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  • Public Value Outcomes of Festivals: Well-Being and Economic Perspectives

    Niclas Hell, Gayle McPherson

    Chapter from the book: Smith, A et al. 2022. Festivals and the City: The Contested Geographies of Urban Events.


    Paisley is Scotland’s largest town. It suffers from both high degrees of multiple socio-economic deprivation, and an unfavourable public image. Renfrewshire Council is investing both money and prestige in ameliorating that image and rebuilding the town within a long-term cultural regeneration strategy that places public value at the core of its strategy. Hopes are that these efforts will reinvent the town in a post neoliberal mould, one that values well-being, as a successful example of urban cultural regeneration. Recent efforts (bidding for UK City of Culture, 2021) have increased attendance at, and reputation of, events in Paisley significantly. The town needs to celebrate and trade on its cultural heritage but it wants to create a town that can prosper digitally, culturally and beyond its local boundaries, leading the way as a place of cultural experience nationally and internationally. This chapter looks at the socio-economic impact of festivals as well as identity creation tied to place. From 200 structured interviews with shopkeepers and festival attendees, community values as well as economic benefits are discussed. Secondary analysis of public documents and commissioned evaluations from Renfrewshire Council provide an insight into how economic and identity values are represented. The chapter concludes by emphasising the significance of regional and national festivals to growing brand identity within and beyond regional and national boundaries, but contends that policymakers and businesses need to take a holistic approach to cultural regeneration that recognises the public value of culture by adopting a well-being approach to socio-economic growth that in turn allows for a growth in monetary and identity terms.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Hell N. & McPherson G. 2022. Public Value Outcomes of Festivals: Well-Being and Economic Perspectives. In: Smith, A et al (eds.), Festivals and the City. London: University of Westminster Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16997/book64.n

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    Published on Aug. 23, 2022