The economic benefits of festivals are easiest to see and most often attract visitors, which stimulates the growth of tourism and other businesses in a town or region.
The social benefits of festivals are less visible, but they are just as important. Besides being fun, well-managed festivals and events offer a host of economic and social benefits to communities.
Boosting the economy, by definition, festivals attract visitors. And visitors spend money, which boosts the local economy both on and off the festival site. On-site spending and off-site spending related to festivals generates revenue for communities. For example, visitors stop at local gas stations, souvenir shops, and restaurants – the list goes on. Overnight visitors provide another source of off-site revenue to communities that host festivals. For example, the 2012 Filberg Festival in Comox was reported to have generated over $1,000,000.00 of economic benefit to the Comox Valley. The profits generated from this fundraiser sustain the operation and maintenance of the 9-acre heritage Filberg Lodge & Park in Comox.
Festivals also provide free marketing and advertising for local businesses as visitors talk about their experiences when they go home. The economic benefits of a successful festival ripple throughout a local economy affecting tourism and non-tourism- related businesses alike. However it is not always a win win for everyone involved. One issue that faces festivals held during peak season is the high cost of accommodation. Hoteliers are hard pressed to offer sponsorship or discounted rooms when they can be making top dollar – high season – low inventory.
For community festivals to continue to have success and be embraced in the community they need to be sociably responsible to the citizens and way of life. If the festival will cause high traffic around the grounds be sure to provide the local residents with access passes. Employ traffic control personnel so that traffic does not jam up and cause frustration for festival goers or residents. Have festival staff do garbage patrol of the surrounding neighbourhood each evening after the gates close. Provide residents with “no parking” signs to post in areas they need access too.
Always leave the place as you found it. In most cases festivals invest in the physical site infrastructure and in turn provide other user groups with a new and improved venue for all to enjoy year around.
Life is a festival only to the wise. Ralph Waldo Emerson