The carnivalesque and event evolution: a study of the Beltane Fire Festival
Matheson, Catherine M.
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Matheson, C. & Tinsley, R. (2016) The carnivalesque and event evolution: a study of the Beltane Fire Festival. Leisure Studies, 35 (1), pp. 1-27.
This paper centres on the Beltane Fire Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. The objectives are to: first, identify the stages of the festival's evolution and their respective characteristics; second, distinguish features corresponding to the carnivalesque; and, finally, examine the changes in event evolution, particularly regulatory interventions, and their effect. A qualitative approach comprising interviews with internal and external festival stakeholders was utilised. It is argued that there are three stages in the festival's evolution: revival and early development; development and regulation; and, maturation. The characteristics of these evolutionary stages are identified. As the festival has developed and been subject to increasing regulation, features of the carnivalesque have been reduced.