This paper analyses the recent changes in UK cultural policies and the impacts these have had on arts festival provision. It is argued that many UK arts festivals have become linked to the cultural economy and instrumentalist, cross-cutting, target-driven policies. Due to the nature of New Labour’s objectives, it is suggested that the government’s approach towards festivals in contemporary UK society is becoming more about place management, participation and economic development. These changes in the perception and support of arts festivals can be seen to have an impact on their design, development and distribution. It is argued that because of the changing emphasis on economic and political outcomes, there has been an increasing standardisation and sanitisation of UK arts festivals. Research methods include a survey sent to 117 UK arts festivals (56% response rate) and in-depth interviews with arts council officers, city council officials and festival manager
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