Towards a More Resilient Festival Industry: An Analysis of the Adoption of Risk Management Models for Sustainability
2. Theoretical Background
2.1. The Role of Festivals in Promoting Sustainability
2.2. The Pandemic Conditions from the Perspective of the Event Industry
2.3. The Four Main Pillars of Effective Risk Management in PwC’s Model
- Detect—the anticipation of challenges, threats, and hazards; reviewing the risk indicators.
- Protect—strengthening vulnerabilities.
- React—responding efficiently and counteracting; applying risk mitigation.
- Restore—identification of key means of functioning at reduced capacity and applying lessons learnt for future management decisions.
3. Research Methodology
- The socio-economic data of festival visitors, including demographic characteristics such as gender, age, education, and place of residence, as well as visitors’ happiness index based on the subjective quality of life question.
- Characteristics of the festival visit, including whether it was their first time attending, who they visited with, their mode of transportation, type of accommodation, length of stay, eating and food shopping habits, and opinions on the available food offers.
- Sustainability indicators of festivals, including its environmental and social aspects, such as water use, waste management, the importance of the local character of the event, the usage of local products, perception of sustainability issues, and opinions on sustainability initiatives at the events.
- Perception of the festival, including visitors’ views of the event and the level of motivation and attachment to the festival.
4. Research Results
4.1. Detect–The Impact of the Pandemic on Festivals and Events: The Risks and Challenges of Festival Organizers
4.2. Protect–Strengthening the Sustainability Initiatives of the Festival
- As we discussed in the theoretical part, the context of COVID-19 could represent an environmental turning point. We aimed to assess whether it could strengthen the sustainability efforts of festivals. To do so, we analyzed the attitudes and behaviors of festival-goers toward sustainability, based on a sample of 1133 people. The results of the demographic analysis of festival participants are presented in response to RQ2.
- Women outnumbered men at each of the five festivals, with a proportion of 63% women to 37% men.
- The average age of festival visitors across the five festivals was 32.1 years, with a wide range of visitors from 1 year old to 80 years old. There was only a slight variation, the Valley of Arts and the Veszprém Street Music Festival attracted a younger crowd, with a lower average age of festival attendees. Likewise, the majority of festival-goers were in the 18–30 age group (54%), followed by the 31–49 age group (32%). Only 14% of festival attendees were over 50 years old.
- Looking at the educational level, the majority of festival visitors at all five festivals had higher education (58%).
- On average, festival participants traveled 77 km to attend the festivals surveyed in 2021, with a regional impact as most visitors arrived within a 100 km radius. The exception was the Valley of Arts Festival, which attracted visitors from an average distance of 122 km (from Budapest).
- Looking at the means of transport, the majority of festival visitors (63%) arrived at the festival by car. The second most frequently used means of transport was the bus (17%). The proportion of visitors who arrived by walking was 12%, mostly from within a 6 km radius. However, festivals with a predominantly local audience, such as the Veszprém Music Street Festival and Hungarian Film Festival, saw a higher number of attendees walking to the event. The other means of transportation used included a combination of train and bus. The mean distance covered by train and bus was 150 km and 110 km, respectively.
- The majority of festival visitors (50%) stayed at their place of residence and did not use commercial accommodation during the event. Additionally, 9% of visitors stayed with friends or acquaintances and 5% stayed in their own holiday homes. Camping was the most popular form of commercial accommodation, with 25% of visitors staying there. Bed and breakfast and guest houses were used by 6% of visitors, while hotels were used by only a few (3%) percent of those visitors surveyed.
- In terms of environmental impact, it is important to examine the festival-goers’ dietary habits, their satisfaction with the food offered, and how well a festival can cater to their needs and preferences. Only a small percentage of visitors (7%) follow a special diet, such as being fully vegan or vegetarian. A tenth of visitors eat meat only once a week. Most festival visitors reported eating meat 2–3 times a week and a further 27% eat meat almost every day. Two thirds of visitors to events had a mixed diet. There was also evidence of a shift towards a more plant-based diet, with visitors purchasing more non-meat options. For example, at one event in Veszprém, the availability of beef burgers, which have a high carbon footprint, was limited. Compared to a regular weekday, a higher proportion of visitors (almost 10%) of festival visitors opted for a vegan or vegetarian meal on a weekday.
- Visitors used a four-point scale to rate their satisfaction with the food options available at the events. On average, participants gave a rating of three, indicating that they were satisfied with the choices and that they could find something to suit their everyday diets and food allergies, regardless of the event. When asked about their preferred eating habits, 20% of them did not care about the origin of the food, while 32% of festival participants preferred local food when it was available, and nearly a quarter always sought it.
- In terms of drinking water consumption habits, 17% of respondents indicated that the issue is not relevant to them. However, access to tap water was deemed very important at the event for almost two thirds of respondents (58%). Access to tap water is important regardless of the distance from the place of residence. However, a quarter of visitors (25%) purchased bottled water, with the average purchase being 2.5 bottles (0.5 dL). The largest proportion of festival visitors buying bottled water, one third of them, bought 2 pieces of 0.5 dL bottles (mode). It was observed that a greater proportion of visitors refilled their bottles at events that emphasized providing information about the availability of water.
- In terms of attitudes towards environmental sustainability, the majority of visitors (88%) believe that proper waste management, including selective waste collection, is crucial at events, as is access to free, drinkable tap water (84%). Environmental measures at events are attractive to visitors, and some mentioned these initiatives as a positive aspect in their feedback. However, only half of the visitors showed interest in attending presentations or programs related to environmental practices and sustainability during the festival (Figure 2).
- Visitor attitudes towards environmental sustainability were assessed in a questionnaire such as how they perceive the sustainability efforts at the events, how satisfied they are with them, and what problems they identify (Figure 3). Results showed that visitors were most satisfied with personal and public safety measures, as well as the child and family friendliness of the festivals surveyed but rated accessibility much lower. However, as shown in Figure 3, most visitors have no problems with access to accurate information, fair service, venue accessibility, or noise levels, (scoring an average of 3.6). The main challenges they faced in terms of environmental sustainability were the widespread use of single-use, non-degradable plastic utensils, insufficient and separate waste bins at events, and poor hygiene conditions.
4.3. React–Changing Demand and Preferences of Festival Visitors from the Organizers’ Perspective
4.4. Restore—The Positive Outcomes of the Pandemic for Festival Organizers
4.5. Restore—The Future of Festivals in the Age of Uncertainty
- “Normalization” is expected, with medium- and small-scale events having a bright future, as “they are expected to thrive”.
- In the future, quality and modern technology will be key, and the online world will play a larger role in festivals and events. Technical support will be a crucial factor for success.
- The risk communication strategy must be perceived and considered.
- Health issues and (public) safety will become even more prominent: “Although safety has always been an important issue, the pandemic has made it even more crucial. This is also a key aspect in maintaining visitors’ attendance and encouraging return visits to our event”.
- A wide range of risk mitigation measures must be utilized and adapted by the festival organizers to ensure public safety.
- Opinions are divided on sustainability efforts. On the one hand, economic survival may push them into the background as cost reduction becomes a priority. On the other hand, they stressed that it was finally time to rethink everything—including sustainability. In their view, they are moving towards reuse, reducing waste and recycling, energy efficiency, and more conscious design. “Greening is more about producing less municipal waste, turning off the lights. We can’t use a Molino again in its original function, but we can put it on the counter on the other side and get a clean surface–we recycle. Tap water can also be drunk while bottled water will remain due to profitability.”
5. Conclusions and Implications
6. Future Studies
7. Lessons of the Pandemic from More Sustainable Festivals’ Point of View–Summary and Limitations
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Economic Sustainability||Environmental Sustainability||Social Sustainability|
|Encouraging the local economy through the spillover effect||Revitalizing waste-management |
programs—selective collection and
|Strengthening community building at the local level—the proportion of |
residents at the festival
|Supporting and promoting the market appearance of local actors and service providers||Diminishing the use of plastic and |
|Enhancing local pride|
|Inspiring spending on the festival||Reducing pollution and CO2 |
emissions—promoting reasonable and
environmentally friendly modes
Minimizing noise pollution
|Protecting and preserving local values|
|Increasing local tax revenues||Elaborate sustainable hospitality—|
alternative meat-free meals
|Improving the quality of local life—|
expanding the range of programs
(social- and psychological well-being)
|Offering local products, local food||Raising the reputation of the |
|Stimulating employment, job |
|Ensuring the use of tap water||Supporting social responsibility |
|Escalating the number of guest nights||Providing child- and family-friendly events|
|Assuring barrier-free |
|Date of Festival||Number of Visitors Included in the Questionnaire Survey||Position of Interviewees|
|BAKONY EXPO |
|22–24 May 2021||228|
|HUNGARIAN MOVIE |
|23–26 June 2021||254|
cycling performance tour Bakony
|27 June 2021||56|
|VALLEY OF ARTS |
|23 July–1 August 2021||420|
|VESZPRÉM STREET |
|25–28 August 2021||175|
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Lorincz, K.; Formadi, K.; Ernszt, I. Towards a More Resilient Festival Industry: An Analysis of the Adoption of Risk Management Models for Sustainability. Risks 2023, 11, 45. https://doi.org/10.3390/risks11020045
Lorincz K, Formadi K, Ernszt I. Towards a More Resilient Festival Industry: An Analysis of the Adoption of Risk Management Models for Sustainability. Risks. 2023; 11(2):45. https://doi.org/10.3390/risks11020045Chicago/Turabian Style
Lorincz, Katalin, Katalin Formadi, and Ildiko Ernszt. 2023. "Towards a More Resilient Festival Industry: An Analysis of the Adoption of Risk Management Models for Sustainability" Risks 11, no. 2: 45. https://doi.org/10.3390/risks11020045