• Designing an arts festival: constructing authenticity

      Saklatvlala, Robin Litza (University of Bedfordshire, 2010-03)
      Through the creation and running of two arts festivals in Luton this research investigates the nature of arts festivals and defines their key attributes. It seeks also to go beyond the tangible attributes and discover what it is that makes a festival more than simply a curated collection of events. It aims to understand what makes an arts festival an authentic experience for participants, sponsors and volunteers. It discusses definitions of authentic arts festivals and applies these definitions and attributes to a pilot case study to determine whether a newly established arts festival can achieve authenticity as defined by Getz. Semi-structured interviews are used to examine the importance of authenticity in festivals to stakeholders involved in funding and organising them and determine if the motivation for establishing an arts festival impacts its authenticity. The research is in response to the recent proliferation and homogenisation of arts festivals, due in a large part to research which demonstrates that they are beneficial for regeneration, tourism, image enhancement and community cohesion. The research concludes arts festivals can begin with staged authenticity but, by meeting a real need and involving communities they can attain an emergent authenticity.