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Motivations For Attending Festivals And Events Tourism Essay

A worldwide industry of festivals has grown and expanded since the 90’s. Nowadays, festivals are recognized as one of the top growing types of leisure- and tourism – related phenomena (Dimmock and Tiyce, 2001). As Mintel International Group (2006) suggests, festivals are forecasted to grow a total of 106% in the next five years period. South Australian Tourism Commission (1997, p. 2) suggests an easily understandable meaning of festival :“ Festivals must have as a prime objective a maximum amount of people participation, which must be an experience that is different from, or broader than day to day living.” Festivals, and more specifically, music Festival Organizations are increasing in number every year worldwide. According to Frey (1994), the provision of music festivals has developed based on a constant increase in disposable incomes, accompanied by an augmented amount of time offered for holidays. Furthermore, another feature that makes music Festivals so popular, is the fact that music Festivals form special events which include a variety of activities associated with the music (Bowen and Daniels, 2005), unlike concerts which provide mainly live music performances, rather than various event attractions.

One of the most popular music Festivals in Greece for the last six years is the Synch Festival. The Synch Festival began its operation in 2004 at Lavrio Technological & Cultural Park, an ex industrial area of distinctive beauty, aimed at bringing the Greek and international audience, in touch with modern sounds and images. Music, arts and new technologies coexist in a two day festival. Keeping up with modernity, Synch offers its audience the possibility to experience some of the most interesting aspects of global culture. Synch"s main course is music but despite its focus on the various aspects of the contemporary electronic scene Synch denies all kinds of borders and separations that lead to limiting or rigidifying musical expression. The musicians participating in the festival originate from different backgrounds and currents to share their ideas discouraging easy categorization creating musical hybrids that constantly evolve. It forms an uncommonly open-minded curatorial sensibility, tapping everything from experimental micro sound to minimal house and banging techno to local outfits using rock, jazz, regional music and electronic elements. It's got the perfect balance of industrial setting, a diverse multimedia program, cutting edge electronic acts and classic live acts.

Falassi (1987) argues that the collective role of a festival is directly connected to values that a community looks upon as vital to its ideology, such as social identity, historical continuity, and physical survival. Additionally, according to Arcodia and Robb (2000), a festival develops around the marking of unique occasions and around the festivity of important events. Thus, according to Usyal, Gahan and Martin (1993) a festival may be considered as the cultural resources of an area that make realizable the successful hosting of festival attendees. “The phenomenal growth, coupled with increased consumer awareness and choice, requires the industry to manage the sector effectively and efficiently to ensure sustained development and growth in the future” (Yeoman, Robertson, Ali-knight , 2004, p. xix). Therefore, according to Arcodia and Whitford (2010) festivals are expanding worldwide as an increasing and lively sector of the tourism and leisure industry, which have major economic, socio-cultural, and political impacts on the destination and on the host groups, if managed properly.

All the way through history, festivals have taken the forms of cultural traditions or have marked religious or historical occasions linked to the community staging the festival (Arcodia & Robb, 2000). According to Earls (1993) historically, the way festivals celebrated special occasions was through art, ritual, and festivity; they were seen as public meetings that make people’s joint wishes and dreams reality and offer a significant event for a unique experience in their lives. The basic origins of this type of communal celebration which has cultural importance to the host population (Pardy, 1991), can be traced back to the carnival of Europe ( Arcodia, Whitford, 2010). “The defining characteristic of a special event or festival is its transience” (Gilbert and Lizotte , 1998, pp. 73). This suggests that it would be difficult to encourage and maintain the same sense of occasion and enthusiasm, if such an event was to be held more often. Goldblatt (1997) defines a festival as “a special event that recognizes a unique moment in time with ceremony and ritual to satisfy specific needs”(Goldblatt, 1997, pp.33).According to Yeoman et al. (2004) the word festival derives from feast and means a time of celebration.

Yeoman, et al. (2004) argue that the features of festivals and events are unique, thus no common model of management fits them all. “These characteristics include intangibility , production, often taking place at the same time as consumption, and perishability” (Yeoman et al., 2004, pp.xx). Festivals and events have diverse levels of operating costs and they fall into both the not- for -profit and profit- making categories. They can array from locally based events, to large international festivals (Yeoman, et al, 2004). Previous studies on festival motivation (Uysal et al,1996, Nicholson and Pearce, 2001, Crompton and McKay, 1997) jointly demonstrate that the type of the festival is a significant predictor of motives. As a result, further exploration on various types of festivals should be conducted, in order to improve our understanding of the relationship between the kind of the festival and the visitor motives. A significant characteristic of a festival is the sense of community, belonging and celebration engendered by an event, which forms a communal and free social meeting including a variety of media such as arts, performances and shows (Goldblatt, 1997).

Cultural consumption is an intangible pleasure-seeking experience. The consumer experience in cultural products appears to have as its main elements the multisensory, fantastic and emotional characteristics of any consumer experience (Bourdeau, Paradis and Nyeck, 1997; Bourdeau, Decoster, Paradis; Hirschman and Holbrook, 1982). In other words, it can be perceived as a self-gratifying consumer experience with an experiential perspective (Hirschman and Holbrook, 1982). The intangible characteristics of attendance at a cultural festival modify the event into a consumer facility. According to Bourdeau et al.(2001 ) more generally, it is a pleasure seeking experience in which consumers use their senses. “It is only after this hedonistic experience, when they leave the festival site, that they develop feelings of satisfaction or dissatisfaction” ( Bourdaeu, De coster Paradis,2001,pp.1). However, the intangible, hedonistic nature of a festival visit makes it difficult for managers to determine satisfaction levels amongst customers. Managers of a cultural scheme must supply to the festival attendees an intangible, hedonistic experience, preferably one that includes not only the fundamental service but secondary services as well (Eiglier and Langeard, 1987). The fundamental service is the principal reason for attending the festival. In the case of a music festival, it is the content of the event, which is the music. Secondary services are those surrounding the event such as festival information services. Swan and Combs (1976) have suggested that when the show does not meet up to the consumer’s expectations, dissatisfaction occurs, and when the content of the festival does meet their expectations, satisfaction arises. Howard (1977, p. 57) describes satisfaction, from an expectancy theory perspective, as “the consumer’s mental state of being adequately or inadequately rewarded for the sacrifice he or she has undergone”. The level of sufficiency results from comparing past experience with the reward that was expected from the brand (Bourdeau, De Coster, Paradis, 2001). One of the original service quality theories is that customers are satisfied when their judgment of the service they have received (perception) equals or exceeds what they expected: Customer Satisfaction (CS)= Perceptions(P) =Expectations (Williams and Buswell,2003,pp.60). This is identified as the gap analysis theory (Zeithalm et al., 1990) or Oliver’s expectancy disconfirmation (Oliver, 1997). Zeithaml et al. considered that the features that influence customer’s formation of their expectations are: word of mouth , personal needs, external communications, and past experience. Moreover, Johnson and Mathews (1997) noted that the expectations of a frequent user of a facility would rely more on the influence of past experiences than other means of information. Researchers have no way of knowing what a first-time user’s expectations are based upon. Dale (1994a) suggests that world class experiences are valuable in formulating expectations. Parasuraman et al. (1988) attempted to clarify customer expectations, by suggesting that they are what an organization should offer.

(table , pp. 67)

MOTIVATIONS :

The success of a festival is heavily dependent on the execution of a strategic marketing plan; an understanding of the relationship between a destination event and its visitors and the identification of target markets are critical factors in the process (Thomson and Schoefield, 2009). Festival organizers are likely to assert that their primary goal is to provide high quality, satisfying experiences that visitors perceive to be good value in order to increase the probability of the visitors returning in the future and/or recommending the festival to others in their social circle (Lee, Petrick and Crompton, 2007). Since competition among festivals and destinations is increasing, the need for information on festivals,

specifically analysis of motivations for attending festivals and events

(Getz, 1993), has become crucial. Actual attendance itself may be attributed to various motives or just a single motive. In order for the event organizers to manage to deliver a great experience, the event product definition is a vital step . The event product is a unique blend of activities, which are the tools for achieving the overall event aims and satisfying customer needs. “Event design should be customer orientated , and event organizers should create a mix that satisfies the largest number of potential customers” ( Salem, Jones, Morgan, 2004, pp.14,in Yeoman). Getz in 1997 argues that many events lack of a product orientation , which means that they attempt to promote their event with no consideration for what prospective customers need , desire, and are willing to pay for. Hall in 1992 identifies three important objectives of event marketing: to know what the customers need and what motivates them ,to build up products that meet their needs and expectations and to create a programme that communicates the event’s aim and objectives. Individuals, participating as audience at a festival or special event wish to satisfy their curiosity about place and people. Participants wish to emerge from the event with experiences to narrate back home. These people want to avoid insecure situations , anxiety, worries, uncertainties, embarrassment, having to make too many difficult decisions , or being cared as computer number and being made to feel an annoyance. According to Yeoman et al.(2004) it is a marketing saying that people do not buy products or services , they buy the expectation of benefits that these products or services will provide them with.

No matter the main aim of the festival, there is a wide variety of customers , each with dissimilar expectations , and this impacts on the management processes used for each individual festival (Yeoman, et al.,2004). Motivations are a theoretical construct for the driving forces of human behaviour (Kroeber et al, 2003) and clarify why people do what they do instead of choosing another choice. Burch (1969) states that the personal motivational drives of individuals are modified and readdressed by their workmates, family or friends. Therefore, it is obvious that the motives to attend a festival may evolve and differentiate throughout someone’s life, which enhances the need for motives to be constantly investigated. Pointless to say, event organizers might have false impression of their customers’ motivation. Wicks and Fesenmaier (1993) examined the perceptual gap on customer expectations between visitor and vendors, identifying those areas of the event that need improvement. The same equivalence also has applicability to the recognition of the motivation gap that may exist between attendees and festival providers. As Fodness (1994) highlights , the motivation stands for the major driving power in explaining human behaviour, even though it is not the only factor(Fodness, 1994). According to Lee and Lee(2001) dividing festival markets through motivations, allows event managers to discover the strengths and opportunities of the market and contributes in guaranteeing their contentment. In case festival visitors are diverse, a significant marketing instrument is the dividing of these visitors into groups and the comprehension of their features based on festival motivations. The segmentation allows event organizers to develop and support event features suggested and appreciated by specific visitor groups (Formica & Uysal, 1996).

Moreover, Crompton and McKay (1997) argue that event managers should make every effort possible to fully understand the motives of festival attendance in order to provide better services for them; since motives are a powerful predictor of satisfaction and a significant aspect in the decision making process, the exploration of the visitors’ motives can lead to advanced levels of attendance. For example, Crompton and McKay (1997) explored festival attendance motivation for the following reasons: firstly, it gives the opportunity to match the festival’s content to the visitors’ needs. Furthermore, it augments the visitors’ satisfaction levels since their needs are met; and lastly it increases the chances for the visitors to revisit the festival, a fact that plays a key role for the economic viability of the festival. Schoefield and Thomson (2007) also agree that it is critically important to discover festival visitor motivations and to measure consumers’ satisfaction levels from the point of view of the consumer. They suggest that from a planning and management perspective it is vital to determine visitor satisfaction and behavioural intention with respect to repeat visits and to help identify the factors which affect visitor motivation and their experiential outcomes. (Gelder, Robinson, 2009,) Bowen and Daniels (2005) state that understanding why people go to music festivals can help planners align their marketing efforts to emphasize the attributes that best reflect the mission and goals of each event . Nicholson and Pearce (2001) believe that these factors will become increasingly important as the growing number and diversity of events, especially festivals, lead to heightened competition , in particular when events are initiated or expanded to encourage tourism and thus boost local economies (Daniels, 2004). Apo Glastonbury pdf Getz (1993) also emphasized the importance of analyzing visitors’ motives for attending festivals and events. Identifying such motivations is a prerequisite for planning event programs effectively and marketing them to visitors (Crompton & McKay, 1997). Analysis of festival motivations also helps event managers to better position their festivals (Scott, 1996).

PURPOSES OF THE STUDY

By understanding what drives and motivates participation, the festival management could probably gain better insight into a strategy to maintain attendees and to drew new ones to the festival (Van Zyl, 2006). The primary aim of the present research is therefore to fill the gap in previous research by determining what motivational factors push and pull visitors to attend the Synch Festival, held in Athens, Greece, and participate in it, and what are their expectations. Comparisons will also be made with the point of view of the manager of the organizing company. By understanding attendee’s motivations you can give the opportunity to the event organizers to tailor promotions and develop desired services.

The research objectives are :

To explore and review the literature relevant to the motivation and expectations of people attending leisure events, with particular emphasis on music festivals.

To investigate what motivates people to attend the Synch Festival and their expectations of the event.

To explore and review the ways in which the Synch Festival is managed and organized, and in particular , the degree to which (if at all) customer expectation and motivation is considered.

To report the findings of my research and, where appropriate, make recommendations and suggestions to the event organizers , as well as fill the literature gap as far as the exploration of festival motivations at a national level, is concerned.

To achieve this, the article is structured as follows: the literature review is followed by a description of the research methods, followed by a discussion of the findings , followed by the conclusion-discussion part where recommendations will also be made.

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