WHY HAVE INDEPENDENT BOUTIQUE ARTS AND MUSIC FESTIVALS IN ENGLAND BECOME SO POPULAR?
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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This study critically explored the rise and success of the independent boutique arts and music festival sector in England, with focus on audience motivations, the event experience and creative festival design, in order to accurately determine and model their role in successful contemporary festivals in England. In order to achieve this aim, the researcher firstly made a series of objectives to be met. These objectives commenced with a critical review of the literature on festival audience motivations, the event experience and festival design, with specific reference to the independent boutique arts and music festival sector. A conceptual framework was subsequently developed as a result of the secondary data discussed. A suitable research methodology was constructed and primary data was collected through a series of qualitative semi-structured interviews, involving both festival organiser and attendee perspectives to gain a rich, in-depth understanding. The researcher used thematic analysis to identify common thoughts and themes in the data, succeeded by an analysis and discussion of the findings in relation to the earlier secondary research and conceptual framework. The study found that due to an increasingly saturated festival market, the influence of the media and a disillusionment with larger, corporate festivals, independent boutique music and arts festivals in England have considerably altered the format of the festival landscape. Creativity, innovation and active audience participation/engagement were found to be key concepts in responding to increasingly selective and highly expectant festival audiences. A new festival experience model was designed, based upon an integration of academic theory and contemporary practice. The study made valuable contributions to theory, methodology and practice in this area of contemporary festival literature. It concluded with an identification of limitations and the provision of scope for future related research
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