Festival Places Revitalising Rural Australia Edited by: Chris Gibson, John Connell

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25 Jan 2011
Tourism and Cultural Change
Channel View Publications
210 x 148


Festivals have burgeoned in rural areas, revitalising old traditions and inventing new reasons to celebrate. How do festivals contribute to tourism, community and a rural sense of belonging? What are their cultural, environmental and economic dimensions? This book answers such questions - featuring contributions from leading geographers, historians, anthropologists, tourism scholars and cultural researchers. It draws on a range of case studies: from the rustic charm of agricultural shows and family circuses to the effervescent festival of Elvis Presley impersonators in Parkes; from wildflower collecting to the cosmopolitan beats of ChillOut, Australia’s largest non-metropolitan gay and lesbian festival. Festivals as diverse as youth surfing carnivals, country music musters, Aboriginal gatherings in the remote Australian outback, Scottish highland gatherings and German Christmas celebrations are united in their emphasis on community, conviviality and fun.


Festival Places is a rich and diverse collection of studies of the function of the cultural festival in constructing place and community in rural Australia. While deeply grounded in its individual case studies, the mix of disciplines and methodologies demonstrate the value of continually seeking new ways to perform cultural research. This is both a fascinating and an extremely useful book.

- Graeme Turner, University of Queensland, Australia

Gibson and Connell’s volume on festivals provides a wide angle perspective on what is going on ‘out there’. Academics and students, community development practitioners, government policy-makers, are among those who will be interested in the insights, strategies, and festival outcomes that are discussed...while the volume focuses exclusively on Australia, it is a useful reference for identifying and understanding what is occurring in relation to festivals elsewhere in the world, notably in rural North America and Europe. The in-depth discussions entered into with the case studies provide rich snapshots of the challenges and opportunities that go hand-in-hand with rural community and regional economic development.

- Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change, 10:4, 341-343 - Suzanne de la Barre, Umeå University, Sweden

Author Biography:

Chris Gibson is Professor in Human Geography at the University of Wollongong. John Connell is Professor of Geography at the University of Sydney. For well over a decade they have been researching and writing about music, tourism and festivals in Australia and beyond. More recently they were part of a team undertaking Australiaâ??s largest ever study of rural festivals, with 480 festivals participating in the research. Insights from that research project feature throughout this book.

John Connell is Professor of Geography and Head of the School of Geosciences, University of Sydney. His research interests span mobility, tourism, music and place identities. He has published widely on urbanisation, migration, and tourism. His books Sydney: Emergence of a World City (Oxford University Press, 2000) and Small Worlds, Global Lives: Islands and Migration (Pinter, 1999).

Readership Level:

General, Research / Professional, Undergraduate

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