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The Global Industry Of Festivals And Events Tourism Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Tourism
Wordcount: 3146 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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A global industry of festivals and events has grown and expanded since the 90’s. Nowadays, festivals are recognized as one of the top growing types of leisure- and tourism – related phenomena (Dimmock and Tiyce, 2001). As Mintel International Group (2006) suggests, festivals are forecasted to grow a total of 106% in the next five years period. South Australian Tourism Commission (1997, p. 2) suggests an easily understandable meaning of festival :”Festivals are celebrations of something the local community wishes to share and which involves the public as participants in the experience. Festivals must have as a prime objective a maximum amount of people participation, which must be an experience that is different from, or broader than day to day living.” Festivals, and more specifically, music Festival Organizations are increasing in number every year worldwide. According to Frey (1994), the provision of music festivals has developed based on a stable increase in disposable incomes, accompanied by an increased amount of time offered for holidays. Furthermore, another feature that makes music Festivals so popular, is the fact that music Festivals form events which include a variety of activities associated with the music (Bowen and Daniels, 2005), unlike concerts which provide mainly live music performances, rather than various event attractions. One of the most popular music Festivals in Greece for the last six years is the Synch Festival. The Synch Festival was born in 2004 at Lavrio Technological & Cultural Park, an ex industrial area of unique beauty, aimed at bringing the Greek and international audience, in touch with contemporary sounds and images. Music, arts and new technologies coexist in a two day festival. Keeping the pace with modernity Synch offers its audience the possibility to meet with some of the most interesting aspects of global culture. Synch”s main course is music but despite its focus on the various aspects of the contemporary electronic scene Synch denies all kinds of borders and separations that lead to limiting or rigidifying musical expression. The musicians participating in the festival originate from different backgrounds and currents to share their ideas discouraging easy categorization creating musical hybrids that constantly evolve.

An uncommonly open-minded curatorial sensibility, tapping everything from experiemental microsound to minimal house and banging techno to local outfits using rock, jazz, regional music and electronic elements.” – The Wire

“It’s got the perfect balance of industrial setting, a diverse multimedia programm, cutting edge electronic acts and classic live acts. One to watch!” – Time Out London

Falassi (1987) argues that the collective role of a festival is directly connected to values that a community looks upon as vital to its ideology, such as social identity, historical continuity, and physical survival. Additionally, according to Arcodia and Robb (2000), a festival develops around the marking of unique occasions and around the festivity of important events. Thus, according to Usyal, Gahan and Martin (1993) a festival may be considered as the cultural resources of an area that make realizable the successful hosting of festival attendees. “The phenomenal growth, coupled with increased consumer awareness and choice, requires the industry to manage the sector effectively and efficiently to ensure sustained development and growth in the future” (Yeoman, Robertson, Ali-knight , 2004, p. xix). Therefore, according to Arcodia and Whitford (2010) festivals are expanding worldwide as an increasing and lively sector of the tourism and leisure industry, which have major economic, socio-cultural, and political impacts on the destination and on the host groups, if managed properly.

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All the way through history, festivals have taken the forms of cultural traditions or have marked religious or historical occasions linked to the community staging the festival (Arcodia & Robb, 2000). According to Earls (1993) historically, the way festivals celebrated special occasions was through art, ritual, and festivity; they were seen as public meetings that make people’s joint wishes and dreams reality and offer a significant event for a unique experience in their lives. The basic origins of this type of communal celebration which has cultural importance to the host population (Pardy, 1991), can be traced back to the carnival of Europe. ( Arcodia, Whitford, 2010) “The defining characteristic of a special event or festival is its transience” (Gilbert and Lizotte , 1998, pp. 73). This suggests that it would be difficult to encourage and maintain the same sense of occasion and enthusiasm, if such an event was to be held more often. Goldblatt (1997) defines a festival as “a special event that recognizes a unique moment in time with ceremony and ritual to satisfy specific needs”(Goldblatt, 1997, pp.33).According to Yeoman et al. (2004) the word festival derives from feast and means a time of celebration.

Yeoman, et al. (2004) argue that the features of festivals and events are unique, thus no common model of management fits them all. “These characteristics include intangibility , production, often taking place at the same time as consumption, and perishability” (Yeoman et al., 2004, pp.xx). Festivals and events have diverse levels of operating costs and they fall into both the not- for -profit and profit- making categories. They can range from small-scale , locally based events, to large international festivals (Yeoman, et al, 2004). Previous studies on festival motivation(Uysal et al,1996, Nicholson and Pearce, 2001, Crompton and McKay, 1997) jointly demonstrate that the type of the festival is a significant predictor of motives. As a result, further exploration on various types of festivals should be conducted, in order to improve our understanding of the relationship between the kind of the festival and the visitor motives. A significant characteristic of a festival is the sense of community, belonging and celebration engendered by an event, which is a communal and free social meeting including a variety of media such as arts, performances and shows (Goldblatt, 1997). Cultural consumption is an intangible pleasure-seeking experience. The consumer experience in cultural products appears to have as its main elements the multisensorial, fantastic and emotional aspects of any consumer experience (Bourdeau, Paradis and Nyeck, 1997; Bourdeau, Decoster, Paradis; Hirschman and Holbrook, 1982). In other words, it can be perceived as a self-gratifying consumer experience with an experiential perspective (Hirschman and Holbrook, 1982). The intangible characteristics of attendance at a cultural festival make the event a consumer facility. According to Bourdeau et al.( ) more generally, it is a hedonistic experience in which consumers use their senses. “It is only after this hedonistic experience, when they leave the festival site, that they develop feelings of satisfaction or dissatisfaction” ( pp.1, in Bourdaeu, De coster Paradis,2001). Managers of a cultural scheme must supply an intangible, hedonistic experience but one that includes not only the basic service but peripheral services as well (Eiglier and Langeard, 1987). The basic service is the principal reason for attending. In the case of a music festival, it is the content of the event – the live shows. Peripheral services are those surrounding the event such as festival information services. The intangible, hedonistic nature of a festival visit makes it difficult for managers to determine satisfaction levels among consumers. Swan and Combs (1976) have demonstrated empirically that when performance does not meet the consumer’s expectations, dissatisfaction results, and when performance does meet expectations, satisfaction results. Generally, the variance between expectations and performance correlates positively with feelings of satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Howard (1977, p. 57) defines satisfaction, from an expectancy theory perspective, as “the consumer’s mental state of being adequately or inadequately rewarded for the sacrifice he or she has undergone”. The degree of adequacy results from comparing actual past experience with the reward that was expected from the brand in terms of its potential to satisfy motives served by its product class.”} (Bourdeau, De Coster, Paradis, 2001) terasties allages One of the original service quality theories is that customers are satisfied when their judgment of the service they have received (perception) equals or exceeds what they expected: Customer Satisfaction (CS)= Perceptions(P) =Expectations. This is known as the gap analysis theory (Zeithalm et al., 1990) or Oliver’s expectancy disconfirmation(Oliver, 1997). Zeithaml et al. considered that the factors that influence customer’s formulation of their expectations are word of mouth , personal needs, external communications, and past experience. Johnson and Mathews (1997) noted that the expectations of a frequent user of a facility would rely more on the influence of past experiences than other sources of information(eg. Advertisements). Researchers have no way of knowing what a first-time user’s expectations are based upon. Dale (1994a) suggests that world class experiences are used to formulate expectations. Parasuraman et al. (1988) tried to set customer expectations in context by suggesting that they are what an organization should offer. (Williams and Buswell, , pp.63-64)

(table , pp. 67)


The success of a festival is heavily dependent on the implementation of a strategic marketing plan; an understanding of the relationship between a destination event and its visitors and the identification of target markets are critical factors in the process (Thomson and Schoefield, 2009). Festival organizers are likely to contend that their primary goal is to provide high quality, satisfying experiences that visitors perceive to be good value in order to increase the probability that the visitors will return in the future and/or recommend the festival to others in their social circle (Lee, Petrick and Crompton, 2007). Since competition among festivals and destinations is increasing, the need for information on festivals,

specifically analysis of motivations for attending festivals and events

(Getz, 1993), has become crucial. Actual attendance itself may be attributed to multiple motives or just a single motive.

In order for the event organizers to manage to deliver a great experience, the event product definition is a vital step. The event product is a unique blend of activities, which are the tools for achieving the overall event aims and satisfying customer needs. Event design should be customer orientated , and event organizers should create a mix that satisfies the largest number of potential customers na to allaksw ( Salem, Jones, Morgan, 2004, in Yeoman). Getz in 1997 pointed out the importance of the definition of the event product , by arguing that (oxi quote na to allaksw) “many events suffer from a product orientation – that is , they try to sell their event with little or no regard for what potential customers need , want, and will pay for”. Hall in 1992 identifies three important objectives of event marketing: (oxi quotes, na to allaksw) “read their customer needs and motivations , develop products that meet these needs, and build a communication program which express the event’s purpose and objectives”. Individuals, participating as audience at a festival or special event wish to satisfy their curiosity about place and people. Often they want to do what locals do and hope the festival experience will give them entrée to the ways of life of a particular place(Yeoman, 2004,pp.38). Participants wish to emerge from the event with experiences and stories to talk about back home. These people want to avoid unsafe situations , discomfort, doubts, worries, embarrassment, making too many complex decisions , or being treated as computer number and being made to feel a nuisance. It is a marketing truism that people do not buy products or services , they buy the expectation of benefits that satisfy a need. (oli I paragrafos Yeoman, Robertson, Ali-Knight, 2004) gi’auto na to allaksw)

No matter what the reason is for hosting a festival or event , there is a wide range of customers , each with different expectations , and this will impact on the management processes considered for each individual festival or event. (Yeoman, et al.,2004, pp. xx) According to Grainger-Jones (1999, p.53)” leisure is defined as the application of disposable time to an activity which is perceived by the individual as either beneficial or enjoyable”. Motivations are a hypothetical construct to define the driving forces of human behavior (Kroeber et al, 2003) and explain why people do what they do instead of choosing an alternative option. . The personal motivational drives of individuals are filtered and redirected by the social circles of workmates, family and friends (Burch, 1969). Therefore, the motives to attend a festival could vary from entertainment, socialization or excitement, to escape , or even relaxation .

Needless to say, event organizers might have misconception of their customers’ motivation. Wicks and Fesenmaier (1993) examined the perceptual gap on customer expectations between visitor and vendors,

identifying those areas of the event that need improvement. The same analogy also has applicability to the identification of the motivation gap that may exist between attendees and festival and event providers. {As Fodness (1994) points out, the motivation represents the major driving power in explaining human behavior, although it is not the exclusive factor.}(fODNESS, 1994)na to allaksw. Lee and Lee (2001) concluded that segmenting festival markets through motivations enables event managers to identify the strengths and opportunities of each market

and helps guarantee their satisfaction. In most situations where festival visitors are heterogeneous, segmenting these visitor groups and understanding their characteristics based on festival motivations will be a powerful marketing tool, that enables event managers to enhance

and promote event features preferred and valued by target segments (Formica & Uysal, 1996, 1998).

Crompton and McKay (1997) contend that event managers should strive to better understand the motives of festival attendance in order to design better products and services for them and because motives are a precursor of satisfaction and a factor in decision making, this in turn can lead to greater attendance. Crompton and McKay (1997) studied visitor

motivation within the festival content for the following

reasons: (1) it allows matching the festival’s program to

visitors’ needs; (2) it helps safeguard visitor satisfaction by

increasing the chance of meeting the visitors’ diverse needs;

and (3) it warrants repeat visitation, which is essential for

the viability of the festival. Oakes( 2003) further contends that information regarding motivations can also be used to lure sponsors who are key to event funding. Schoefield and Thomson (2007) also agree It is critically important to identify festival visitor motivations and to measure the performance of festivals from the consumer perspective. They suggest that from a planning and management perspective it is vital to determine visitor satisfaction and behavioral intention with respect to repeat visits and to help identify the factors which affect visitor motivation and their experiential outcomes. (apo Gelder, Robinson, 2009,) Bowen and Daniels (2005) state that understanding why people go to music festivals can help planners align their marketing efforts to emphasize the attributes that best reflect the mission and goals of each event . Nicholson and Pearce (2001) believe that these factors will become increasingly important as the growing number and diversity of events, especially festivals, lead to heightened competition , in particular when events are initiated or expanded to encourage tourism and thus boost local economies (Daniels, 2004). Apo Glastonbury pdf Getz (1993) also emphasized the importance of analyzing visitors’ motives for attending festivals and

events. Identifying such motivations is a prerequisite for planning event programs effectively and marketing them to visitors (Crompton & McKay, 1997). Analysis of festival motivations also helps event managers to better position their festivals (Scott, 1996).


By understanding what drives and motivates participation, the festival management could probably gain better insight into a strategy to maintain attendees and to drew new ones to the festival (Van Zyl, 2006). The primary aim of the present research is therefore to fill the gap in previous research by determining what motivational factors push and pull visitors to attend the Synch Festival, held in Athens, Greece, and participate in it, and what are their expectations. Comparisons will also be made with the point of view of the manager of the organizing company. By understanding attendee’s motivations you can give the opportunity to the event organizers to tailor promotions and develop desired services.

The research objectives are :

To explore and review the literature relevant to the motivation and expectations of people attending leisure events, with particular emphasis on music festivals.

To investigate what motivates people to attend the Synch Festival and their expectations of the event.

To explore and review the ways in which the Synch Festival is managed and organized, and in particular , the degree to which (if at all) customer expectation and motivation is considered.

To report the findings of my research and, where appropriate, make recommendations and suggestions to the event organizers , as well as fill the literature gap as far as the exploration of festival motivations at a national level, is concerned.

To achieve this, the article is structured as follows: the literature review is followed by a description of the method of research, then a discussion of the results, a discussion of the findings and their implications and,

finally, concluding remarks.


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