Monday, July 4, 2011

The Festival Economy

I take a special interest in festivals because they form one area of the U.S. economy that is actually growing and looks likely to continue to grow over the next twenty years. Today, Independence Day, is nationally the biggest festival day of the year, with daytime events in almost every town, followed by fireworks displays in places that didn’t already hold them on one of the last three evenings.

Festivals don’t get the economic respect they deserve because at many of them, most of the work is done by unpaid volunteers. The lack of pay means the event won’t show up in the economic statistics but doesn’t diminish the value of what is created. When you look at all the costs involved, festivals are a surprisingly cost-effective experience and community-building exercise, and that is one of the reasons I expect them to continue to expand in the coming years.