By Luise Platt and Jane Ali-Knight
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, 2014; Lee and Arcodia, 2011; Derrett, 2004; Jago et al., 2003). Further, the role of event-led policy in shaping urban regeneration strategy making has also received widespread attention (Foley et al., 2012; Richards and Palmer, 2010; Smith, 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.