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Chapter 25 Some Reflections on the Future of Festival Practice in Europe

DOI: 10.23912/978-1-910158-15-9-2654

ISBN: 978-1-910158-15-9

Published: January 2015

Component type: chapter

Published in: Focus On Festivals

Parent DOI: 10.23912/978-1-910158-15-9-2599



After many years participating in meetings of festival directors, an interesting thing that can often be observed is that even after days of serious discussion one can be hard pushed to find a common denominator between them. An easy conclusion? Festivals differ from each other; even if they share the same artistic discipline or specialism within a discipline or sometimes even the same artists, the environments in which festivals operate are different so that they defy easy comparisons. From this perspective a primary benefit of meetings of festival organisers is that they may provide participants with a reality check which may validate their claims to uniqueness. This is not to suggest that such meetings are therefore of limited value for festival directors and other professionals. On the contrary, the more festivals have to fight for funding, the more they need objective legitimacy, and that legitimacy is often derived from dialogue between festival directors. This chapter will therefore focus on the legitimacy issue for those festivals that depend on taxpayers’ money and which are now faced with the prospect of diminishing support from public bodies, ministries, regional and local governments, less appreciation from taxpayers and more and more competition from alternative leisure-oriented goods and services. Already, many festivals which began during a period of stronger public support for arts and cultural activity are indicating that the earlier prestige associated with professional cultural products has diminished (the art for art’s sake paradigm). And that nowadays financial sustainability can only be achieved through a demonstration of the role that culture and in particular festivals can play in society (the instrumentation paradigm).

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  • Steve Austen (Author)

For the source title:

  • Chris Newbold, De Montfort University (Editor)
  • Christopher Maughan, Freelance writer (Editor)
  • Jennie Jordan, De Montfort University (Editor)
  • Franco Bianchini, Leeds Beckett University (Editor)

Cite as

Austen, 2015

Austen, S. (2015) "Chapter 25 Some Reflections on the Future of Festival Practice in Europe" In: Newbold, C., Maughan, C., Jordan, J. & Bianchini, F. (ed) . Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers http://dx.doi.org/10.23912/978-1-910158-15-9-2654


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Published in Focus On Festivals

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