Why do we love festivals?

Photo: Kristina Stedul Fabac/PIXSELL

The leaders of the most famous regional festivals, Joe Bašić (Ultra Europe Music Festival), Jovan Marjanović (Sarajevo Film Festival), Ivan M. Petrović (Exit Foundation) and Tomislav Radoš (HGK), gathered on the panel “How do festivals alter destinations?” to talk about the main motives of modern travel and the impact of the festival industry on local tourism. The moderator was Boris Kovaček, director of Pepermint.

“The creative industry sector that is being formed around the EXIT festival makes up an entire base of interdisciplinary sciences in the fields of communication, promotion, and advertising. In the end, this generates much more income for Novi Sad than the revenues generated by the festival alone,” said Ivan M. Petrović, president of the board of directors of the EXIT Foundation.

“Festivals really have a tremendous economic impact on destinations. However, there is also a very significant social effect as well. Today, Sarajevo is known for the Film Festival, and no longer just for the unpleasant historical events that have been associated with the city. The festival is a positive example of an event that attracts different visitors with its diverse program and thus greatly contributes to the recognition of the entire city,” explained Jovan Marjanovic, producer of the Sarajevo Film Festival.

How much festivals mean for the economy of the host city is evident by the fact that “in Split, before Ultra there were about 150 taxis during the summer season, today there are over 2,000,” explained Joe Bašić, founder and director of MPG and organizer of the Ultra Europe Music Festival.

Tomislav Radoš, vice president for industry at the Croatian Chamber of Economy, said that it is important to hire people specifically to show in numbers exactly how festivals affect the development and economy of host cities.

Some of the most important people in the regional festival industry agreed that without festivals, there is no cultural and economic growth and that countries should have a standardized model according to which they accurately plan the festivals they support. It is also a positive fact that many other cities recognize what is happening in Split, Sarajevo, and Novi Sad, and are therefore considering hosting festivals as a means of attracting new visitors.