From ephemeral events to multiple legacies; an international comparison of festival demarcations and management approaches
Event Management , Volume 24 - Issue 5 p. 579- 596
Festivals have come to play an important role in tourism, and managing their legacy has become an important challenge for governments and the events industry. Festivals typically take place over limited periods of time, but they also bring longer lasting legacies for the economy, local communities and the environment. Festival legacies are characterized by interpretive flexibility; they are interpreted differently by various actors. This complicates attempts to adapt the management of festivals in such a way that aspired legacies are realised and unwanted (negative) legacies minimised. This paper elicits the recursive relationship between the ways in which event legacies are socially constructed, and how events are managed. Building on constructivist approaches to governance and management, and drawing on the empirical variety of six cultural festivals in different parts of Europe, this contribution shows how event legacy can be unpacked along actors’ diverse cognitive, social, temporal and spatial demarcations, and how these understandings relate to particular repertoires of management and governance. Highlighting how event legacies are pursued through combinations of control-oriented project management and more broadly scoped process management approaches, the study concludes with strategic reflections on the possibilities for elevating ephemeral events into vehicles for social change.