Sustainability Everywhere: Problematising the “Sustainable Festival” Phenomenon

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Zifkos, G (2015)

This conceptual paper focuses on the recent introduction of the idea of “sustainability” in a specific segment of enquiry within the tourism and events research, namely the festival sector. It considers “sustainable” music festivals as conceptually different––although quite akin––to “green” cultural events, because sustainability should mean much more than merely embedding “green” or “eco-friendly” practices into the festival management. The paper provides an initial attempt to: (i) review literature on sustainable festival practice; (ii) locate sustainable performing arts festivals around the world; (iii) elicit the way in which sustainability is interpreted in that context, and;(iv) establish an ideological critique of the “sustainable” festival phenomenon. Selected interpretations of sustainability in this context are quoted, and pathways for future research are recommended.
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