Festivals, Tourism & Social Change

Picard &, Robinson, in their edited book, examine how festivals have been created as either a reaction to a particular historical crisis or as a way to remake worlds and social spaces against backgrounds of socio-cultural mobility, dislocation and globalisation. Festivals, broadly defined by Picard and Robinson as 'celebratory events' (p.1), have provided a great opportunity for communities to animate their area, develop more connectivity between people and attempt to cement an old or new identity of the community. Tourism and festivals are presented as having a symbiotic relationship in that their 'encounter' provides more meaning to the other. The rest of the text is divided into an examination of a range of traditional and modern festivals around the world: La Cavalcata Sarda (Sardinia), slavery festivals in La Reunion (Indian Ocean), Pachamama Queens (Mother Earth festival) in Tucuman, Argentina, Notting Hill, Ashbourne football game, Days of Radunica (Split, Croatia), festivals in Greenwich, National Women's Art festival in South Africa, Manos Epos in Kyrgyzstan, recent creation of 'camp oven' and bushmen festivals in Australia, Christmas festivals in South Tyrol, Italy, placenessness of city festivals in UK, gay and lesbian festivals, South Asian Mela V Edinburgh Mela, and finally the large-scale anti-globalisation demonstrations in Quebec (2001), where tourism and carnivals were promoted under the theme of anti-capitalism. The authors trace the history of each festival and the 'life-crisis' that cemented the festival as a regular feature of a community's life. These accounts provided incredible insights into the context of local communities, the relationship between 'festival communities' and tourists, and the conflict that can arise amongst the increasing number of stakeholders as the festival becomes more commercial. The use of visuals in some chapters provided a valuable contribution to the context of that discussion. A more consistent approach to visuals across the book would have proved worthwhile. Overall, this is a fascinating book owing predominantly to its rich coverage of festivals around the world.