The study used a variety of data collection methods: questionnaires, semi-structural in-depth and brief interviews. The sample included consumers of cultural services, stakeholders and experts in the field of cultural and event activities.
Empirical base of research
The empirical base of the study included data on such cultural events as festivals, held in small-sized towns (jazz festivals in Pori (Finland) and Tikhvin (Russia), Maritime festival in Kotka (Finland), an annual event "Museum Night" held in many towns in Russia and abroad, gastronomic festivals.
Results of research
The results of the study suggest that:
- cultural events directly affect thesocio-economic developmentof small townsas they create atourist product stimulating theinflux of touristsandnewsworthy information to cover in the media; revive and developfolk traditionsin the field ofagriculture,handicrafts,specific services; bring together a groupof localestablishmentandindividualartists; promote development ofurban environment elements, which are used after the event;
- for local authorities cultural eventsare a powerful toolto create a favorableimage of a regioninthe eyes of thehigher authorities, local residents, tourists, potential investorsand othergroupsto choose theirplace for residenceand study.This enablesraising of the cultural levelof local residents,attracttourists to the regionandto overcome theseasonality oftourismdemand, to support creative teamsthrough thedevelopment of conditions forprofessional communication, strengthensmall and medium businesses;
- cultural events emphasize uniqueness ofa cityand activity oflocal authorities, which stimulates mobilization of resourcesand their diversification initiated by higher and other authorities.The results of thesestudiesshow that the mainsource of funding forcultural eventsis government(from municipal tonational level). Despite this,sponsorshipof commercial structures is also significantresource;
- important features of cultural events inRussiansmall andmedium-sized citiesare theircultural-historicaland ethno-religious character, as well as absence ofa clearly definedtarget audience,which is oftenlimited tolocal residentsorresidents of a region. Most of localcultural eventsare not a reasonto visita touristdestination;
- the role of government agencies is the most important in organization of localcultural activities;regional cultural authoritiesoftenact as organizers ofnational and regionalevents; non-profit organizationsare most activein the organization ofnational events, not local; commercial organizationsmost activelyorganize international, oftenthe mostexpensive, cultural events;
- cultural events in the framework ofmuseum activitiesstimulate formation ofmulti-genremuseumproduct(through involvement of artists, information technology specialists, variety offilm and video, etc.); development of museum spaceby expanding theways of presentingexhibits; introduction of newmodelsof personnelpolicies toattractemployeesto creative activity unusualfor them; use ofinteractive technologies;
- cultural events in the framework ofmuseum activitiesenhance value ofservices provided by a museumat the usual time, but are not a toolfor promotion of territoryas a tourist destination.
Level of implementation, recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of the results
Recommendations on increasing positive impacts of cultural events in small and medium-sized towns:
- to achieve positive impacts of cultural events on socio-cultural and socio-economic development more stakeholders, for instance local residents, volunteers, businessmen, tour operators, should be involved in the process of event organization; stakeholders collaboration will allow not only creating sustainable event, but also develop various services produced within an event, which not only local authorities are interested in;
- there is a great potential for place branding and attraction of tourists through cultural events, which should be developed by engagement of local cultural entities such us museums, strengthening advanced media coverage of an event in neighboring territories and involvement of commercial structures as sponsors;
- cultural government agencies should consider a more market-oriented approach towards funding of events to stimulate fundraising activities of event organizers.