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Festival Statistics: Key Concepts and Current Practices

UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Montreal, 2015, 57 pages, ISBN: 9789291891733

This report reacts to 'the need for a greater understanding of how festivals can be measured and data collected in a standardised, systematic manner based on existing, effective models and current practices'. Basically, the major issues considering festival statistics are examined, while providing a set of recommendations for organisers and national authorities interested in evaluating festivals. Keeping in mind that 'many festivals seek to demonstrate the contribution that they make to local economies by using methods of evaluation, cost-benefit analysis and especially economic impact assessment' it should not surprise that 'in general terms the most common approach to festivals is to evaluate what they have contributed to the local economy'. Furthermore, this raises many questions on the character of festivals. Should festivals necessarily be profitable? Do they have an intrinsic value irreducible to purely extrinsic criteria of cost-benefit assessment? What are the consequences of imposing the cost-benefit analysis to such events?

Finally, the authors offer their recommendations: Festivals should be evaluated on multiple levels to allow for the inclusion of perspectives of all/most stakeholders; Festivals statistics reporting should have a range of baseline statistics; Impact assessments provide a sound analytical platform for measuring festivals and allow for a range and quantum of data to be generated; Any festival-measuring exercise must specify what is actually being measured and that these variables are appropriately matched to indicators; Surveys are the most commonly used data collection procedures; and Festival statistics exercises should show clear indication of outputs for data and the type of data to be generated.

For more information, please visit: www.uis.unesco.org/culture/Documents/fcs-handbook-3-festival-statistics.pdf