Grassroots fringe festivals add innovation and authenticity to major events.

By Andrew Mason and Rebecca Scollen[1]

Festivals are traditionally community events, expressions local culture celebrating a successful harvest or aspects of a region and its people. Festivals are powerful engines of place-making.  As major events, modern festivals are promoted widely and make potent contributions to place branding, tourism and place identity. As such, large festivals must be professionally managed to ensure success and minimise risks.  In managing such large events there is a possibility that local authenticity can be lost if festival organisers apply a dominant ‘top-down’ approach. The top-down event management can create a same-ness amongst festivals, diluting the brand and limiting local participation and engagement.  This tension between professionally managing a major event, such as a festival, and the desirable authenticity of bottom-up community involvement can be managed with the inclusion of fringe-festivals.  Fringe festivals allow for experimentation and innovation, which are necessary for the long term sustainability of a major festival. With experimentation comes risk, but by allowing experimentation in the form of a fringe festival the risk is managed and largely mitigated. Fringe festivals can also allow bottom-up community involvement, reflecting wider aspects of the local community and adding authenticity and diversity to the festival proper.

Andrew MasonRebecca Scollen, (2018) “Grassroots festival keeps city alive during severe drought”, Journal of Place Management and Development, Vol. 11 Issue: 3, pp.266-276, https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMD-06-2017-0059

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JPMD Editorial: Grassroots festivals and place making

By Usien – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28526546

By Luise Platt and Jane Ali-Knight

Introduction

The papers in this special issue are another valuable contribution to the examination of festivals and events beyond their economic and business application and benefits. The issue further explores the close link festivals have with the communities that support and engage with them and further emphasize the value and importance of the places where they are delivered. This sense of place and community involvement is a key driver in critical event studies (Lamond and Platt, 2016). The role that events and festivals (from sporting mega-events to annual arts festivals) play in place branding has been well documented (Herstein and Berger, 2014Lee and Arcodia, 2011Derrett, 2004Jago et al., 2003). Further, the role of event-led policy in shaping urban regeneration strategy making has also received widespread attention (Foley et al., 2012Richards and Palmer, 2010Smith, 2012). However, as Richards (2017) suggests, we are seeing a shift in the understanding of the value of events from a branding function to a more holistic placemaking function. Indeed, de Brito and Richards (2017) acknowledge the tensions between bottom-up placemaking process that originates in communities and, more top-down, state-led interventions using major events.

Louise PlattJane Ali-Knight, (2018) “Guest editorial”, Journal of Place Management and Development, Vol. 11 Issue: 3, pp.262-265, https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMD-08-2018-131

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DARWIN SHREWSBURY – Personality Association and Place Branding

DARWIN Festival Shrewsburyby Prof. Gary Warnaby,

Recently I gave a public lecture as part of the DARWIN SHREWSBURY Festival, celebrating Charles Darwin, the author of On the Origin of Species, in which he introduced the theory of natural selection, whereby populations evolve over the course of generations. Published in 1859, this book, considered to be a foundation of evolutionary biology, has been voted the most influential academic book in history.

So what is the connection to the town of Shrewsbury, the county town of Shropshire, in western England? Shrewsbury was Darwin’s birthplace, and he spent his formative years there. The DARWIN SHREWSBURY Festival (see http://www.originalshrewsbury.co.uk/darwin-shrewsbury-festival ) is a two and a half week programme of events celebrating the town’s link to Darwin, aimed at ‘celebrating Shrewsbury as the origin of independent thinking’.  Shamelessly drawing on as many analogies from Darwin’s work as I could manage, my lecture was on ‘The Evolution of Place Branding’.  Humour aside, the fact that this festival was taking place raises some very interesting questions about how places can use associations with their famous sons and daughters for the purposes of marketing and branding. Continue reading “DARWIN SHREWSBURY – Personality Association and Place Branding”

Call for Papers – Grassroots Festivals and Place Making

 

 

The Journal of Place Management and Development (JPMD) is pleased to invite papers for a special issue on “Grassroots festivals and place-making” to be published Winter 2018/2019.

Guest Editors Dr Louise Platt (Manchester Metropolitan University) and Dr Jane Ali-Knight (Edinburgh Napier University).

Overview of the Theme Continue reading “Call for Papers – Grassroots Festivals and Place Making”

Meet the IPM: Interview with Louise Platt

Louise PlattLouise Platt, member of the Institute of Place Management, leads on the MA International Cultural Arts and Festival Management programme at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her main teaching revolves around arts and cultural management, urban regeneration and cultural policy, events and festivity in communities, and she supports research students in related areas at MA and PhD level. Her own PhD was an examination of the performance of identities during the Liverpool 2008 Capital of Culture year. She have since focused on work related to identity and leisure practice from dog walking to knitting. Her current research is an examination of the Manchester and Salford Whit Walks as markers of identities in evolving urban spaces, particularly examining the post-secular city, working class communities and shifts in community identities. Louise is on the executive committee of the Leisure Studies Association. Continue reading “Meet the IPM: Interview with Louise Platt”