Can festivals brand community cultural development and cultural tourism simultaneoulsy?

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Derrett, R 2000, 'Can festivals brand community cultural development and cultural tourism simultaneoulsy?', in J Allen, R Harris, LK Jago & AJ Veal (eds), Events beyond 2000 : setting the agenda : proceedings of conference on event evaluation, research and education, Sydney, 13-14 July. ISBN: 186365562X


This paper is concerned with research into the stakeholder positions that exist in destinations hosting community cultural festivals. The investigation explores the contribution of stakeholders in the survival of regional community cultural festivals. Each of four festivals fills an important role in its community’s annual portfolio of leisure activities. The case study festivals have been conducted for between 10 to 70 years. The paper discusses what community cultural festivals are and the roles they play in the lives of key stakeholders. The in-depth investigation increases our understanding of the experiences of individuals and groups engaged with community festivals. An examination of sustainability factors of each festival provides a better insight into its potential longevity. The nuances of stakeholder influences and relationships are exposed through a multiple perspective approach. Patterns and structures of stakeholder involvement are identified through interviews, participant observation and secondary data. Four descriptive case studies are provided of the Jacaranda Festival in Grafton, Beef Week in Casino, Byron Bay New Year’s Eve celebrations and Nimbin’s Mardi Grass. What emerges is that the longer established festival organizations, amongst the case study festivals, demonstrate survival through their consistent delivery of an event that encourages others to partner, share resources or invest in its management. In Byron Bay and Nimbin the fragile relationships between some groups can become a sticking point. Their festival organizations source required personnel and networks informally with individuals. Casino and Grafton have consistent support of the Council, a volunteer community committee, the media, individual residents and service clubs. The host communities of Casino and Grafton expect their festivals to survive because of the formal structures in place. This study showed the survival of regional community cultural festivals is dependent on such factors as communal memory, willingness to work collaboratively, organizational traditions and experience. Acceptance by the residents of the host community and buy-in by local and regional stakeholders enhances the potential for the festival to sustain itself and become accessible to visitors.