Future of Events and Festivals

Nicole Ferdinand (School of Tourism, Bournemouth University, Poole, UK)

Journal of Tourism Futures

ISSN: 2055-5911

Article publication date: 16 March 2015


Ferdinand, N. (2015), "Future of Events and Festivals", Journal of Tourism Futures, Vol. 1 No. 2, pp. 156-161. https://doi.org/10.1108/JTF-12-2014-0010



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Nicole Ferdinand


This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial & non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at http://creativecommons.org/licences/by/4.0/legalcode

Yeoman, I., Robertson, M., McMahon‐Beattie, U., Smith, K. and Backer, E. (Eds)




Keywords Audience, Festivals, Events, Futures, Events planning and management, Events impactReview DOI10.1108/JTF‐12‐2014-0010

The Future of Events and Festivals marks a new chapter in the progress made in events research. A number of scholars have remarked on the significant developments that have been made particularly in the last three decades or so. Page and Connell (2009), for example, have highlighted the emergence of a number of key research themes such as event impacts, event planning and management, event audiences and event evaluation. Getz (2008) also observed that events as a phenomenon have and will continue to hold the attention of researchers in a range of disciplines – notably, sociology, economics and marketing – and that the number of theoretical perspectives from when they are studied will increase in years to come. So perhaps this new publication can be seen as part of this progression in the evolution of event and festival research, particularly when one considers that the closely related field of tourism, has already captured the attention of futurists. Gössling et al. (2009), Yeoman (2012), Postma et al. (2013) and Leigh et al. (2013) provide recent examples of publications which consider tourism futures.

So what does this new text on the Future of Events and Festivals offer to events research? Perhaps first and foremost it offers a new perspective by which events and festivals can be understood. Although, events and festivals are featured in a number of subject domains, a key short‐coming that has been identified is an over‐emphasis on “consumer motivations and economic impacts” which tend to make studies somewhat short‐sighted in terms of their focus (Getz, 2010, p. 20). This text allows readers to look ahead beyond immediate concerns such as developing audiences and increasing economic gains. It provides a space for reflection to think about the legacies that today's events and festivals will leave for future generations.

The 20 chapters of the text are authored by an impressive 28 contributors from fields such as events management, geography, hospitality, marketing and tourism and together they provide a range of perspectives on the future of events and festivals. The text is divided in three sections. Section 1 allows readers unfamiliar with futures research to get to grips with the perspective and understand the different approaches researchers take when writing about the future. Whereas some authors view the future based on probabilities or on what is most likely to happen, others are more speculative, fantastical and extreme. Yeoman et al. (2015b) alert the reader to this dichotomy in their introduction which proves to be a useful “heads up” for the chapters that follow, which include a chapter on one festival's future progress towards sustainability (Wessblad, 2015) and a chapter which presents a vision of a Woodstock featuring centenarians as the headline acts (Yeoman et al., 2015a). Section 2 is broadly titled “Contested Issues, Thoughts and Solutions”. This is where the editors have a great deal of scope to improve the text in future editions. A possible value add would be to divide this section into distinct themes such as major/mega events and local or community events or perhaps to group chapters along the lines of theory versus practice, with brief introductions about how the authors illuminate the areas within each section. Additionally, it would be useful in this section to provide some comparisons of event and festival futures in developing countries or those countries which have recently entered the mega‐event arena, since the text is strongly biased towards events and festivals in developed and westernized countries. Given the recent challenges of New Delhi, which struggled to meet deadlines in preparation for the Commonwealth Games (Pandey, 2010) and of South Africa's World Cup, which was plagued with concerns about crime and security (BBC, 2009), it stands to reason that the future of events and festivals in these countries will be quite different from those which do not have such issues. Section 3 titled “What Does This All Mean?” features a single chapter which provides a series of cognitive maps to focus the readers on the themes raised by the text. These visual representations are very useful summaries of the text's key “take aways” and serve to stimulate thinking about future directions.

The variety in the chapters makes the text relevant to a diverse reading audience, including: experienced events and tourism researchers, who may be attracted to the text's more theoretical offerings, such as the piece by Getz (2015); event professionals for whom practical questions, such as the future of event volunteering, considered by Lockstone‐Binney et al. (2015), may be of greater relevance and also novices, who may find some of the more fanciful chapters entertaining reading.

In summary, the Future of Events and Festivals provides readers with a comprehensive overview to a new perspective in events research. The diverse and often intriguing contributions in the text make it a welcomed addition to a growing and dynamic field of study.


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Getz, D. (2010), “The nature and scope of festival studies”, International Journal of Management Research, Vol. 5 No. 1, pp. 1-47.

Getz, D. (2015), “The forms and functions of planned events: past and future”, in Yeoman, I. et al. (Eds), The Future of Events and Festivals, Routledge, Oxford, pp. 20-35.

Gössling, S. , Hall, C.M. and Weaver, D. (2009), Sustainable Tourism Futures: Perspectives on Systems, Restructuring and Innovations, Routledge, Oxford.

Leigh, J. , Webster, C. and Ivanov, S. (2013), Future Tourism: Political, Social and Economic Challenges, Routledge, Oxford.

Lockstone‐Binney, L. , Baum, T. , Smith, K. and Holmes, K. (2015), “Exploring future forms of event volunteering”, in Yeoman, I. et al. (Eds), The Future of Events and Festivals, Routledge, Oxford, pp. 175-86.

Page, S. and Connell, J. (2009), Event Tourism: Critical Concepts in Tourism, Routledge, London.

Pandey, G. (2010), “Delhi loses patience with Commonwealth Games”, available at: www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-11101288 (accessed 3 November 2014).

Postma, A. , Yeoman, I. and Oskam, J. (2013), The Future of European Tourism, European Tourism Futures Institute, Leeuwarden.

Wessblad, H. (2015), “The future is green: a case study of Malmoe, Sweden”, in Yeoman, I. et al. (Eds), The Future of Events and Festivals, Routledge, Oxford, pp. 128-39.

Yeoman, I. (2012), 2050 Tomorrow's Tourism, Channel View Publications, Bristol.

Yeoman, I. , Robertson, M. , McMahon‐Battie, U. and Musarurwa, N. (2015a), “Scenarios for the future of events and festivals: Mick Jagger at 107 and Edinburgh Fringe”, in Yeoman, I. et al. (Eds), The Future of Events and Festivals, Routledge, Oxford, pp. 36-51.

Yeoman, I. , Robertson, M. , McMahon‐Beattie, U. , Smith, K. and Backer, E. (2015b), “An introduction to the future”, in Yeoman, I. et al. (Eds), The Future of Events and Festivals, Routledge, Oxford, pp. 3-9.