Public Sector Evaluation of Festivals and Special Events

David Pickernell, Diane O'Sullivan, J Senyard

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This research project set out to explore Unitary Authority (UA) involvement in festivals and special events across Wales. It considers the level and nature of UA involvement and investigates activity by event purpose; reasons for, and characteristics of, UA engagement; and, crucially, the extent and nature of event evaluation. The study's aim was to begin the development of a baseline of information for further research into the growing use of festivals and special events as a strategy for local economic development in Wales. A quantitative survey approach facilitated a comprehensive snapshot of UA responses whilst also incorporating discursive elements. A telephone survey was designed and undertaken with representatives of all 22 UA departments responsible for festivals and events in Wales. The research reveals a significant level of festival and special event activity across Wales, supported primarily for its perceived socio-cultural value. However, evaluation would appear to be focused on improving processes and measuring economic outputs rather than assessing whether socio-cultural objectives are being achieved. Whilst overwhelmingly positive about efforts to improve approaches to evaluation, respondents held clear views about the complications most likely to hamper any such efforts. These responses focused upon the need for flexibility, cost effectiveness and comparability across festival and special event typologies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)19 - 36
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events
    Issue number1
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Feb 2009


    • festivals and special events
    • evaluation
    • impacts - economic, social


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