People, no matter their cultural background and age, recognize the need to dedicate time and space to collective creation and celebration. Festivals have for a long time constituted a vehicle of expression of the close relation between identity and region. Indeed, during the last 15 years the number of art festivals in the cities of Europe and other continents has increased significantly.
The explanation of the vast increase of the number of festivals, which points to a rapidly developing market in every continent, is multi-sided, and consists of both factors of supply (cultural planning, tourist development and differentiation of municipality orientation) and demand (recreation, ideal lifestyles, social needs and desire for creative and authentic experiences).
The study of festivals is thus on the boundary between cultural production and research on the cultural policy in Europe today. Moreover, this complex field of research is approached by different points of view: the sociological and financial point of view, as well as that of participation in recreation, of social development, of the tourist industry and of the observation motives.
Although, of course, the interest for studying art festivals increases as the thematic field of events grows and matures, until today research on the field of cultural festivals is generally limited.
In our country, research attempts are even more limited. Despite the distribution of art festivals all over Greece, there is a significant lack of related bibliography/articles, while the existing studies refer to past periods of time.
As a result, the idea of organizing a convention which will bring to the foreground different aspects of festival management came up. We thought that it would be better if the convention took place in the framework of a successful festival in order to achieve a subversive connection of theory and practice.
The art festival of Byronas is one of the country’s most successful festivals. We believe that it combines all the features to constitute a complete case - study. The co-operation of the Department of Communication, Media and Culture of the Panteion University with the municipality of Byronas, a flexible, dynamic and out-going organization of local government, was built on this basis.
We hope that the convention ”Festival Management: Tendencies, evolution and challenges for local governments“, will contribute to the promotion of knowledge as well as the reform of techniques and practices in the field of art festivals and at the same time prove that the mechanisms of local governments are able to function as learning organizations.