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Re-imaging arts festivals through a corporate lens: a case study of business sponsorship at the Henley Festival.

By Rebecca Finkel


This paper explores the impacts commercialisation processes have on contemporary arts festivals by analysing their increasing reliance on private sector funding sources, such as business sponsorship. A case study of the Henley Festival demonstrates the effects that being primarily dependent on corporate subsidies can have on the 'look and feel' of a festival. Research methods include a survey sent to 117 UK arts festival organisers to discern audience demographics, programming, funding and future plans. Case study methods include in-depth interviews with the Artistic Director and Marketing Director of the Henley Festival, as well as participant and direct observation of the festival, which was recorded in a personal research diary. Main conclusions suggest that the Henley Festival is exclusionary for many of the local population and classical arts enthusiasts, who are often alienated from the festival as a result of its emphasis on garnering corporate support and providing corporate entertainment

Publisher: Routledge
Year: 2010
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