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Community festivals and events - Their role in raising awareness, generating pride and fostering a sense of belonging within socially isolated areas

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  1. Introduction.
  2. The development of community events.
  3. The role of community events in enhancing civic pride.
  4. Community festivals foster a sense of belonging.
  5. The effectiveness of community festivals in raising awareness.
  6. Sustaining the impacts of a community event.
  7. Conclusion.
  8. References.

Phillip Kotler's traditional definition of a product (1997) includes anything that can be offered to a market that might satisfy a demand. This large definition embraces goods, services, retail stores, persons, ideas and also places. Place marketing usually concerns countries, regions and big cities. But increasingly, socially isolated areas use place marketing as well. For these towns festivals are probably the most powerful tool to exploit in order to market their place. Thus, the number of local or community events has increased rapidly over the last twenty years in the US and Europe. Janiskee (1996, p. 404 cited in Allen et al. 2005) defines community events as ?family-fun events that are considered ?owned' by a community because they use volunteers services from the host community, employ public venues such as streets, parks and schools and are produced at the direction of local government agencies or nongovernmental organisations such as service clubs, public safety or business associations.?Community festivals help cultivating local tourism. The new people it attracts bring more spending so that it contributes to the development of the local economy. But the benefits of a community festival are not only economic. Yeoman et al. (2005) argued that any events have also other impacts especially sociocultural ones. This paper focuses on those aspects of social benefits defined in terms of ?the residents' attitudes to the local area? (Wood 2006, p. 165) through the examination of several examples of community festivals in the US, the UK and in France.

[...] Sustaining the impacts of a community event The theories and examples given above have demonstrated that community events and festivals can have a great social impact in terms of civic pride, sense of belonging and awareness. However, an event is by definition short-term. Important community festivals may last two weeks but most of them are taking place for a week only or even just a week end, especially in socially isolated areas where events tend to be smaller. Of course, the impact of a community event is longer term than the duration of the event itself. [...]

[...] But what makes Marciac so special is that this commitment, sense of belonging and pride is sustained and even developed over the time. Conclusion The examples and arguments given in this paper show that beyond possible economic benefits, community events and festivals have positive social effects. The social and cultural impact is even more obvious when the event takes place in socially isolated area. In this case, the community event brings the qualitative aspects these places need: it raises awareness thanks to the communication; foster a sense of belonging because it brings people together about a same topic; and increase civic pride. [...]

[...] The role of community events in enhancing civic pride Social and cultural value provided by community events encompasses several aspects that interrelate. Civic pride is one of the most recognized benefit. Civic pride refers to the feelings of the residents. It relates to the image that inhabitants share about their city or town. This is purely affective and does not involve the opinions of visitors. When residents are proud of their city they are more likely to change their behaviour in terms of implication in the activities of the community. [...]

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