Exploring the Success of the Gladmatfestival (The Stavanger Food Festival)

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Food festivals play a minor role in the recent Norwegian surplus of festivals. As niche events they face less competition than the dominating field of music festivals, however their success cannot be taken for granted. The purpose of this study was to illuminate success factors of festivals by presenting a case study of the Gladmatfestival in Stavanger, Norway, which has been arranged annually since 1999 and has attracted positive attention and 250,000 visitors, and been financially successful. Data were collected by interviews, observation and document studies. It is concluded that the festival's success depends mainly upon its embedment in a strong network of food and meal-producing institutions and organizations, restaurants and outstanding chefs. The network depends upon a tradition of food production in the area, and from the outset local food produce has been at the heart of the Gladmatfestival. The scope of the festival has developed from regional to national and Nordic coverage, and it reaches out with activities and network development to the Nordic region and also internationally. While networking has been essential, careful research and entrepreneurial leadership placed within a simple and cheap organizational structure have been the second and third reasons for the success. Taken together, the leadership, networking and food-oriented context have made sponsoring and donations available and up to 100 exhibitors have been willing to pay each year for their stands at the festival.

Keywords: Food festival; Gladmatfestival; Stavanger; entrepreneurial networks; entrepreneurship; festival management; festival success factors

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15022250903031550

Affiliations: 1: Norsk Reiselivshøgskole, Oslo 2: Norwegian School of Hotel Management, University of Stavanger, Stavanger, Norway

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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