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The role of festivals for cities in Hungary

Based on a study he conducted on festivals in Hungary, Peter Inkei tells us why such events are so important for cities.
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In my country in Hungary, there are some– let’s say 300, 400– important cities. It’s not just that they are registered as cities, but they really grew up to the definition, and about the same amount of quality festivals. Well, the distribution is not the same. Still, there are cities without important festivals and other way around. Where there are well-rooted festivals, that’s a great asset to the city, especially if it is not just an imported thing for commercial or for self-realization– ego– reasons. But if it is really rooted in the community– that is, the concept is connected to the city, and if the citizens themselves are involved.
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There are cases not only in cities, but also in rural areas in Hungary– some such festivals are quite famous, which combine few communities– villages– and build upon their traditions. They pull together the citizens. They attract attention from outside, which adds very much to the brand, to the pride of the place. But also it has very important economic role. The arch example of these community-based festivals is Kapolcs– or the Valley of Arts. It’s one village and some neighbouring settlements in the north of the Lake Balaton which has developed really a model of building on local traditions and attracting people to celebrate and to enjoy the local flavours– artistic flavours, national flavours, and so on.
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As for the cities, there is one which is really European-wide a model and a success. That is the Sziget festival– a huge rock festival, but much more than rock. It’s pulling together youth from outside and from inside, from all over Europe. And it offers in addition to rock music, and in addition to living together for a few days, other sorts of cultural offering, and also discussions, theatre, and some good causes have their opportunity to present themselves and recruit supporters.
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So these are the two examples: One small but still very, very successful. And one big, which has success on a measurable economic scale as well.
Based on a study he conducted on festivals in Hungary, Peter Inkei tells us why such events are so important for cities.
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Cultural Heritage and the City

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