The assemblers of rural festivals: organizers, visitors and locals

Grzegorz Kwiatkowski*, Ove Oklevik, Anne-Mette Hjalager, Helene Maristuen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The study aims to show how festivals might impact rural areas and how perceptions of festival impacts on rural areas differ among key groups of festival assemblers (i.e. organizers, visitors, locals). By mobilizing the notion of placemaking, the study identifies six dominant rural festival spinoffs (i.e. attraction, consolidation, promotion, transformation, reinvention, revitalization), thereby increasing the conceptual understanding of the role and value of festivals in the rural context. By applying a combination of three samples, the study provides evidence concerning the perception of different festival effects on host places depending on the evaluation group. The results show that festivals are meaningful events that might be strategically used to sustain, create and reinvent rural assets. Furthermore, the study offers evidence that perceptions of festival spinoffs vary among groups of assemblers, whereas a direct association with festivals either by organization or participation strengthens a positive view of festival spinoffs. The results also demonstrate that festivals might be utilized by policy makers to empower local inhabitants, to promote rural assets and to perpetuate or reinvent somewhat forgotten rural traditions, habits and myths. The increased liveability of rural areas should in turn be used to counter rural decline and the outmigration of young people.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Planning Studies
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)255-272
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


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