Grassroots festival keeps city alive during severe drought

Article


Mason, Andrew and Scollen, Rebecca. 2018. "Grassroots festival keeps city alive during severe drought." Journal of Place Management and Development. 11 (3), pp. 266-276. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMD-06-2017-0059
Article Title

Grassroots festival keeps city alive during severe drought

ERA Journal ID36044
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsMason, Andrew (Author) and Scollen, Rebecca (Author)
Journal TitleJournal of Place Management and Development
Journal Citation11 (3), pp. 266-276
Number of Pages11
Year2018
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN1753-8335
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMD-06-2017-0059
Web Address (URL)https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/full/10.1108/JPMD-06-2017-0059
Abstract

Purpose - This paper aims to discuss the role of a grassroots initiative in engaging local people in an innovative place-making fringe festival. Festivals such as the Carnival of Flowers are a major tourism event for regional cities like Toowoomba and contribute to place-making through marketing and engagement. Within the professional management of such events, there exists space for innovation and genuine community involvement, which can assist in authentically reflecting place identity. Avant Garden (2007-2008) models a successful grassroots fringe festival, initiated by community members in response to the challenge of long-term drought. Avant Garden engaged locals and tourists in a positive re-imagining of place via site-specific public artworks generated by the community.

Design/methodology/approach - A survey of 504 visitors to Toowoomba’s public gardens during the first weekend of the 2007 Carnival of Flowers examined how Avant Garden was received by the community.

Findings - The paper suggests that fringe festivals can provide place-making capacity in broadening festivals as an expression of local identity. Fringe festivals can allow authentic community engagement within a mainstream festival and can indicate longer-term innovations to place branding.

Practical implications - The paper includes implications for festival managers about effective ways to engage community in grassroots initiatives which reflect innovation, authenticity and greater diversity.

Originality/value - The paper provides a study of a visual arts fringe festival in the context of place management. The project described allows a 'bottom up' approach to engaging the local community which provides authenticity and broadens the scope of an existing mainstream garden festival.

KeywordsAustralia, community, tourism, drought, fringe festival, public art
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020360603. Performance art
360602. Fine arts
Public Notes

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Byline AffiliationsSchool of Arts and Communication
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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