Adam 's cover image
Adam

Adam Hardcastle

Year of Award: 2017 Award State: South Australia Arts - Performing > Music
None > Community
To learn how music-oriented regional festivals can be authentic, community-inclusive and sustainable - UK
Download

Major Lessons and Conclusions
The diversity of Scottish festivals gives me some confidence that any reasonable event held in any locality necessarily absorbs some of the character of the locality and, in turn, adds to the character of the locality. Spin-off economic effects from looking after the visitors and performers who are accommodated, fed and perambulating locally can only be positive.

The inevitable local variation aside, some themes, lessons or dilemmas also emerged which were common across a number of, and perhaps all, of the festivals. My report identifies and discusses six such matters:

  • How is the festival managed? Based on my observations, three models emerged: successful festivals with a remunerated Director, successful festivals run by a community-based committee and successful festivals dependent on a key individual.
  • What is the role of volunteers? Each of the festivals depended, to varying degrees, on voluntary labour. It was striking to observe the number of festivals where dedicated volunteers return to perform the same role year after year.
  • How does the festival envisage its social/cultural relationship to its host community? Is a local festival to be conceived primarily as a celebration for the local community or is it designed primarily to attract outsiders? While these need not be mutually exclusive, my observations suggest that a generic event with little social connection to the community needs other factors in order for a community to fully support the festival.
  • Does a successful music-oriented festival need a headlining musical act? Festival organisers’ decisions on whether or not to feature a well-known headlining musical act stimulated a range of opinions across the range of stakeholders: organisers, performing musicians, local community members, and audience members.
  • Does the festival utilise existing infrastructure for venues or does it need a festival-specific site? The Scottish festivals varied in the extent to which they relied exclusively on existing facilities such as local halls or erected their own independent but temporary tents and stages. The latter required contingency planning to adjust for the difficult weather events which can occur in maritime Scotland (as indeed they can in my own Green Triangle region).
  • Is the festival actively pursuing long term sustainability through multigenerational engagement or an educational dimension? Cross-generational engagement in music festivals emerged as an unanticipated area of interest as I encountered inspirational examples. Some Scottish festivals seemed to have ingrained trans-generational strategies which have positive and long-term cultural implications for sustainability. This engagement, encouragement and education of younger people is not just integral to traditional and folk music and its associated festivals; there seems to be a pride or even obligation in Scotland in considering these things.

Keywords: Community music, music festivals, event management, regional development, regional tourism, regional Scotland

Related fellows
Louise Devenish, Louise
Arts - Performing > Music
2017
Lauren Manuel, Lauren
Arts - Performing > Music
2017
Netanela Mizrahi, Netanela
Arts - Performing > Music
2017
Brian Roche, Brian
None > Community
2017
Dean Stevenson, Dean
Arts - Performing > Music
2017
Toni Craig, Toni
None > Community
2016
Andrew Doyle, Andrew
Arts - Performing > Music
2016
Jessica Gethin, Jessica
Arts - Performing > Music
2016
Amanda Pagan, Amanda
None > Community
2016
Ben Tolliday, Ben
Arts - Performing > Music
2016