Art & Design

Jan 11, 2013

Big Day gets out, and smaller is probably better

With the Big Day Out on the hunt for a new site, the economic impact of big festivals has never been more important. But are tourist dollars really the best way to measure the impact of cultural events?

Ben Eltham — <em>Crikey</em> arts commentator

Ben Eltham

Crikey arts commentator

Big Day Out

The Big Day Out is searching for a new venue for its northern leg.

The multi-state jamboree has long been one of the iconic events of the Australian summer, bringing some of the world’s biggest music stars to hundreds of thousands often delirious fans. But big festivals need big infrastructure, and the Big Day Out has been told by the Gold Coast City Council that its long-time venue at the Gold Coast Parklands will no longer be available. The Council and the Queensland Government are redeveloping the venue for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and talks about a replacement venue at Helensvale have reportedly broken down.

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5 thoughts on “Big Day gets out, and smaller is probably better

  1. Gavin Moodie

    I’ve never understood why the Queensland big day out isn’t held in BrisVegas, and in particular, at the Brisbane show grounds.

  2. Kevin

    Yes, why not have BDO in Brisbane RNA, at least you there is public transport, toilets etc, … The last time I went there was a typical storm at southport, and the traffic wardens, in their wisdom, decided that none of the twenty empty buses that would shuttle people to the railway, for the journey to Brisbane, were not to move for A WHOLE BLOODY HOUR…. A joke joke in organisation ,,, never again

  3. chas

    Very interesting article. I’ve done some work in events research and inevitably the sponsoring governmental organization /event team wants an understanding of the economic impact of the event as a primary research outcome. Social and environmental outcomes are often only explored in a tokenistic manner if at all. always in the immediate, and never in the broader sense.

    The ironic thing is that the far reaching impacts to national identity probably have an economic multiplier that far exceeds the initial impact of any one off event in terms of creating innovative environments, entrepreneurialism and future possibilities for activity. This is what really needs to be measured…

  4. michael dwyer

    Economic benefits figures seem to have little relation to reality. In the case of locals attending the event, it is really a reallocation of expenditure, with net benefit zero. Interstate and international visitors do add economic benefit, but a really big event may reduce normal travellers. There is no evidence that extra planes come to Melbourne for the Grand Prix, and it can be assumed that the number of visitors specifically visiting for this event is small. At any given point in time there are probably 50-100,000 overseas visitors in Melbourne. Some may attend the GP, but this would not necessarily be the purpose of their visit. the Australian tennis open may attract visitors, but many are players, coaches etc who have their accommodation and other expenses paid by the organisers. Actually the tennis people don’t make silly claims about economic benefit, but I suspect that the open may be of far greater value than the grand Prix.

  5. Mike Flanagan

    Chas and Mike Dwyer;
    Much of the research and the media’s myopic attention is devoted to to sporting functions that are specifically designed for TV audiences that are broadcast throughout the world.
    The commentators devote little or no attention to the arts specific events such as the forthcoming Perth Festival let alone the second biggest Fringe Festival in the world that is an annual Adelaide event. Ben didn’t even mention them last year.
    The forthcoming Melbourne Comedy Festival has a worldwide reputation.
    Not only do these festivals have a direct economic impact on their local communities but also create and showcase the enormous pool of local artistic talent that would otherwise have to seek work overseas.

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