Life after a festival: local leadership and the lasting legacy of festivals
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This article considers how local leadership capacities can be developed through locally organized festivals and argues that this skill development can be an important legacy of festivals. It draws on the case study of SnowFest, a festival held annually from 2000 to 2003 in a small rural town in New South Wales, Australia. It is argued that festivals provide a useful setting for the development of local leadership capacities. Through reviewing the events leading up to and following SnowFest it was found that seven followers learned new leadership skills through their involvement in SnowFest. Four of these followers had since moved into leadership roles in the community. The particular nature of the leadership of the SnowFest leaders was important in enabling followers to develop their own leadership skills. The article contributes to the growing body of scholarly work that argues the impacts and benefits of locally organized festivals can extend beyond the spatial and temporal limits of the festival event and therefore beyond the scope of typical evaluation tools. The findings of this study are particularly relevant to small rural communities that are negotiating major socioeconomic changes, where effective local leadership has been identified as being crucial to the success of bottom-up community adaptation initiatives.
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