An Analysis of the Social Impact of Festivals and Events in Limerick City, Ireland
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The scope of the events industry is vast and dynamic with events a fundamental part of society affecting “culture, business and lifestyles” (Getz2, 2008:18). Still in its infancy, the event industry must constantly prove its validity and this is achieved through constant evaluation, which is necessary and serves to set the foundation for improvement and development (Bowdin et al, 2004). While most evaluation for events is based on financial success, the impacts the social impacts should hold the same weight, as they promote social cohesion, community integration and cultivate society (Getz2, 2008). The festival and event sector in Limerick City (Ireland) has been growing rapidly so it provides the ideal platform to assess the social impacts of events as there is growing significance placed on the benefits of events for the community. The focus of the research was on determining the social impacts of events by uncovering the presence of two variable groups, the social benefits and the social costs. Secondary data collection facilitates collecting, understanding and interpreting primary data. Due the nature of the research both qualitative and quantitative data was collected with questionnaires providing a large amount of quantifiable information and a more in depth research supplied by interviews. Key findings are defined as data that was both significant and relatable to the analysis of the social impacts of events and festivals in Limerick City. The questionnaire received a solid response rate and the participants’ practical event industry knowledge added to the legitimacy of the research. The interviews of the key informants provided a greater understanding of the topic and a unique point of view. As Limerick City continues to develop as a host community for events the social impacts will come to the forefront for event evaluation. The positive and negative impacts of events must to understand to make informed decisions about utilising events to achieve long-term goals that extend beyond the event (Fredline et al, 2003). As social impacts come to the forefront of event evaluation and academic studies it may be prove the theory that they are events “true legacy” (Pedersen et al, 2010).
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