Jacqueline Calvo, BBus, CQU.
Cultural industries implies a ‘massification’ of culture and entertainment, as such, festivals are found to be a cultural industry, involving large numbers of people working in organisation, administration, promotion, marketing, and the creative and performing arts. Festivals come in different forms including agricultural, cultural, historical, horticultural, and arts festivals to specific audiences and sub-cultures (fringe festivals). Culture is about, and has been used to shape and to govern, identity; therefore as Australia is a multicultural country rich with a complex migrant history. Australia’s identity, as such, is demonstrated as festivals are perceived to be a vehicle for ‘re-imaging’ cities, playing a major role in the contemporary marketing of Australian cities as national and global destination. This also points out that festivals form part of the cultural tourism industry, as the Government believes that festivals give communities a creative focus, help celebrate achievements and forge community identity, and are of significant assistance in generating increased tourism.
Despite this, cultural imports outweigh exports, and this imbalance has raised concerns about a potential influence or loss of national cultural identity. Also despite a seeming desire to promote local culture, Australian governments appear to be selective as to which aspects of that culture will be supported and advanced. However this can be counteracted upon as festivals are often financed by private companies and can give employment opportunities, and help to dissolve the disunity assimilation or racism in the communities and Australia as a whole as evidenced in the Greek Festival of Sydney. The most important advantages found for social workers were found to be employment opportunities, while for community, tourism development presented a large opportunity. Disadvantages though important do not seem to outweigh the advantages festivals bring; therefore festivals, as part of our cultural identity, are not indicating any signs of slowing down.
This essay aims to discuss the rise of festivals and ‘festivalism’, using examples, as a form of significant contemporary expression of cultural identity in Australia, attempting to perceive, from my own personal knowledge and knowledge gained from sources cited, the advantages and disadvantages of festivals from the view of cultural workers and communities.
However it is important to first understand what cultural industries are and incorporate. Cryle (n.d. p. 5) refers to culture as “relating to broad issues of lifestyle as well as the arts” and industry as that “which incorporates the idea of consumption and commerce…therefore cultural industries implies a ‘massification’ of culture and entertainment”. However Bennet and Carter (2001) suggests that the once negative term ‘cultural industries’ is now used positively as a means of conceding that culture is not merely a matter of individual creation and private consumption but the result of multifaceted institutions, sophisticated technologies and explicit economic relations.
According to Aussie Diary (2006), festivals are a cultural industry, involving large numbers of people working in organisation, administration, promotion, marketing, and the creative and performing arts. From this it is reasonable to see that festivals (which are deemed a ‘time of celebration’ Aussie Diary 2006) are considered to form part of the cultural identity of Australia as there are hundreds of shows/festivals held around Australia each year, each being different and involving people working together to share something with the wider community. Festivals come in different forms including agricultural, cultural, historical, horticultural, and arts festivals.
2.0 THE RISE OF FESTIVALS AND ‘FESTIVALISM’:
It is general knowledge and commonly accepted that Australia is a...