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Celebration of Extreme Playfulness: Ekstremsportveko at Voss

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This study aims to explore the central success factors behind the growth and prosperity of festivals. In line with resource dependency theory and the model of competitive strategies, it was assumed that successful festivals both adapt to, and influence, their contexts to their own advantage while also providing benefits for their environment. A capital framework was employed to examine the relationships between a successful festival and its context, employing a case study design and multiple methods. The case chosen was Extreme Sports Week, an annual extreme sports festival at Voss, Norway, which has become the largest extreme sports event worldwide during its 10 years of existence. It brings together sports and forms of cultural expression concentrating mainly on new trends in advanced sports activities and street culture music, combined with local food traditions. Factors in its success are the six “capitals” of the region: natural, human, social, cultural, physical, and financial. The festival balances the exploitation of these capitals, although indirectly with respect to natural capital, hence constituting an example of sustainability in festival management. Interestingly, the festival was successful in spite of very limited access to local financial capital. The analysis also revealed that a seventh capital construct - administrative capital - is relevant to the understanding of festival development. However, this form of capital was the only one where investments were perceived as problematic, and the festival repaid far more than the authorities had invested in the event.

Keywords: Festival management; Voss; cultural capital; extreme sports; human capital; social capital; sustainability

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Norwegian School of Hotel Management, University of Stavanger, Norway

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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