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Motives for Festival Participation

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Tourism
Wordcount: 2958 words Published: 23rd Sep 2019

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The Motives and Participation Surrounding Festivals


In this review of the literature on events and festivals, it is important to understand the motives and participation in festivals so festivals and other events know what can draw in more visitors. The articles help show that understanding the motivation of tourists is key to helping improve management, tourism marketing and promotion, designing new offers to help meet the desires/motives of tourists, and helping organizers prepare to the program to meet those needs/motives. Many studies including the literatures used share similar motivation domains which make up the current motivation scale. This study will further advance why the study behind understanding motivations is important so that they can be used to attract more visitors and tourists. This literature review will discuss the motivation domains and some of the reasonings why studying motivations is important.

Articles on Events

 One article dealing with motivations of participants to an event is ­­­Crompton, McKay (1997). In this article, the authors investigate what motivates people to attend festival events. The authors find that visitors may have several needs that they desire to satisfy by attending festivals. They find that there are three reasons for putting effort into better understanding a visitors’ motive. First, is that it is key to be to design offers for visitors as festivals can be designed to meet visitors’ needs if they are identified. Second, motivations lie in close relationship with satisfaction as motives happen before the experience and the rate of satisfaction comes after. If the needs of visitors’ and tourists’ are fulfilled then there should be knowledge of needs that the festival should seek to satisfy. Finally, identifying and prioritizing the motives of tourists’ and visitors’ is the key ingredient in understanding one’s decision process and it likely to improve effectiveness in other areas such as marketing.

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Crompton, McKay (1997) find that “motivation is one of the least researched areas in tourism and that festivals are now widely recognized as one of the fastest growing types of attractions”. According to Crompton and McKay Uysal, Gahan, Martin found five motivation domains after conducting a survey using 174 visitor samples: escape, fulfillment/thrills, event novelty, socialization, and family togetherness. These same five motivation domains were found in a study completed by Mohr, Backman, Gahan, and Backman using a sample of 458 visitors. Their study extended Uysal, Gahan, Martins’ study in four ways. First, is the study assesses the utility of the escape-seeking dichotomy, and the push-pull factors framework. Second, the study follows the classic scale development process in order to derive the measuring instrument. Third, it explores motives across substantial numbers and ranges of events. Finally a large sample was used with data collected from different locations at different times of the day. Two other studies were done that they researched that report the relevance of novelty as a motivation.

In order to come to this conclusion, the researchers compared multiple studies done at different events and compared surveys taken during those studies’ and at a festival done by the Fiesta San Antonio Commission. “One of the study’s objectives was to assess the extent to which the perceived relevance of motives changed across different types of events” (Crompton, McKay, 1997: 436). Respondents were given surveys during all of the studies. The results found that respondents who attend music events were less motivated by factors that motivated food event attendees. Overall, Crompton and McKay (1997) were able to determine that while there were significant differences that emerged between the different surveys the overall review of the data is to note that there are pervasive similarities of motives across different events. The results of all the surveys show the importance of taking into account multiple motives.

 Another article dealing with the same topic was by Cudny, Ogórek (2014). In this article, the authors investigate what motivates people to attend the Mediaschool Festival in Łódź Poland. The authors find that the festivals provide an opportunity for filmmakers, distributors, critics, and other interested parties to attend showings. The aim of the study is to establish who and why one attends a festival and to use the knowledge learned to improve the management of the festival. ‘A decision to visit a festival is a directed action which is triggered by a desire to meet a need’ (Crompton, McKay, 1997: 425). There are seven groups of motivations that are frequently mentions in event publication studies: event novelty, nature appreciation, relaxation and leisure, entertainment, social factors, cultural exploration, and escape from everyday routine. The authors find that festivals play a role in creating social capital which involves the use of norms, trust, information, social organizations, channels, and human relations for mutual benefit. Social capital can be influenced as they gather people who have similar interests and can be thought of as a community asset that does not remain stable.

The authors find that festivals are meeting places for people who represent different branches of the film industry and are the import for the world of cinema. The aim of the festival is to restructure the city through culture and to improve its unfavorable image. The authors find that part of this festival is a competition which dozens of students’ worldwide feature their films, animated movies, and documentaries that they have submitted, to which an international jury assess the films entered and decide a winner. The structure of the festival the authors find, is geared mainly toward film students and specialists in the film industry/production. Festival enables attendees to experience the culture and film art from all over the world and are able to meet interesting and new people. visitors have an opportunity at the festival to meet special guests and develop social contacts during the festival which contributes to the enhancement of personal development and the possible development of future careers through contacts. The authors also find that some visitors’ and tourists’ were motivated to attend the festival out curiosity/novelty, this is important because it is arousing interest for the festival.

In order to come to this conclusion, the researchers conducted a survey questionnaire as well as direct observation as their study methods. In order to learn that the only element needing improvement at the festival is the information system currently only being promoted by word-of-mouth, invitations, the website, and local/regional media which can be an easy fix. The authors find that tourists have positive experiences while at the festival which they associated with the city, and promote the destination and event when telling others.

 Another article dealing with the same topic was by Egresi, Kara, (2014). In this article, the authors investigate what motivates people to attend small-scale events compared to large-scale events. The authors find that understanding motivation is important for tourism promotion and marketing and designing products/services to satisfy motivation is critical in maintaining high levels of satisfaction and visitors’ returning. The authors study whether or not the existing motivation scale could be considered universally valid.

Identifying the needs of attendees also allow organizers to prepare program in order to meet the needs of those attending. The authors find that there are two major theories that studies have built their frameworks on: the push and pull theory and the seeking and escaping theory. The push and pull theory are motivated to travel by push and pull factors and push factors also help to determine the destination the tourists visit. The seeking and escaping theory says that people travel outside their locality of residence to escape their stressful lives and are seeking personal rewards and relaxation. There are two major considerations when it comes to motivations: extrinsic which is outside the person and intrinsic which is inside the person. The authors find that many studies share very similar motivation domains and generally visitors are driven to attend special events by multiple and complex motives. They also find that there were differences in motivations that exists for gender, education level, and age.

In order to come to this conclusion, the researchers conducted surveys from different events that were all chosen due to them addressing different demographics/market. The results of the surveys show the dominance of the motivation domain novelty/uniqueness/thrills/excitement and cultural experiences which the authors find support what other studies have also found. The results of the tests also show the dominance of seeking factors. The authors find that there are differences in motivations and the strengths for attending different types of events. Overall, Egresi, Kara (2014) find that the existence of the current set of motivations being universally valid are true, and with minor modifications to the scale could easily be transferred from one place to another and can be good for both large-scale and small scale events.

Another article dealing with the same topic was by Matheson, Rimmer, Tinsley (2014). In this article, the authors investigate the spiritual attitudes and motivations of people at the Beltane Fire Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. The authors find that commentators suggest that festivals and events are able to enhance destination image, diversify the attraction bases, and promote and stimulate the development of tourism. Getz (2008: 403) states that “events are important motivator of tourism, and figure prominently in the development and marketing plans of most destinations”. The authors find that there are challenges regarding the complexity of a tourists needs and the interrelationship between one’s motivation and other constructs, such as attitudes. Attitudes are the foundation to understand ones motivation and behavior, but other studies have paid limited attention to this area. Three motivation framework have been found and used with the development of motivation: push-pull factors, Iso-Ahola’s escape-seeking dichotomy, and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

The authors find through their studies that there are similar or common motivations along all of them: cultural exploration, excitement and novelty, socialization, family togetherness, and escape/equilibrium recovery. There is a broad pattern that people go to different events for different reason and the changes in motivation happen according to the event and visitor type as well as there are differences between first-time and returning visitors and locals and non-locals. The authors find that attitudes involve affective, cognitive, and conative aspects and that most investigators assess attitudes by the evaluative element along dimensions that are determined by one’s approval or disapproval. The authors find that attitudes can change over a period of time; and events may/can affect the relationship between attitudes and behaviors. Attitudes, images, and behaviors can help to predict future behavior and satisfaction of tourists. The authors also find that motivation has an influence on attitude and expectation which leads to motivation having an effect on visitors/tourists’ attitude towards visiting a destination.

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In order to come to this conclusion, the researchers conducted surveys during the Beltane Fire Festival even when time was a restriction and collected 375 surveys. The results of the surveys show that non-Scottish residents who completed the survey came to Edinburgh for leisure, to attend the festival, or to visit family and friends, with leisure being the main reason. The results also show that there is a role for spirituality in concert with motivations in understanding ones audience. The authors find that there is evidence that either or both links from motivation to attitude and from attitude to motivation should be involved. Matheson et al (2014) finds that the current research done creates four contributions to tourism management: contributes to the current body of knowledge about the motivation of visitors, confirms the value of the existing motivation scale, contributes to an understanding of the interplay between motivations and attitudes, and points to the value of understanding research in unusual environments.


 The literature illustrates generally that motivations are on the least researched areas in tourism and that festivals are becoming widely recognized as one of the fastest growing types of attractions. The literature also illustrates that there are different events that satisfy different motivations and needs of visitors and tourists. One thing in common is the methods typically used to learn about motivation and the motivation domains. All of the literature used surveys to help conduct their research and they all found that the existing motivation scale can be used as well as the fact that understanding motivation is important in order to understand tourism promotion, marketing, and visitors’ needs and desires. Another thing in common is that the literatures all agree that there common motivations: novelty, socialization, family togetherness, escape, and culture exploration. The literature also shows that events are an important motivator for tourism in helping in the development and marketing plans and that there are three motivational frameworks that are studied in each case: the push-pull factors, escape-seeking dichotomy & Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and Iso-Ahola. These literatures found that motivation is internal factor that affects a person’s behavior and is something that is crucial to understand for three reasons. First, understanding motivations is key to designing concepts that visitors’ like and creating products/services that they will enjoy. Second, is that motives lie in close relationship with the satisfaction level of a visitor/tourist as motives occur before the experience and satisfaction comes afterwards. Third, identifying and prioritizing the motives of visitors and tourists is a key concept in understanding their decision process and getting them to come back. While three articles focused on large-scale events, one focused on small-scale events to see if the motivation scale used for large-scale can apply to small-scale events as well. The literature found that with a few minor modifications to the current motivation scale, it could easily be used from one place to another and be good for both large- and small-scale events.


In terms of the research literature on motivations and festivals, it seems that many of the motivations of visitors and tourists are determined by the event that they are going to and what they are wanting from the event. What literature can tell us is that it may be wise to add in a question in regarding the marketing of different events. The literatures shows that events should focus on marketing and promoting aspects some more as that helps to contribute ot greater customer satisfaction, it encourages visitors and tourists to return, and could help to gain new visitors.

The Mediaschool in Poland authors state that the only element regarding the event that needs important is the festival information system which is easily fixed, while the Beltane Fire Festival authors find that a more focused and targeted market strategy could help assist them in attracting a wide range of visitors and tourists. The literature helps show that surveys are a productive method to use when determining the motives for visitors attending the festivals if it is timed right as they all used surveys to help gather data as well as surveys from others to help support their argument. These literatures help show that understanding the reasons behind motivations is important for many reasons as visitors and tourists have different motivations depending on the tourist and type of event that is being attended. Overall, understanding the motives of visitors and tourists and their satisfaction would help to inform future development of the event, customer retention ideas, and new ideas to target what is desired.


Crompton, J. L., & Mckay, S. L. (1997). Motives of visitors attending festival events. Annals of Tourism Research, 24(2), 425-439.

Cudny, W., & Ogórek, P. (2014). Segmentation and motivations of the attendees’ of the Mediaschool Festival in Łódź, Poland. Bulletin of Geography. Socio-economic Series, 24(24), 41-56.

Egresi, I., & Kara, F. (2014). Motives of tourists attending small-scale events: The case of three local festivals and events in Instanbul, Turkey. GeoJournal of Tourism and Geosites, 14(2), 93-110.

Matheson, C. M., Rimmer, R., & Tinsley, R. (2014). Spiritual attitudes and visitor motivations at the Beltane Fire Festival, Edinburgh. Tourism Management,44, 16-33.


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