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  • Unravelling the Complex Nature of Events-Focused Policy: A Framework to Aid Understanding

    Elaine Rust

    Chapter from the book: Smith, A et al. 2022. Festivals and the City: The Contested Geographies of Urban Events.

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    Local policymakers are constantly developing strategies aimed at creating a vibrant atmosphere for their town centres. This is significant when set alongside the persistent narratives of failing retail, increased challenges posed by changing consumer demand and uncertainty over the consequences of the UK’s departure from the European Union. Events-focused policies are seen to offer this yearned for vibrancy, as well as potential to increase the economic fortune of host towns’ permanent retail and service provision. This policy becomes a more attractive proposition to small towns when successes are widely publicised in the media or are seen to be used as a tool for tourist promotion. While evidence exists suggesting that regular events, such as weekly markets, result in increased footfall, there is little existing research that either explores whether the same applies to less regular events (for example, monthly or annual) or whether an increase in footfall translates into the desired increase in economic activity. With growing pressure on local authority finances, policymakers need to be fully aware of the consequences of implementing such a strategy, thus such research is overdue. This chapter adopts mixed methods to explore the ways that a local authority in the south of England implements a cultural events programme by examining one event in each of the authority’s three main urban centres. Results of an economic impact assessment suggest that the ratio of expenditure at event trader stalls to host town provision varies and is dependent upon the type of event. Findings from the qualitative component analysis determine other less tangible, yet equally important, benefits and consequences of these events on the local community and businesses. Since these findings carry major implications for local authority decision makers, an initial framework for understanding the impact of such events is proposed.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Rust, E. 2022. Unravelling the Complex Nature of Events-Focused Policy: A Framework to Aid Understanding. In: Smith, A et al (eds.), Festivals and the City. London: University of Westminster Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16997/book64.l
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    Additional Information

    Published on Aug. 23, 2022

    DOI
    https://doi.org/10.16997/book64.l