Re-imaging arts festivals through a corporate lens: a case study of business sponsorship at the Henley Festival.
Finkel, R. (2010) Re-imaging arts festivals through a corporate lens: a case study of business sponsorship at the Henley Festival., Managing Leisure, vol. 15, , pp. 237-250,
This paper explores the impacts commercialisation processes have on contemporary arts festivals by analysing their increasing reliance on private sector funding sources, such as business sponsorship. A case study of the Henley Festival demonstrates the effects that being primarily dependent on corporate subsidies can have on the 'look and feel' of a festival. Research methods include a survey sent to 117 UK arts festival organisers to discern audience demographics, programming, funding and future plans. Case study methods include in-depth interviews with the Artistic Director and Marketing Director of the Henley Festival, as well as participant and direct observation of the festival, which was recorded in a personal research diary. Main conclusions suggest that the Henley Festival is exclusionary for many of the local population and classical arts enthusiasts, who are often alienated from the festival as a result of its emphasis on garnering corporate support and providing corporate entertainment.