Friday, March 28, 2008

March - Can Your Community Support Another Festival?

This is an interesting editorial that comes from The London Press about how that city has too many festivals. I wonder if any of them ever do research to determine the economic viability of their event.

London 'infested' by too many festivals
By Dan Brown
es No
The cancellation of the London Balloon Festival is proof of an uncomfortable fact this community is reluctant to face: London has too many festivals.
We have festivals to celebrate summer. London has a festival to celebrate winter. We have a festival to promote folk music, we have a festival of nothing but the blues.
We have a festival in honour of beer. We have a festival to celebrate our Italian heritage, as well as one that that marks our community's ties to the East Coast. The list goes on and on and on and also includes a three-on-three basketball tournament and a dragon boat festival.
We have so many festivals, it would literally be impossible for one Londoner to attend them all.
So what, you say? What does it matter if London is the City of Fests?
The demise of the balloon festival demonstrates we are beyond the point of being saturated. London can't support all of these festivals, no matter how fun some of them are.
In fact, it may be time to thin out the festivals, the goal being to strengthen the truly worthy ones.
Ask yourself: How many festivals did you go to last year?
Ten? Six? Two? One?
Some will say the public should decide which ones survive. This is a sensible idea.
But what no one wants to acknowledge is if the public had had its way, balloon fest would have been disbanded years ago. It was in dire straits when current organizer Barry McGonigle took over in 2003 and now we learn it only survived because he covered its losses the last few years.
In other words, it was being kept alive artificially. Londoners had already voted with their feet.
What does our city want? Fewer thriving festivals or a lot of festivals -- many of them on life support?
There would be other beneficial side effects, such as less wear and tear on our parks and facilities. Less festivals would be a bold environmental gesture.
Not convinced? Ask yourself: How many festivals did you go to last year? Ten? Six? Two? One?
Let the organizers of London's festivals concentrate on staging quality events. It's the best way to go.
This isn't to deny the value of these festivals. They will always be a part of this city's rich and varied cultural fabric. That is never going to change.
But it is time to face facts: Fewer fests means better fests -- for Londoners and visitors to the city alike.

Marketing Tip: Periodic research will tell you the sustainability of your event.

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