The current and future impacts of the 2007‐2009 economic recession on the festival and event industry

Seungwon “Shawn” Lee (School of Recreation, Health, & Tourism, George Mason University, Manassas, Virginia, USA)
Joe Goldblatt (School of Business, Enterprise and Management, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, UK)

International Journal of Event and Festival Management

ISSN: 1785-2954

Publication date: 1 June 2012



The purpose of this paper is to analyze and understand the impact of the global financial crisis during 2007‐2009. Furthermore, the paper seeks to identiy critical impacts upon the festival and event industry as a result of this crisis and to identify strategies to help members of the industry positively advance in the future.


Festival and event industry professionals were surveyed electronically about their business performance during the current global recession and about their potential strategies for coping in the short term and long term.


It was found that about the half of respondents' profit margins decreased during the recent financial crisis. The respondents indicated that primary factors that impacted the decrease were reduced available sponsorship funding and the general effects of economic recession on all other revenue sources. The festival and event professionals expected the industry to grow and perform at a very conservative pace over the two years (2011 and 2012) following the recession. The strategies that the festival and event professionals intended to use to build successful businesses following the recession were “increase marketing efforts,” “work to reduce expenses overall,” and “increase the use of technology”.

Research limitations/implications

The findings of this study solely reflect the US festival and event industry.

Practical implications

The significant contribution of this study is the analysis and understanding of the direct impact of the recent recession on the festival and event industry and also providing additional knowledge of changes being made by the industry in direct response to the economic recession of 2007‐2009.


The paper describes the first study of its kind to measure the direct impact of the global recession on the festival and event industry. The findings provide a guide to assist festival and event leaders to make better decisions to deal with both the current recession and future downturns. It also serves as a foundation to measure the performance of the festival and event industry in various economic environments.



“Shawn” Lee, S. and Goldblatt, J. (2012), "The current and future impacts of the 2007‐2009 economic recession on the festival and event industry", International Journal of Event and Festival Management, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 137-148.

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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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