Managing and Developing Communities, Festivals and Events

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Dugas and Schweitzer maintain that to develop a sense of community is hard work, long term, especially to build levels of connectedness, belonging and support. Cultures and communities can be thought of as inseparable as they constantly evolve together therefore a definition of a community festival should have reference to local cultures, including popular cultures. Inclusive culture provides a greater opportunity for the festival or event to include and recognise all ethnic groups within its boundaries. Taking these aspects into consideration this chapter defines a community festival as a; themed and inclusive community event or series of events which have been created as the result of an inclusive community planning process to celebrate the particular way of life of people and groups in the local community with emphasis on particular space and time.

This definition is one which promotes all stakeholder equality through the planning process and also helps to bring attention to preserving sensitive natural, cultural, or social environments and in particular community values. A Review of Literature surrounding community festivals The following section of the chapter will provide an overview of literature which investigates community festivals, which has grown rapidly over the last decade and a review of this literature takes place in the following section of this chapter.

It is however fair to say that many studies have laid claim to what festivals can do for local communities, and not what local communities can do for the festival and its programme of events.

Managing and Developing Communities, Festivals and Events

The majority of studies proclaim that festivals: can create or reinforce or challenge local or regional cultural identity Hall, ; Smith, ; Boyle, ; Davila, ; Waterman, ; De Bres and Davis, , boost local pride and enhance prestige and image, create a sense of place Avery, ; Derrett, , community Dugas and Schweitzer, or well-being Falassi, ; Adams and Goldbard, Adams and Goldbard give a similar perspective with regard to community well-being and tell us that people turn to their culture to self- define and mobilize; to assert their local values; and to present them to visitors in a positive sharing of values.

However it is thought a positive sharing of cultural values can only be achieved as a result of good festival organisation, communication and management. Derrett assimilates this position in her research into community festivals and their sense of place, in which she comments that if directed in the right way festivals can perform a very useful community service by enhancing both group and place identity, a perspective which is backed up by further festival research also agreeing with this perspective Boyle, ; Davila, ; Smith, Waterman, Derrett ibid continues to comment further that this sense of place should be celebrated through the festival as this is seen by visitors as an outward manifestation of community identity and a strong identifier of community and its people.

Jepson and Clarke argue this case further and maintain that community festivals and events too often manufacture historical context and culture to ensure a good fit with potential visitors especially if the programme of events is externally as well as internally facing. Community Festivals are susceptible to a system of cultural production which aims to make the festival product as widely appealing as possible and in doing so can change it to a more homogenous or commodified product which then disconnect from the local communities it set out to serve Saleh and Ryan, Community identity and moreover a sense of community though is a facet of local culture, and that culture is thought to be the blood that flows through society.

Wheatley and Kellner-Rogers for example see festivals as providing the heart to a community as their celebratory nature enables residents to experience freedom, and the ability to connect to the cultural values and indeed the society in which they live rather than seeing the fixed structure and rules surrounding the community.

Event Planning Process (Part 1) - Tompkins Festivals

Festivals also have the potential to enhance or improve a destinations development, and economic regeneration through maximising event marketing to both existing and prospective tourists Getz, , but with this potential there are problems. Connected to the improvement of the economic and social life of an area is prestige and image enhancement Avery , which is often achieved through civic boosterism marketing campaigns, which can have a big impact on a destination as a pull factor with a view to attracting festival visitors Brown, ; Waterman, ; Janiskee, ; and Hill, It could be further suggested that developing local infrastructures should become a major priority for the public sector and its communities especially if we are to create sustainable community festivals and events.

It can also be further concluded that research in community festivals has so far ignored how festivals can have an impact on society and social change, and also have a real impact on the quality of life Liburd and Derkzen, of those who live, work, learn and represent the local community of a place.

Sustainability is something that is being taken forward by the industry with standards such as BS and the International standard ISO being adopted and developed for mega events such as the Olympics London This becomes increasingly import if we bear in mind that the earth will be home to 8 billion people by International Energy Agency, A final and sobering though is that the aim of a capitalist economy is to ensure we all have the same standard of living, if we take the UK standard of living we would need three planet earths full of resources, and if we took an American standard of living we would need five planet earths.

A major issue to developing sustainable community events is that there needs to be a paradigm shift from just compliance to consciousness. Developing local community event infrastructures would greatly lower the carbon footprint and perhaps achieve what is currently just a concept of a sustainable festival.

Community festivals and events tend to stay small scale until the organisers of the events begin to see them as a commodity from which economic benefits can be sought, and thus the tourism perspective is reached Chacko and Schaffer, ; Getz and Frisby, ; Mules and Faulkner, After this stage popular events could then be integrated into tourism development and marketing strategies Getz, ; Mehmetoglu, ; Mules and Faulkner, Zukin commenting on his second stage of festival development, refers to the above as processes beyond commodification that act upon the festival, which could include consolidation of social control, with resistance to that control or demonstrations of community solidarity.

It has already been identified that there is huge diversity in festivals in whether they are national, international, regional or local, and that research so far has supported them as tourist attractions even though they may not start out as such.

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Allen et al, ; Getz, , , Festivals can also be viewed as demonstrations of community power Marston, ; Rinaldo, , for example political hegemony could be exercised over less powerful ethnic groups by supplying the vast majority with nationalised celebrations to deflect attention away from these minority groups and their real issues. Jarvis comments that historically festivals were produced for political purposes or used as a mechanism of social control Burke, ; Ekman, ; Jarvis, ; Rydell, , for instance it could help to provide a voice platform for those in marginalised or minority groups to speak out on issues and challenge the views of the established order.

The majority of academics have positioned their research on how festivals evolve and become successful Frisby and Getz, ; Getz and Frisby, ; Walle, ; Sofield and Li, ; Sofield and Sivan, ; Richards and Ryan, ; Quinn, Lade and Jackson for example tried to identify key success factors for festivals and concluded that festivals need to build on solid foundations, utilise a marketing orientation strategy, and have rules for local community engagement.

A summary of the success factors identified through academic literature for local community festivals can be seen in table 1. Table 1. Jeong and Santos, ; Lade and Jackson, Rules of inclusion for local community? Lade and Jackson, Community well being achieved? This has led to an identification of stakeholder roles and responsibilities Reid and Arcodia, ; Getz, Andersson, and Larson, , and also to an analysis of management Andersson and Getz, and more profoundly why festivals could actually fail to deliver on their overarching aims, objectives, or promises to the local community Getz, Clarke and Jepson took this one stage further by exploring the festival planning process through relationships of power and hegemonic control which manipulated the decisions of key stakeholders within a community festival.

This study was unique as it is thought to be the first to be able to track decisions made during the planning process though to the consumption stages of a community festival. From this section it can be seen that in defining community festivals and events many positive benefits have been discussed as a result of staging festivals, although it is important to recognise that these positive aspects are rarely challenged as they can influence priorities for public sector expenditure. This then sets another precedent for event management research to embrace longitudinal research methodologies in order to fully understand the impact of community festivals and events.

Creating a Research Agenda for Community Festivals The final section of this chapter will focus on six emergent themes and provide a research agenda in order to better understand community festivals and the impact they have within our communities. Community festivals can be analysed from a variety of different research methodologies and contain huge diversity, using a mix of research methods to trap data through all the community festivals development stages; planning, delivery, and consumption.

This further justifies the use of flexible research methodologies which can adapt to the festivals unique stages of development.

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The majority of festival research has yielded positive perspectives and stated that local communities can foster or build community pride Wood, , prestige or create image enhancement. It could be argued that building or boosting local pride should be a feature at every stage of the community festival from consultation and planning through to representation of the community at the festival and consumption of community culture within the festival.


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What this means is that the community and its location should be represented and promoted and not just the festival and its programme of events. Further studies suggest that festivals can provide members of a community with the means of escapism Jago, and facilitate the exchange of information, goods and services within communities Ryan, Decision Making; Planning, Production, and Power The first major research theme is concerned with analysing the planning and production processes that are employed within a community festivals development.

This is an area which is often overlooked but it is the planning process itself and the resulting decisions which dramatically shape the festival and its evolution within the local community. Behind every festival and event decision making process lies the existence of a multitude of stakeholder relationships all of these relationships are connected through different cultures but all are influenced by power.

Church and Coles argued that power and tourism cannot be separated as a result of the often complex decision processes and therefore research should engage with power discourses locally, regionally, nationally or internationally. It could be argued that the role of power in events and the decision making process is even more important within an events context as it is often a small team of people within the public sector making decisions on behalf of local people. One key question when investigating the event decision making process is where the power actually comes from, Church and Coles argue that power does not simply exist but must be created through the relationships between stakeholders, an example of what Wallerstein referred to as the 'Civilising process' as this is where stakeholders align themselves within particular power structures.

Researchers can also explore the way in which this power or hegemony is enacted; power can be seen in the constant surveillance of decision making or what Foucault described as 'Disciplinary Power'.

Power can also be achieved by restricting stakeholder knowledge, both in terms of the organisations who perhaps contribute financially to the festivals, and the local communities themselves. As long as discipline is retained due to any number or all of the factors described above then there will be very limited resistance to power which in a wider context means that those with power and hierarchical control can assume complete control over the direction of the festival and its events.

Therefore power has direct impacts over decision making processes within a local community festival and could produce a non-inclusive community festival , where stakeholders including local communities feel unable to challenge the established order of the planning process, which means that community opinion may not be represented, local cultural identity is defined by the dominant social groupings, little or no democracy exists within the festival planning process because of the dominance of those with power over decisions, and there is very little space to organise resistance to challenge decisions made on behalf of the local communities.

This demonstrates that local community festivals can only achieve cultural diversity and inclusion in where the local community is invited, heard and empowered within the festival planning process. A community Festival Case Study: The Derby Jubilee Festival This case study forms part of a much wider Doctoral study Jepson, and draws primarily on research by Clarke and Jepson which explores the cultural relationships and planning processes which exist within local community festivals and events. It was a heritage market town which developed through engineering within the railway, and aero engineering sectors.

A community wide festival was planned for the whole of the city. Similarly, the non-white populations forming around 10 per cent of the total include significant numbers of Asian or British Asians who can trace routes to Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and other Asian communities.

The joy of the UK census allows for some but not enough community identifiers, as can be seen with the idea of the Black or Black British communities, which includes African, Caribbean and other Black categories. The festival was originally created to fill the void in a lack of any citywide festival or community event since the mid-nineties.

The festival also offered an opportunity to promote local businesses in the City through which the festival captured the majority of its sponsorship. The team of four mentioned previously were therefore in charge of a community festival with no prior experience of staging cultural events and no heritage with which to base their festival around.

So whilst the festival objectives listed above speak of openness and inclusion, there was a lack of know-how in achieving these goals for the benefit of the local community.


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  8. Another vital point was the lack of ways and expertise in which to measure and evaluate the success of the festival objectives. A multi- methodological approach to data capture and analysis of the festival through techniques mentioned in previous sections of this chapter captured the existence of a multitude of stakeholder relationships all of which were connected through different cultures, and all were influenced in some way by power. It was these very relationships and the lack of them that influenced how the Jubilee Festival was constructed, delivered, and consumed.

    This festival further highlighted Church and Coles position that power does not exist but must be created, and it demonstrated that one of the major factors within this was the location and space where power was being defined, which may be more important if it is within a politically charged site such as the City council chambers.

    It also reinforces that once established power within the creation of community events, a defined group of people will obey a chain of command, especially if power is linked to authority Weber, Power was also achieved by organisers through restricting knowledge or 'Disciplinary Power' Foucault, about the festival and its events. For example invitations were sent out to local communities in English language only to attend a one off meeting about the festival and its proposed programme of events, this was followed by not inviting local community groups to planning forums. In terms of the impact in the community, this accelerated the distrust for the city government, and led to almost all of the local community cultural groups ignoring the invitation to meet and discuss the proposed festival.

    What this tells us is that the organisers also failed to understand and use a definition of Inclusive culture preferring instead to view culture as a process of intellectual development. Community values and valuing the community There is a great need for policy makers, politicians and the local public sector to understand the community values associated with wards in their community.

    Over the last decade festival planners whether full time or occasional have tended to adopt a generic approach to understanding the communities for whom they will stage festivals. And in doing so have created community events which do not live up to local expectations in favour of following a political agenda linked to tourism marketing or urban regeneration.

    There is then a need to understand, measure, and create a framework to categorise community values in order to understand the types of events which should become a feature of a community festival or event. The public sector has a duty to preserve and protect local cultural traditions and sustain them for future generations. There are large gaps within event research as to how local cultural traditions are presented within a structured programme of events or festivals, and if local traditions are presented, how these cultures engage with a more modern and globalised world to ensure they are preserved and passed down through the local community.

    Community culture and its representation has not yet been fully explored within academic studies, it could for example be examined at all stages of a festival planning process to explore its evolution or how it may change or become commodified to ensure it fits within the festival theme or programme of events. Creating Inclusive Cultural Festivals Another future research direction is the need to explore much deeper the development of practical guidelines for monitoring best practise and community inclusion and within the festival planning process.

    Researching practical guidelines for organisers to implement to monitor the planning process of local cultural events should ensure that equality and democracy become end products of the planning process along with the inclusion of community voice. This research has established that there is a clear need to research and understand multi-cultural or ethnic minority cultural motivations if local cultural events are to realise the potential they have to become fully inclusive.

    The comprehensive definition put forward in the first section of this chapter should be tested within localities staging festivals and events to examine the role of local communities within the planning and production process and in particular the role local communities play in making decisions affecting their festival.

    Association Of Irish Festivals & Events - Aoife Online

    Research should be focused on how to engage local communities within the planning process and ensure they have a voice throughout the festivals key development stages. Without the creation of inclusive festivals then cultural diversity will not be a positive feature of the festival, therefore research on audience profiling should also form part of the future research agenda in local community festivals. A final area of enquiry could then be the role of marketing within community festivals, and an investigation as to whether inclusive marketing becomes a feature of an inclusive festival or vice versa.

    To achieve success within the future research arena of community festivals and events flexible and unique research methodologies need to employed as they are more likely to capture data on a multi-cultural and multi-faceted event such as a community festival.

    Using a variety of research methods and data collection techniques will allow data capture which is easily applied to each stage of the festivals construction. It is often the case that the cultural relationships within community festivals manipulate and shape decisions within the planning process, which is why inclusion of the local community is so important. Discussion Questions 1. Event Management, 8: 49— Allen, J. Event Management, 8: — Andersson, T. Resource dependency, costs and revenues of a street festival.

    Tourism Economics, 13 1 , — Arcodia, C. A taxonomy of event management terms. Allen, R.