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MUSIC FESTIVALS: A CHANGING WORLD. An international comparative research

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The presentation in Lille (France) of a research coordinated by Emmanuel Négrier, Michel Guerin and Lluís Bonet on Music Festivals. This result book is published in both English and French by Michel …

The presentation in Lille (France) of a research coordinated by Emmanuel Négrier, Michel Guerin and Lluís Bonet on Music Festivals. This result book is published in both English and French by Michel de Maule (Paris 2013). This work presents the first study undertaken using a single, unique method on a sample of 390 music festival (from 15 different countries). They represent a wide variety of genres, musical styles, scope and seasonal programmes. All major aspects are explored, from the purpose of the festivals to human resources and business models adopted.
The first part reviews this analytical journey through the world of festivals. The second part contains several chapters on different countries festival landscapes, enabling the impact of the cultural, economic and political setting in which these events are created and developed to be measured. Whereas artists themselves have long since gone beyond national borders, this twofold international comparison allows the differences between country-specific models to be transcended


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  • 1. FESTUDY : AN OVERVIEW MUSIC FESTIVALS : A CHANGING WORLD A COLLECTIVE ENTERPRISE  First integrated comparative study of festivals : international cooperation among nine countries (Belgium,  Finland, France, Ireland, Norway, Canada, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland) + other partners  Method: one single questionnaire (with 2011 data) ‐ Areas: economics, artistic and cultural strategies,  policies, management, challenges  Hypothesis: to compare to highlight peculiarities, differences, convergences, common issues  Sample: 390 festivals in five groups of dominant genre  1
  • 2. A MULTIPLE DIVERSITY : AGE, DURATION, SEASONALITY FESTIVAL AGE FESTIVAL DURATION SEASONALITY : 51% en JULY/AUGUST ‐ 21% JUNE/SEPTEMBER A MULTIPLE DIVERSITY : BUDGETS, AUDIENCES  BUDGET CHANGES WITH MUSICAL GENRES … BUT ALSO WITHIN EACH GENRE GROUP  AUDIENCE LEVEL RELATED TO GENRES … BUT ALSO TO COUNTRIES 2
  • 3. SCIENTIFIC PURPOSE AND THE CHALLENGES OF A CHANGING WORLD WHY ? – WHAT ? – FOR WHOM ? – HOW ?  Festival objectives, and variety of programming?  Main sources of inspiration when programming ?  Audience, price strategies   Human and financial resources   Cooperation practices   Key variables  : Musical Genre, Budget, Age … and National Belonging  Impact of Public Policies in terms of convergence and divergences ?  Main issues of the Festival Changing World ? OBJECTIVES OF FESTIVALS : A SAME VISION SHARED BY ALL THE FESTIVALS - Artistic objectives Discovering new repertoire and works 49% Celebrating or rediscovering musical heritage Supporting emerging artists … Cultural objectives Encouraging and deepening multicultural dialogue 31% Making culture more accessible Providing to people a setting for fun and enjoyment … Territorial objectives Supporting local production 21% Developing tourist attractability Encouraging the economic recovery of a weakened area … WITH DIFFERENT INTENSITIES:     Classic : more artistic (Celebrating or rediscovering musical heritage) Jazz&Blues and Multistyle : equalize distribution Rock&Pop : more territorial (Supporting local production) Wold&Trad : more cultural (Encouraging and deepening multicultural dialogue 3
  • 4. CONCENTRATION AND INTERBREEDINGS OF THE CHOICES Classic Medieval, Renaissance music Traditional, Folk music Baroque music th Classical music (18 cent - 1950) Opera Contemporary classical music Metal, hardcore Reggae, ska World music Pop, Rock Jazz, Blues Techno, Electro Rap, hip-hop JazzBlues Multistyle 7 1 4 3 22 2 11 11 8 26 1 32 26 1 3 10 2 2 4 7 4 7 34 3 15 9 1 7 35 8 8 1 1 16 2 4 1 3 2 12 11 61 1 5 9 7 18 2 RockPop WorldTrad 1 FESTIVAL ACTIVITIES : DIVERSIFICATION AND EXTENSION 4
  • 5. PROGRAMMING : AVERAGE NUMBER AND (MEDIAN) BY STYLES Classic Jazz-Blues MultiStyle Rock-Pop World-Trad Total Days 14 (11) 9 (6) 14 (11) 6 (4) 8 (5) 10 (7) Concerts 30 (19) 45 (25) 82 (26) 63 (32) 39 (26) 45 (25) Artists 348 (168) 254 (130) 2058 (600) 280 (140) 265 (150) 380 (160)  Different durations by styles  A concentrated offer of concerts  An important space of diffusion for artists SOURCES OF INSPIRATION : AN ALCHEMY WITH 3 POLES Network - Previous contacts or collaborations - Discussion with other professionals -… Reception - Reception of proposals from artistic groups - Information gotten from distribution agents -… Research - Attendance to regular programs - Attendance to another festival -… 40% 37% 23%  Some different sensitivities by styles but especially a mix of inspiration firstly  characterized by networking. Programming is the result of exchanges among  professionals artists and audiences.  5
  • 6. AUDIENCES: THE SECOND MOST IMPORTANT CHALLENGE, AFTER ASSURING INCOMES WHY?  Audiences legitimizes the existence of festivals  Audiences are strongly correlated to income generation (direct and indirect)  ∆ 2008‐2011  So, most festival work hard to develop audiences (both quantitatively and qualitatively): 16% increase ! THE GEOGRAPHICAL ORIGIN OF THE AUDIENCE: A PARADOX?  Although external audience financially help legitimate festivals, the true raison d'être is to respond to  regional demand, with the best combination of local and global talent Audience Geographical origin Artist Geographical origin AUDIENCES AND THE TICKET PRICE  Box office is key in most Festival income structure  Audience might choose among cheaper alternatives (less symbolic or with lower price‐quality perception)  Sophisticated Price strategies (Figure 54, page 110)  Free access is a common practice, particularly in street events or to support democratization  policies   There is a strong debate on free access consequences  … But, it is largely used in special events (62% of festivals use it) for social reasons and to support  visibility: opening concerts, emergent activities … 6
  • 7. COMMUNICATION: A KEY ISSUE TO ATTRACT AUDIENCES AND KEEP FINANCIAL STAKEHOLDERS  How can a festival elicit a sufficient degree of enthusiasm and empathy so that several thousand  festival‐goers decide to spend their time and their money to attend it?  What kind of relationship with the press (local, national, international)? Teams, advertising …  The dominant musical genre, its target audience, and its geographical location determine both the  strategies and the style of a festival’s communication policies   Larger festival (by audience and budget) spend around the same % in communication  … But Sponsorship fuels more communication expenditure THE WIDESPREAD USE OF DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES AND SOCIAL MEDIA  Digital communication technologies have transformed the public‐relations strategies: Facebook,  Twitter, Smartphone adds …   But also good web pages (with on‐line ticketing, RSS feeds and interactive  forums), audio and video material developed by the festival …  However, the use of these technologies change according to audiences age and trends, and festivals  nature (artistic genre, weight of local audiences …) THE INCOME STRUCTURE OF THE BUDGET  Own resources and sponsorship play a more importance role in Festivals than in permanent  cultural facilities, but governmental grants represents in average the 45% of the incomes  Rock‐Pop festivals  have a greater capacity to generate own resources, not just more box office  but all kinds of activity and service revenues – Classical Festival get more public support, in a  context of diversity of governmental sustain… 7
  • 8.  And with large national differences:  The amount of public money and the heterogeneity of commitments of the different levels of  government are tied to:  The size of the country territory  The political system  The criteria governments use to allocate funding THE EXPENSES STRUCTURE OF THE BUDGET  Artistic expenses (fees and artist trips and accommodation) are the core of most festivals budget  … But, is it the result of a high dependency on expensive big‐name performers or just a result  of how important festivals (and life performance) are for the music industry vitality?  Technical expenses are much more relevant in Rock‐Pop than in Classical music festivals  Administrative expenses are higher in older festivals (classical music among others), with activities  extends beyond their season dates, or with a large number of volunteers  8
  • 9. HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT: A KEY ISSUE IN A TEMPORARY ORGANIZATION  WHY so many key collaborators come back year after year, and why are they so actively involved?  The experience, values, originality, attractiveness and glamour of working in a festival  The trust and empathy transmitted by the festival directors and managers  The selection and continuity of high quality key staff it is essential since there are very few training  possibilities prior to a festival and it is very difficult to correct last minute hiring errors  The number of professionals who work to produce a festival is proportional to its size   … But the majority of them only work during the festival days (83%), and the core group working all  over the year (3%) do not always work full‐time throughout the year  The professional status of the staff (employees, free‐lance, interns, volunteers or external personal)  change a lot according to each country tradition and the festival season  The Gender gap:  Predominant Male: general management (63%), technical and production (76%), artistic director (68%)  Predominant Women: public relations (58%), administration (52%)  The artistic and administrative role of directors, and the age and number of year in the job COOPERATION WITH OTHER ORGANIZATIONS  Is cooperation an essential dimension for festivals, as it is for other cultural projects?  “Only” 56% of festivals are involved in cooperation projects. Maybe for the temporary nature  and the strong singularity of festivals and their directors (?)  Cooperation main domains:  Most of these joint projects are articulated at a national level (continental or international  networks are only relevant for a few events) 9
  • 10. THE CONTRASTING INFLUENCE OF VARIABLES MUSICAL GENRE :     FESTIVAL AGE : Budget – level and structure of costs Type of employment Duration of events Number of concerts… FINANCIAL LEVEL :  o Seasonality o Communication o Level of public funding NATIONAL CULTURES ?  Traditions of Volunteerism   Modes of management   Territorial level of financing  Sponsorship role  Seasonality  Communication NATIONAL VARIABLE :  True peculiarities  Major convergences  Common challenges INTERNATIONALES CONVERGENCES  Central State generally weak  Major importance of local sustain  Modesty of festival support  Contrasted integration to Cultural Policies COMMON CHALLENGES CULTURE : Festivalisation & Loss of aura POLITICS : Involvement & Instrumentalisation MANAGEMENT : Individual strategies & Collective action SOCIOLOGY : Audience attracting & Public renewal ECONOMY : Hybrid world, Darwinian evolution ? 10