|The primary objective of this study was to determine the role of the host community in the marketing of arts festivals with reference to the Grahamstown National Arts Festival. This goal was achieved firstly by analysing the relationship between the events industry and the community. Secondly, a literature study was conducted to explore the role of the community in tourism marketing. Thirdly, a survey was done to determine the perceptions of the community in terms of the marketing of the Festival as well as the social impact thereof.
From previous studies it was found that the local community can be seen as a group of people of different gender, race, age and different race and social groups living together in a certain geographic area. The local community is the main suppliers of an event; they provide many of the businesses, public places and hospitality services used by tourists and visitors at an event. Staff, volunteers and many other resources come from the local community.
The attitude of the local community towards the Festival is proven to be important. Positive attitudes are associated with economic and social benefits gained from the event. The attitude of the local community can influence their behaviour towards tourists as well as their message spread concerning the event, through word-of-mouth communication. They can influence the buying behaviour of tourists and visitors.
Research was undertaking at Grahamstown National Arts Festival to determine the perceptions and attitudes of the local community towards the Festival and the marketing thereof. This was determined by means of a questionnaire as adopted from Fredline, Jago and Deery. It was distributed among the local community according to a stratified random sampling procedure. A total of 265 questionnaires were completed by residents.
Firstly, the data was used to compile tables and graphs with a view to interpret the descriptive data: demographic information as well as perceptions and attitudes of the local community towards the Festival and the marketing thereof. It was found that the Festival has a positive impact on their personal lives as well as on the community as a whole. Positive and negative social impacts were identified, which indicates that the community are aware of the impacts: positive, including the range of things to do in Grahamstown has improved (80%), the number of people in the area has increased (80%) and there are more opportunities to meet new people (80%). The highest rated negative social impacts include the fact that the availability of parking
has decreased (79%), that the public money spent on the Festival would be better spent on other things (43%) and that ordinary residents get no say in the planning and management of the Festival (50%).
In terms of the marketing, the local community markets the Festival verbally by telling friends and family about it and also by attending the Festival themselves. However, the local community feel that they should be more involved in the planning and marketing of the Festival.
Secondly, a factor analysis was performed with a view to synthesise the large amount of data concerning the perceptions and marketing of the Festival in smaller, more descriptive factors. These factors were used to determine the role of the community in the marketing of the Festival. The factor analysis yielded a 2-factor solution and the factors were labelled: Factor 1: Verbal marketing of the Festival; Factor 2: Action marketing of the Festival. Thirdly, a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted to explore the impact of the variables: age, gender, race, income, level of education, attitudes towards continuation of the Festival, attendance of the current festival, attendance of previous festivals, level of interest in the Festival, length of stay in Grahamstown, attitudes towards living in Grahamstown on the dimensions Verbal and Active marketing, as determined in the factor analysis. It was found that a medium effect exists between the middle-aged group and the older-age group on the Verbal marketing dimension. A medium effect also exists between the black and Asian respondents on the dimension Verbal marketing. There is a large effect between attendance of the Festival and Verbal marketing but a medium effect on the dimension Action marketing.
A large effect was determined between avid fans and those that are not interested but attend occasionally, between avid fans and those who have no interest in the Festival, between those that are interested and attend some aspects of the Festival and those that are not interested but attend, those that are interested and attend and those that are not interested, on the Verbal marketing dimension. A medium effect was discovered between avid fans of the Festival and those that attended some of the aspects of the Festival, and those that are not interested but attend some aspects, and those that are not interested at all, on the Verbal marketing dimension.
On the Verbal marketing dimension a medium effect was determined between the following: A medium effect was determined between avid fans of the Festival and those that attended some of the aspects of the Festival, avid fans and those that are not interested but attend occasionally, those that are interested and attend and those that are not interested, on the Action marketing dimension.
This study contributes to the information that already exists concerning the role of the community in the marketing of arts festivals and on marketing communication research.