Background & objectives



An International Workshop about cultural Festivals is going to be held on November 26th, 2019 at the University of Valencia, Spain. The main scope of the meeting is to share common and/or different ideas and perspectives among researchers with expertise in cultural events.

Festivals are one of the most diffused examples of living production in all the fields of cultural and creative industries (CCIs), (Luonila, Johansson, 2016).

In recent years, Festivals attracted an increased attention also because of their remarkable increase in number (del Barrio et al., 2012; Baez-Montenegro, Devesa-Fernandez, 2017). Several studies are investigating various aspects related to the organization, management and success of these events (cf. among others, Snowball, 2013; Vestrum, 2014; Wong et al., 2015; Baez-Montenegro, Devesa-Fernandez, 2017).

Several reasons may explain the economic revival and local/regional interest about Festivals: they are considered a great opportunity for small cities willing to establish their identity and acquire a visibility that otherwise they would have difficulties to obtain. The recent resurgence of Festivals could also be related to the experiential character that these events provide, and which distinguishes them from the increasing digital diffusion of culture. Several researches on cultural practices indicate also a revival of amateur participation, an aspect that is often vibrant but ignored (Rajaobelina et al., 2019).

Nonetheless, the digital revolution and the information and communication technologies (ICTs) diffusion impacted the overall world of business, laying the foundation for a new business landscape. They had a disruptive effect also on the traditional model of the various CCIs: the book publishing and the music and cinema industries are among the most representative examples (Moreau, 2013; Salvador et al., 2019). Innovation processes and outcomes have been rapidly impacted by pervasive digitization, questioning traditional theories and processes of innovation management and leading to talk about “digital entrepreneurship”, thus underlining the deep impact of digital technologies (Nambisan, 2017; Nambisan, et al., 2017). New dynamics and economic models are thus arising everywhere.

Notwithstanding, one cannot take for granted that digital technologies had a disruptive effect also on dissemination events like small Festivals because of their peculiarities linked to the local territory and to the unique experience they assure to visitors, that cannot easily be replaced by digital tools. On the one hand, these Festivals obtain customer loyalty and increase visitors more through “word of mouth” than through digital channels and they look for new audiences also through educational programs involving students. Nonetheless, on the other hand, Festivals’ setting and organization are a tricky matter: these events are characterized by temporality and a project focus that require motivated workforce under intensive short-term collaborations and the leadership of one or a few persons (Abfalter et al., 2012).

Consequently, one may wonder what the very final influence and impact of the digital revolution on the organization and management of cultural Festivals is. Is it possible to talk about new dynamics strengthening the success of Festivals? Is digital proximity replacing or completing physical proximity in these events’ organization?