a flexible and effective rehabilitation tool. Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, 1(1), 1-12. doi:10.1186/1743-0003-1-12.

Sitthimongkolchai, N., Viriyavejakul, C., & Tuntiwongwanich, S. (2022). The BEE Model with Live Virtual Classroom to Enhancing Creative Works. Emerging Science Journal, 6, 108-122. doi:10.28991/ESJ-2022-SIED-08.

Mair, J., & Weber, K. (2019). Event and festival research: a review and research directions. International Journal of Event and Festival Management, 10(3), 209–216. doi:10.1108/IJEFM-10-2019-080.

Ochoa, J. (2020). Burning Man 2020 Canceled Due To Coronavirus Pandemic, Announces Virtual Festival. In The Recording Academy - GRAMMY Awards. Available online: (accessed on June 2022).

Dapoigny, M. (2021).Festivals Going Virtual: New Realms and Hurdles of VR and Digital Events. We Are Europe. Available online: (accessed on February 2022).

Kay, J. (2020).Hot Docs postpones festival amid coronavirus pandemic, plans virtual market. Screen Daily. Available online: (accessed on May 2022).

Clarke, C. (2020). You can attend this year’s Cannes, Sundance and Tribeca film festivals from your couch. CBS News. Available. Available online: (accessed on May 2022).

Smith, K. (2020). World’s first lockdown whisky festival announced. Scottish Field. Available. Available online: (accessed on May 2022).

Singh, R. P., Javaid, M., Kataria, R., Tyagi, M., Haleem, A., & Suman, R. (2020). Significant applications of virtual reality for COVID-19 pandemic. Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research & Reviews, 14(4), 661–664. doi:10.1016/j.dsx.2020.05.011.

Sarkady, D., Neuburger, L., & Egger, R. (2021). Virtual Reality as a Travel Substitution Tool during COVID-19. Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism, 452–463. Springer, Cham, Switzerland. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-65785-7_44.

Schiopu, A. F., Hornoiu, R. I., Padurean, M. A., & Nica, A. M. (2021). Virus tinged? Exploring the facets of virtual reality use in tourism as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Telematics and Informatics, 60, 101575. doi:10.1016/j.tele.2021.101575.

Siani, A., & Marley, S. A. (2021). Impact of the recreational use of virtual reality on physical and mental wellbeing during the Covid-19 lockdown. Health and Technology, 11(2), 425–435. doi:10.1007/s12553-021-00528-8.

Gao, Z., Lee, J. E., McDonough, D. J., & Albers, C. (2020). Virtual Reality Exercise as a Coping Strategy for Health and Wellness Promotion in Older Adults during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 9(6), 1986. doi:10.3390/jcm9061986.

Iwanaga, J., Loukas, M., Dumont, A. S., & Tubbs, R. S. (2021). A review of anatomy education during and after the COVID-19 pandemic: Revisiting traditional and modern methods to achieve future innovation. Clinical Anatomy, 34(1), 108–114. doi:10.1002/ca.23655.

Azar, A. S., & Tan, N. H. I. (2020). The application of ICT techs (mobile-assisted language learning, gamification, and virtual reality) in teaching English for secondary school students in Malaysia during covid-19 pandemic. Universal Journal of Educational Research, 8(11C), 55-63. doi:10.13189/ujer.2020.082307.

Jingen Liang, L., & Elliot, S. (2021). A systematic review of augmented reality tourism research: What is now and what is next? Tourism and Hospitality Research, 21(1), 15–30. doi:10.1177/1467358420941913.

Radianti, J., Majchrzak, T. A., Fromm, J., & Wohlgenannt, I. (2020). A systematic review of immersive virtual reality applications for higher education: Design elements, lessons learned, and research agenda. Computers & Education, 147, 103778. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2019.103778.

Hamilton, D., McKechnie, J., Edgerton, E., & Wilson, C. (2021). Immersive virtual reality as a pedagogical tool in education: a systematic literature review of quantitative learning outcomes and experimental design. Journal of Computers in Education, 8(1), 1–32. doi:10.1007/s40692-020-00169-2.

Parmaxi, A. (2020). Virtual reality in language learning: a systematic review and implications for research and practice. Interactive Learning Environments, 1–13. doi:10.1080/10494820.2020.1765392.

Cieślik, B., Mazurek, J., Rutkowski, S., Kiper, P., Turolla, A., & Szczepańska-Gieracha, J. (2020). Virtual reality in psychiatric disorders: A systematic review of reviews. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 52, 102480. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2020.102480.

Dermody, G., Whitehead, L., Wilson, G., & Glass, C. (2020). The role of virtual reality in improving health outcomes for community-dwelling older adults: Systematic review. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(6), 17331. doi:10.2196/17331.

Smith, V., Warty, R. R., Sursas, J. A., Payne, O., Nair, A., Krishnan, S., da Silva Costa, F., Wallace, E. M., & Vollenhoven, B. (2020). The Effectiveness of Virtual Reality in Managing Acute Pain and Anxiety for Medical Inpatients: Systematic Review. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(11), 17980. doi:10.2196/17980.

Guo, Z., Zhou, D., Zhou, Q., Zhang, X., Geng, J., Zeng, S., Lv, C., & Hao, A. (2020). Applications of virtual reality in maintenance during the industrial product lifecycle: A systematic review. Journal of Manufacturing Systems, 56, 525–538. doi:10.1016/j.jmsy.2020.07.007.

Zhang, Y., Liu, H., Kang, S. C., & Al-Hussein, M. (2020). Virtual reality applications for the built environment: Research trends and opportunities. Automation in Construction, 118, 103311. doi:10.1016/j.autcon.2020.103311.

Xi, N., & Hamari, J. (2021). Shopping in virtual reality: A literature review and future agenda. Journal of Business Research, 134, 37–58. doi:10.1016/j.jbusres.2021.04.075.

Riches, S., Azevedo, L., Bird, L., Pisani, S., & Valmaggia, L. (2021). Virtual reality relaxation for the general population: a systematic review. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 56(10), 1707–1727. doi:10.1007/s00127-021-02110-z.

Wen, J., & Gheisari, M. (2020). Using virtual reality to facilitate communication in the AEC domain: a systematic review. Construction Innovation, 20(3), 509–542. doi:10.1108/CI-11-2019-0122.

GoogleTrend. Interest over time (past 5 years). Available online: (accessed on June 2022).

Liberati, A., Altman, D. G., Tetzlaff, J., Mulrow, C., Gotzsche, P. C., Ioannidis, J. P. A., … Moher, D. (2009). The PRISMA statement for reporting systematic reviews and meta-analyses of studies that evaluate healthcare interventions: explanation and elaboration. BMJ, 339(jul21 1), b2700–b2700. doi:10.1136/bmj.b2700.

Moutinho, L., Ballantyne, R., & Rate, S. (2011). Futurecast applied to tourism. Strategic management in tourism, 20-32, Wallingford, United Kingdom. doi:10.1079/9781845935887.0020.

Page, R. L. (2000). Brief history of flight simulation. SimTecT 2000 proceedings, 11-17.

Carrozzino, M., & Bergamasco, M. (2010). Beyond virtual museums: Experiencing immersive virtual reality in real museums. Journal of Cultural Heritage, 11(4), 452–458. doi:10.1016/j.culher.2010.04.001.

Guttentag, D. A. (2010). Virtual reality: Applications and implications for tourism. Tourism Management, 31(5), 637–651. doi:10.1016/j.tourman.2009.07.003.

Ryan, M. L. (2015). Narrative as virtual reality 2: Revisiting immersion and interactivity in literature and electronic media. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, United States.

Witmer, B. G., & Singer, M. J. (1998). Measuring Presence in Virtual Environments: A Presence Questionnaire. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 7(3), 225–240. doi:10.1162/105474698565686.

Onoe, Y., Yamazawa, K., Takemura, H., & Yokoya, N. (1998). Telepresence by Real-Time View-Dependent Image Generation from Omnidirectional Video Streams. Computer Vision and Image Understanding, 71(2), 154–165. doi:10.1006/cviu.1998.0705.

Bruno, F., Bruno, S., De Sensi, G., Luchi, M. L., Mancuso, S., & Muzzupappa, M. (2010). From 3D reconstruction to virtual reality: A complete methodology for digital archaeological exhibition. Journal of Cultural Heritage, 11(1), 42–49. doi:10.1016/j.culher.2009.02.006.

Wu, H.-C., Ai, C.-H., & Cheng, C.-C. (2019). Virtual reality experiences, attachment and experiential outcomes in tourism. Tourism Review, 75(3), 481–495. doi:10.1108/tr-06-2019-0205.

Chan, M. A. (2018). Analysing Movement, the Body and Immersion in Virtual Reality. Refractory: a journal of entertainment media, 30, 1-15.

Szymkowiak, A., & Skubis, M. (2019). Why it is worth investigating virtual reality in the context of tourism. Przedsiębiorczość i Zarządzanie, 20(2), 437–450.

Steuer, J. (1992). Defining Virtual Reality: Dimensions Determining Telepresence. Journal of Communication, 42(4), 73–93. doi:10.1111/j.1460-2466.1992.tb00812.x.

Tussyadiah, I. P., Wang, D., Jung, T. H., & Tom Dieck, M. C. (2018). Virtual reality, presence, and attitude change: Empirical evidence from tourism. Tourism Management, 66, 140–154. doi:10.1016/j.tourman.2017.12.003.

Wei, W., Qi, R., & Zhang, L. (2019). Effects of virtual reality on theme park visitors’ experience and behaviors: A presence perspective. Tourism Management, 71, 282–293. doi:10.1016/j.tourman.2018.10.024.

Beck, J., Rainoldi, M., & Egger, R. (2019). Virtual reality in tourism: a state-of-the-art review. Tourism Review, 74(3), 586–612. doi:10.1108/TR-03-2017-0049.

Rupp, M. A., Odette, K. L., Kozachuk, J., Michaelis, J. R., Smither, J. A., & McConnell, D. S. (2019). Investigating learning outcomes and subjective experiences in 360-degree videos. Computers and Education, 128, 256–268. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2018.09.015.

Hudson, S., Matson-Barkat, S., Pallamin, N., & Jegou, G. (2019). With or without you? Interaction and immersion in a virtual reality experience. Journal of Business Research, 100, 459–468. doi:10.1016/j.jbusres.2018.10.062.

Van Kerrebroeck, H., Brengman, M., & Willems, K. (2017). Escaping the crowd: An experimental study on the impact of a Virtual Reality experience in a shopping mall. Computers in Human Behavior, 77, 437–450. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2017.07.019.

Bruno, F., Lagudi, A., Barbieri, L., Muzzupappa, M., Ritacco, G., Cozza, A., … Cario, G. (2016). Virtual and Augmented Reality Tools to Improve the Exploitation of Underwater Archaeological Sites by Diver and Non-diver Tourists. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 269–280, Springer, Cham, Switzerland. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-48496-9_22.

Choi, S. H., & Cheung, H. H. (2008). A versatile virtual prototyping system for rapid product development. Computers in Industry, 59(5), 477–488. doi:10.1016/j.compind.2007.12.003.

Horne, M., & Thompson, E. M. (2008). The Role of Virtual Reality in Built Environment Education. Journal for Education in the Built Environment, 3(1), 5–24. doi:10.11120/jebe.2008.03010005.

Huang, Y. C., Backman, S. J., Backman, K. F., & Moore, D. W. (2013). Exploring user acceptance of 3D virtual worlds in travel and tourism marketing. Tourism Management, 36, 490–501. doi:10.1016/j.tourman.2012.09.009.

Wan, C. S., Tsaur, S. H., Chiu, Y. L., & Chiou, W.-B. (2008). Is the Advertising Effect of Virtual Experience Always Better or Contingent on Different Travel Destinations? Information Technology & Tourism, 9(1), 45–54. doi:10.3727/109830507779637611.

Sofield, T. H. B., & Sivan, A. (2003). From cultural festival to international sport – the Hong Kong dragon boat races. Journal of Sport & Tourism, 8(1), 9–20. doi:10.1080/14775080306242.

Raz, G. (2019). Virtual Reality as an Emerging Art Medium and Its Immersive Affordances. The Palgrave Handbook of the Philosophy of Film and Motion Pictures, 995–1014, Springer, Cham, Switzerland. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-19601-1_42.

Trandafoiu, R. (2019). A Tale of Two (or #EverMore) Festivals: Electronic Music in a Transylvanian Town. Eastern European Popular Music in a Transnational Context, Palgrave European Film and Media Studies, 213–237, Springer, Cham, Switzerland. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-17034-9_11.

Pickering, C., Grignon, J., Steven, R., Guitart, D., & Byrne, J. (2015). Publishing not perishing: How research students transition from novice to knowledgeable using systematic quantitative literature reviews. Studies in Higher Education, 40(10), 1756–1769. doi:10.1080/03075079.2014.914907.

Law, R., Leung, D., & Cheung, C. (2012). A Systematic Review, Analysis, and Evaluation of Research Articles in the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly. Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, 53(4), 365–381. doi:10.1177/1938965512457458.

Pickering, C., & Byrne, J. (2014). The benefits of publishing systematic quantitative literature reviews for PhD candidates and other early-career researchers. Higher Education Research and Development, 33(3), 534–548. doi:10.1080/07294360.2013.841651.

Dixon-Woods, M., Bonas, S., Booth, A., Jones, D. R., Miller, T., Sutton, A. J., Shaw, R. L., Smith, J. A., & Young, B. (2006). How can systematic reviews incorporate qualitative research? A critical perspective. Qualitative Research, 6(1), 27–44. doi:10.1177/1468794106058867.

Buhalis, D., & Law, R. (2008). Progress in information technology and tourism management: 20 years on and 10 years after the Internet-The state of eTourism research. Tourism Management, 29(4), 609–623. doi:10.1016/j.tourman.2008.01.005.

Aghaei Chadegani, A., Salehi, H., Md Yunus, M. M., Farhadi, H., Fooladi, M., Farhadi, M., & Ale Ebrahim, N. (2013). A comparison between two main academic literature collections: Web of science and scopus databases. Asian Social Science, 9(5), 18–26. doi:10.5539/ass.v9n5p18.

Pan, Z., Liu, G., & Li, Z. (2007). Virtual presentation and animation of Qingming Festival by the riverside. 2nd Workshop on Digital Media and its Application in Museum & Heritages (DMAMH 2007), 102-105, 10-12 December 2007. doi:10.1109/DMAMH.2007.75.

Armstrong, K. (2021). Virtual Visibility and the Film Festival Circuit. Afterimage, 48(1), 10–18. doi:10.1525/aft.2021.48.1.10.

Dooley, K. (2019). Real and unreal things: virtual reality at the 2018 Adelaide Film Festival. Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media, (16), 132-137. doi: 10.33178/alpha.16.14

Klimek, C. (2018). From programmer to curator: How film festivals are pushing the boundaries of new media and expanded cinema. Canadian Journal of Film Studies, 27(1), 73–87. doi:10.3138/CJFS.27.1.2017-0016.

Baker, C. (2017). A Tradition of Evolution: The Vancouver Indigenous Media Arts Festival. BC Studies: The British Columbian Quarterly, (195), 151-154.

Nichols, B. (2016). IDFA: A festival of attractions. Film Quarterly, 69(4), 82–91. doi:10.1525/fq.2016.69.4.82.

Stevens, K. Virtual futures and cinematic pasts at the 65th Melbourne International Film Festival. NECSUS. European Journal of Media Studies, 5(2), 201–208.

Klein, J. (2011). Breathing, lying, sitting, standing, and walking Finland’s ANTI Festival. PAJ - Journal of Performance and Art, 33(2), 94–106. doi:10.1162/PAJJ_a_00043.

Gibb, A., Nicholson, S., & Thomas, G. (2017). Edinburgh Festival Explorer Demo. Adjunct Publication of the 2017 ACM International Conference on Interactive Experiences for TV and Online Video. doi:10.1145/3084289.3089911.

Dieck, M. C. T., Dieck, D. T., & Jung, T. (2021). Exploring Usability and Gratifications for Virtual Reality Applications At Festivals. Event Management, 25(6), 585–599. doi:10.3727/152599521X16106577965152.

Kersting, M., Steier, R., & Venville, G. (2021). Exploring participant engagement during an astrophysics virtual reality experience at a science festival. International Journal of Science Education, Part B, 11(1), 17–34. doi:10.1080/21548455.2020.1857458.

Syu, Y. S., Chen, L. O., & Tu, Y. F. (2018). A case study of digital preservation of motion capture for Bā Jiā Jiāng performance, Taiwan religious performing arts. Digital Heritage. Progress in Cultural Heritage: Documentation, Preservation, and Protection. EuroMed 2018, 11197, Springer, Cham, Switzerland. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-01765-1_12.

Li, L., Choi, W., Hachimura, K., Yano, K., Nishiura, T., & Tanaka, H. T. (2014). Virtual yamahoko parade experience system with vibration simulation. ITE Transactions on Media Technology and Applications, 2(3), 248–255. doi:10.3169/mta.2.248.

Kwiatek, K. (2012). How to preserve inspirational environments that once surrounded a poet? Immersive 360 video and the cultural memory of Charles Causley's poetry. In 2012 18th International Conference on Virtual Systems and Multimedia, IEEE. 243-250. doi:10.1109/VSMM.2012.6365931.

Polovina, S., Khatri, B. S., & Singh, S. (2000). Culture and Web3D: Experiences in Building a Virtual Beer Festival Site in 3DML. Proc. of British Computer Society HCI Cultural Issues in HCI Workshop, Putteridge Bury, England.

Wang, C.-P., & Tsai, C.-H. (2019). Application of virtual reality to the study of festival culture in aboriginal literature. Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Image and Graphics Processing-ICIGP’19. doi:10.1145/3313950.3313975.

Evans, M. K. (2019). “The Name Is Sherlock Holmes, and the Address Is 221B Baker Street”: Virtual Reality, Fan Communities, and Tourism. Journal of Popular Culture, 52(6), 1494–1511. doi:10.1111/jpcu.12870.

Robertson, M., Yeoman, I., Smith, K. A., & Mcmahon-Beattie, U. (2015). Technology, society, and visioning the future of music festivals. Event Management, 19(4), 567–587. doi:10.3727/152599515X14465748774001.

Robertson, M., & Yeoman, I. (2014). Signals and signposts of the future: Literary festival consumption in 2050. Tourism Recreation Research, 39(3), 321–342. doi:10.1080/02508281.2014.11087004.

Purwaningsih, M., Purwandari, B., Sunarso, F. P., & Setiadi, F. (2021). Harnessing e-collaboration for rural tourism recovery after covid-19: Dual analysis using SWOT and porter’s diamond model. Emerging Science Journal, 5(4), 559–575. doi:10.28991/esj-2021-01297.

Hyun, M. Y., & O’Keefe, R. M. (2012). Virtual destination image: Testing a telepresence model. Journal of Business Research, 65(1), 29–35. doi:10.1016/j.jbusres.2011.07.011.

BBC. (2020). How do I make 360 videos?. Academy Guides. Available online: (accessed on June 2022).

Full Text: PDF

DOI: 10.28991/ESJ-2022-06-05-016


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2022 Daisy Lee, Peggy M.L. Ng, Edmund Wut