Despite the ongoing research into visitor motivation in the live events and tourism industries, only a limited amount of research has examined the motivational factors exhibited in individual segments of society. The purpose of this paper was to identify a relationship between visitor demographics and visitor motivation, for the purpose of enhanced market research at folk festivals in the UK.
In this research, a qualitative study of visitor demographics and their accompanying motivation to attend Purbeck Folk Festival is reported. The study was conducted in the form of interviews, which investigated the underlying motivation behind visitor attendance to Purbeck Folk Festival in 2014. The research process, guided by the literature of Robson (2011) and Bryman (2012), aimed to establish the extent to which visitor demographics did or did not impact visitor motivation to attend the event.
The study revealed five motivational dimensions, and from this devised five core audience segments including: the escapists, the socialites, the family type, the experience seekers and the folkniks. This study highlights the correlation between visitor demographics and visitor motivation and suggests further applications of this research and similar research in the field of live events. The study contributes an insight into the audience of Purbeck Folk Festival and may be used to provide an understanding of audience profile and behaviour at folk festivals within the UK.
Due to the nature of the research, participants will be secured through non-probability quota sampling, which is a method of convenience. This approach may place limitations on the validity of the findings, as researcher bias may occur when selecting participants, for example, avoiding visitors who look intimidating or abnormal (Robson, 2011). The use of open-ended questions in the capacity of a greenfield event was identified as a potential difficulty, as participants are required to think about their answers and provide opinions, unlike a closed question method, which although quicker and easier, may not be as effective (Kumar, 2014). Therefore, to keep participants engaged and willing to provide further information, the interview design was kept short and questions are easily comprehendible.
The research study reflects early the work of Mayo (Dickson, 1973), Maslow (1954) and Herzberg (1966), and builds on more recent literature by Kruger and Saayman (2012), which analysed the relationship between audience profile and motivation to attend.
Pilcher, D.R. and Eade, N. (2016), "Understanding the audience: Purbeck Folk Festival", International Journal of Event and Festival Management, Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 21-49. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEFM-09-2015-0039Download as .RIS
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