Although “amateur spectators” as a growing segment is mentioned in a number of special interest event studies, our understanding of their behaviour is still limited to case-specific descriptions, and convenience explanations. This paper attempts to conceptualize and explore
further the segment of “casual observers” by integrating several non-adjacent theoretical areas. This endeavour intersects festival and event motivation studies, sport marketing literature and sporting subcultures from leisure sociology. Following a mixed method methodology, the
paper presents both qualitative and quantitative data to illuminate attendee characteristics of a special event, namely, the world's largest extreme sports festival. Results indicate that beyond two previously documented motivational inclinations directed at the sport or the event respectively,
there exists a third type of visitor (experimentalists) who are mostly motivated by attaining intrinsical goals, such as identity construction by consuming “fetish” items at a niche festival. The paper concludes with an evaluation of the marketing potential of this group and discusses
the implications for event sport event segmentation.