Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Festival Spaces and the Visitor Experience

By Michael Morgan


A festival implies a special use of space for both the organiser and the visitor.\ud On the practical level of events management, it is a series of temporary per -\ud formance venues presenting special organisational problems. For the festivalgoers,\ud it is a space set apart to which they come seeking an extraordinary\ud experience. This experience can have an emotional and symbolic significance,\ud which they then come to associate with the place itself.\ud For this reason, festivals and special events are increasingly used as part\ud of strategies to regenerate or reposition urban areas or coastal resorts. Events\ud attract additional visitors, creating economic benefits for retail, leisure and\ud other businesses. The publicity can be used for place marketing aimed not\ud only at attracting visitors but also new businesses and investment to the area\ud (Jago et al., 2003; Morgan et al, 2002). They can also give a boost to the\ud cultural or sporting life of the residents and increase local pride and selfesteem.\ud Festivals are part of the area’s ‘experience economy’ to use Pine and\ud Gilmore’s (1999) term, creating a temporary ‘creative space’ which can attract\ud visitors (Richards and Wilson, 2006).\ud But how should that space be designed to optimise the experience of the\ud festival-goers and contribute to the success of the event? Answering this\ud question requires an awareness of how festival-goers perceive the impact of\ud the location and its layout on their enjoyment of the event. The role of space\ud can best be explored within a wider conceptual framework that maps the\ud visitor experience of the event.\ud This chapter is based on research into the 2005 Sidmouth Folk Festival,\ud a long-established event which saw a significant change in ownership and\ud organisation from previous years. This sparked a lengthy discussion on an\ud enthusiasts’ internet message board about how successful it had been. One aspect of this was the rival merits of a festival based in a showground and\ud one spread over existing venues around the town. An analysis of these\ud discussions was used to explore the elements of the event experience and the\ud ways in which festival-goers evaluate i

Topics: tou
Publisher: Lesiure Studies Association
Year: 2007
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (2003). Building events into destination branding: Insights from experts’, doi
  2. (2000). Defining the field of event management’, doi
  3. (2002). Destination branding: Creating the unique destination proposition. doi
  4. (2004). Determining hiking experiences in nature based tourism destinations’, doi
  5. (2006). Developing creativity in tourist experiences: A solution to the serial reproduction of culture?’, doi
  6. (1974). Dramas, fields and metaphors. doi
  7. (1992). Dramatizing the service experience: A managerial approach’,
  8. (2000). Dream spaces: Memory and the museum. doi
  9. (1997). Event management and event tourism. doi
  10. (1971). Existence, space and architecture.
  11. (1999). Experiential marketing: How to get customers to sense, feel, think, act and relate to your company and brands.
  12. Festival Spaces and the Visitor Experience 17 Morgan, M.E (2006a) ‘What makes a good festival? Understanding the visitor experience’, Presentation to Association of Event Management Educators Forum, Bournemouth. [publication pending in Event Management].
  13. (2002). Festival visitor motivation from the organizers’ points of view’, doi
  14. (1992). Flow: The classic work on how to achieve happiness. Rider Paperbacks.
  15. (1995). How do you get a hundred strangers to agree? Computer mediated communication and collaboratiion’,
  16. (1977). Leisure value systems and recreational specialisation’,
  17. (2006). Making space for experience’,
  18. (2002). Managing the customer experience: Turning customers into advocates.
  19. (1983). Measuring leisure motivation’, doi
  20. (1979). Motivation for pleasure vacations’,
  21. (2003). Motivational factors of local residents to attend the Aardklop National Arts Festival’, doi
  22. (2004). Motivations for attendance at the 2001 Sidmouth International Festival: Fun, family, friends, fulfilment or folk?’, in doi
  23. (1981). Ordinary and extraordinary experiences’, in V. Turner (ed) The anthropology of experience. Chicago:
  24. (1988). Performance theory. doi
  25. (2002). Rediscovering the imagination: Investigating active and passive visitor experience in the 21st century’, doi
  26. (2005). Revolutionize your customer experience. doi
  27. (1993). River magic: Extraordinary experience and the extended service encounter’, doi
  28. (2005). Sensitive research topics: Netnography revisited’, doi
  29. (1988). SERVQUAL: A multiple item scale for measuring consumer perceptions of service quality’,
  30. (1998). Strategic brand management. doi
  31. (1994). The complex and dynamic nature of leisure experience’,
  32. (1991). The delivery of vacation performances,
  33. (1999). The experience economy: Work is theatre and every business is a stage. doi
  34. (1982). The experiential aspects of consumption: Consumer fantasies, feelings and fun. doi
  35. (2006). The experiential impact of events’, in doi
  36. (2002). The field behind the screen: Using netnography for marketing research in on-line communities’, doi
  37. (2004). The first week in August: Fifty years of the Sidmouth Festival.
  38. (2004). The future of competition: Co-creating unique value with customers. doi
  39. (2004). The impacts of mega-events: The case of EXPO’98–Lisbon’, in
  40. (2002). Tourist’s experience of space.Aldershot,
  41. (2004). Visitors’ perceptions of authenticity at a rural heritage festival: A case study’, doi
  42. (2006). World in my eyes’: An evaluation of netnography as a methodology for audience studies. Presentation to Leisure Studies Association Conference,

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.