Relevant publications by project researchers:


Gibson, C and Connell, J (2012) Music Festivals and Regional Development in Australia, Ashgate, Farnham ISBN: 978-0-7546-7526-6

Gibson, C and Connell, J (eds) (2011) Festival Places: Revitalising Rural Australia, Channel View, Bristol ISBN: 978-1-84541-166-4 (Pbk); 978-1-84541-167-1 (Hbk)

Project report

Gibson, C and Stewart A (2009) Reinventing Rural Places: The Extent and Significance of Rural and Regional Festivals in Australia, University of Wollongong, Wollongong ISBN: 978-0-646-51505-2

Academic journal articles

Gorman-Murray, A, Waitt, G and Gibson, C (2012) ‘Chilling out in ‘cosmopolitan country’? Urban/rural hybridity and the construction of Daylesford as a ‘lesbian and gay rural idyll’, Journal of Rural Studies, 28, 69-79.

Duffy, M, Waitt, G, Gorman-Murray, A and Gibson, C (2011) ‘Bodily rhythms: Corporeal capacities to engage with festival spaces’, Emotion, Space and Society, 4, 17-24

Gibson, C, Waitt, G, Walmsley, J and Connell, J (2010) ‘Cultural festivals and economic development in regional Australia’, Journal of Planning Education and Research, 29, 3, 280-29

Gorman-Murray, A, Waitt, G and Gibson, C (2008) ‘A queer country? A case study of the politics of gay/lesbian belonging in an Australian country town’, Australian Geographer, 39, 2, 171-191

Gibson, C (2007) ‘Music festivals: transformations in non-metropolitan places, and in creative work’, Media International Australia incorporating Culture and Policy, 123 (May), 65-81.

Brennan-Horley, C, Connell, J and Gibson, C (2007) ‘The Parkes Elvis Revival Festival: economic development and contested place identities in rural Australia’, Geographical Research, 45, 1, 71-84

Duffy, M, Waitt, G and Gibson, C (2007) “Get into the groove’: the role of sound in creating a sense of belonging in street parades’, Altitude, v8 ISSN 1444-1160

Gibson, C and Davidson, D (2004) ‘Tamworth, Australia’s ‘country music capital’: place marketing, rural narratives and resident reactions’, Journal of Rural Studies 20, 4, 387-404

Waitt, G and Gorman-Murray, A (2008) ‘Camp in the Country: Re-negotiating Sexuality and Gender Through a Rural Lesbian and Gay Festival’, Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change, 6 , 185-207.

Other publications

Brennan-Horley, C, Gibson C and Connell, J (2004) Parkes Elvis Revival Festival Results of Visitor and Business Surveys 2004, Parkes City Council, Parkes

Brennan-Horley, C, Gibson C and Connell, J (2003) Parkes Elvis Revival Festival Results of Visitor Survey 2003, Parkes City Council, Parkes

Gibson, C, Brennan-Horley, C and Walmsley, J (2009) ‘Mapping vernacular creativity: the extent and diversity of rural festivals in Australia’ in Edensor, T, Leslie, D, Millington, S, and Rantisi, N (Eds) Spaces of Vernacular Creativity: Rethinking the Cultural Economy, Routledge, London, pp. 89-105

Gibson, C, Allen, K, Lee, V, and Mirow, K (2004) ‘Experiential learning in the field: measuring the economic impacts of a music festival in regional Australia’, Geography Bulletin, 36, 3 18-27

Newman, S, Gibson, C and Connell, J (2009) Parkes Elvis Revival Festival 2009, Parkes City Council, Parkes

Stanes, E, Mansfield, J, Gibson, C, Brennan-Horley, C and Stewart, A (2007) Parkes Elvis Revival Festival: Visitor Survey Results 2007, Parkes City Council, Parkes

Stewart, A, Brennan-Horley, C and Gibson, C (2006) Parkes Elvis Revival Festival: Visitor Survey Results 2006, Parkes City Council, Parkes

Honours theses

Tindall, T (2005) Economic Impacts of a Small Scale Youth Sports Event: a Study of the Gromfest Surf Carnival, BSc (hons), University of New South Wales

The majority of special event literature concerns itself with the impacts of large-scale events in sizeable communities. This thesis aimed to determine the economic impact of a small-scale youth surf event in a small rural town, and to discern whether or not there were any relationships between the size of the host community, event size and type, and economic impacts. The third aim of the thesis was to provide a critique of the economic impact assessment methodologies normally employed in special event literature, with the sub aim of examining the reliability of the visitor expenditure and business turnover survey techniques employed in this study.

Gromfest is the most prestigious annual youth surf event in Australia (Rusty Gromfest, 2005), attracting large numbers of visitors each year to the small rural community of Lennox Head on the far north coast of New South Wales. On-the-spot visitor surveys were conducted during three of the four days that the event was held alongside a survey of businesses. In total, 65 businesses responded to the survey, constituting 77.4 percent of all identifiable businesses within the community. 108 visitor surveys were also returned from an estimated 1,260 non-local spectators, representing 420.5 visitors, or 33.2 percent of visitors not identified as time-switchers or casuals. The results of these surveys were then used to calculate estimates of the economic impact of Gromfest on the host community as well as surrounding areas. No indirect impacts were calculated, due to the numerous sources of error inherent in multiplier and cost benefit analyses. The two methodologies employed in this study were then compared and contrasted to ascertain whether they were indeed supportive of each other.

The hypothesis that Gromfest brought substantial economic impacts was accepted, with visitor expenditure estimates of turnover attributable to Gromfest estimating $22,008, $59,479 and $92,292 (lower, middle and upper bounds respectively) and business turnover estimates of $31,432, $66,251 and $109,214. These results were compared with those of previous studies, as were visitor spending patterns and demographics. These comparisons showed that event and host community size do influence the scale of economic impact, as does proximity to other towns and the type of visitor the event attracts. It was found that the larger the event and the smaller the host community, the greater the relative economic impact. Youth events were found to bring different impacts to adult events due mainly to the different demographic profile of the visitors they attract.

A number of flaws were identified in the current techniques used for analysing the economic impacts of special events. These included an over-reliance on visitor surveys and multiplier analyses. In response to these flaws, a business survey was tested and found to be a sound supplementary methodology. The addition of business surveys to economic impact researchers’ repertoire of techniques of is advocated, as is the utilisation of both visitor and business surveys simultaneously to allow for a more in depth analysis and triangulation of results. Business surveys are especially useful in small host communities, where it is possible to survey every business in town and generate an accurate figure of turnover attributable to an event. This thesis concludes by emphasising the need for alternative methods of economic impact assessment. Business surveys based in small host communities should be further tested and perfected before being adapted for use in larger host communities.

Wong, C (2005) The Environmental Impacts of a Festival: exploring the Application of the Ecological Footprint as a Measuring Tool, BEnvSc (hons), University of New South Wales

Festival and events are a segment of the tourism industry undergoing significant growth. Research on the impacts of festivals and events has predominately been conducted from an economic perspective, with environmental issues covered in a very limited sense. However, analysis of the impact of festivals on the environment is important, not just because of their rate of growth, but also because of their potential to contribute to more sustainable forms of economic activity.

The aim of this thesis is to explore the applicability of the ecological footprint as a measuring tool for assessing the environmental impacts of staging a festival. Ecological footprint methods have been previously applied to estimate impacts of national and city scale consumption but never before applied to short-duration events. This methodology was selected because of its ability to measure a diverse set of impacts and demands placed on the environment, while being a method that is easy to execute, understand and convey to non-academic audiences. Splendour in the Grass, a major music festival held annually in Byron Bay, Australia was chosen as a case study.

Three estimates of the ecological footprint of the festival (low, medium and high) were produced using data obtained from surveys of festival participants, local council representatives and existing consumption models. The ecological footprint of a festival was calculated to be 1.12 hectares per capita (or 1.53 global hectares per capita) for the low estimate, 1.43 ha/cap (or 1.75 gha/cap) for the medium estimate and 1.75 ha/cap (or 1.96 gha/cap) for the high estimate.

The aggregate and component-based results were compared to those of previous applications of the ecological footprint. The findings indicated that an average festival attendee demanded less ecological space in an aggregate sense than an average resident in previous studies of ecological footprints. However, when results were compared based on components within the ecological footprint, it was found that an average festival attendee required more energy land to assimilate their substantial transport and energy related carbon dioxide emissions than that of an average resident in previous studies.

Cross-tabulations of variables were also conducted to ascertain relationships that could aid in the prediction of ecological footprints for future festivals. It was found that certain demographic variables (e.g. gender, occupation, industry) were associated with certain consumption patterns (e.g. choice in food, accommodation, transport). In some cases, consumption patterns were associated with other consumption patterns (eg. accommodation and water use, transport and goods purchased).

Last reviewed: 26 April, 2012

Festivals Project Final Report Cover