The Ideas Factory is an experienced events producer. But behind the fun side of the industry there is a more serious debate about why do we need events in the first place. The Ideas Factory believes that events are exceptionally important to the local and regional economy as well as public and private sector self promotion.

Embodied in all its events work, The Ideas Factory takes a serious analytical look before it embarks upon a project.

What follows is a brief précis of a piece of work undertaken recently by Michael Chubb, Director of The Ideas Factory, looking at the role of events and why towns and cities need them as part of their social, cultural and marketing strategies. if you are reading this as an existing events organisor much of it will be known to you.

However if you are new to the events game or are currently trying to persuade someone that putting on an event is a good idea then the following might be useful to you as a basic arguement.


Entertainment’s and events are increasingly seen as both community access schemes extending local involvement and as unique tourist attractions and destination image makers. (s.getz)

Ranging in scale and diversity from major hall mark events that contribute to national profiling and pride, such as the Rugby World Cup, Euro Summit, Network Q, Calennig, the Cardiff Singer of the World, The Cardiff International Festival of Music Theatre, The Wales International Film Festival to those at present that relate to its community constituents, Cardiff Festival, Cardiff at Christmas and community festivals and programmes in city centre spaces, parks, play schemes and facilities; events constitute one of the most exciting relevant and fastest growing forms of leisure and tourism phenomena.

Their special appeal stems in part from the innate uniqueness of each event which distinguishes them from fixed attractions, and their celebratory and festival ambience which elevates them above normal life and experience (s.getz)

Who attends and why are central to any events programme. The cultural life of a city emanates from its communities and should reflect their interests, identity and the larger world of which they are part (s.getz)

It is essential therefore that all sections of the community should have access no matter what their social cultural or financial position may be. Equality of access promotes a sense of belonging and encourages expression, self esteem and identity

They help secure your future

• Are a significant and dynamic sector of a region supporting tourism, destination planning, income generation, job creation and sustainability and inward investment and require long term investment
• Are a direct stimulus to visitors which strengthens image building and region/city/town profiling and provides value and benefits in the competitive business relocation stakes
• Promotes and supports community participation and pride

They help tackle inequality, discrimination and disadvantage

• Deliver quantifiable results measured against community aspirations for development
• Reflect social and cultural values that have broad subscription and relevance to community aspirations
• Provide an accessible service that is non discriminatory and relevant to their audience
• Deliver accessible programming irrespective of the social/cultural and financial circumstances of its audience

They involve local people

• Can be designed to be relevant to the communities serviced
• Reflect the wishes of the populace as crucial to the planning process and integral to a sense of ownership and pride
• Encourage dialogue and partnership through celebration of cultural diversity as an asset of the city

They improve quality of life

• Create an awareness of community and identity that encourages a sense of belonging and pride
• Provide opportunities for individuals and communities to develop skills, understanding and confidence and reflect and support the needs of the community to deliver events pertinent to their lifestyles and aspirations
• Are by direction open and accessible in line with the social, cultural and economic circumstances of their audience
• Extend educational fulfilment, life long learning and leisure opportunities and are a source of enjoyment


The range of events delivered fall into four distinctive categories

Community Lead

Public celebration and participation can be valued as contributing to a city’s portfolio of attractions. Events can be seen as contributing to cultural, health and community development. Community events help to foster leadership, self esteem, identity, organisational skills, expertise and networking. Events enhance and embrace a community’s social and cultural values. Access to quality programming empowers the community whether as recipients or providers, to be part of the development of their city.

Events can and do influence the city’s identity and can give a lasting impression

Community events
support inter-group mixing by offering cross cultural experiences
foster better communication and understanding by creating shared experiences
contribute to better understanding of cross directorate policy by inclusion in the management process
foster leadership and self esteem by providing a shared ownership in event management
help provide a ‘ feel good factor’ by creating an exciting and relevant service
enhance social and cultural values by providing challenging and informative programmes

Community events range in size and complexity ranging from cultural festivals such as community pageants and local carnivals - where local authority officers work directly with community leaders from the start of the project to ensure a successful outcome to a complete range of community activities/events developed by the community themselves

Local authority Lead

Many authorities deliver a wide range of leisure and corporate initiatives. Many of these are cross directorate, supporting the aims and policy initiatives of a number of council departments. Again these range in scale and diversity.

Small to Medium – ie community festivals

Large - ie Summer Festivals, Festival of the sea

The larger scale projects can take up to a year to plan and are almost exclusively envisioned and run by the local authority

City lead events

Increase civic pride and provide opportunities for National and International media coverage
Deliver opportunities for cross directorate working
Create opportunities to create partnerships with the private sector
Reflect the aspirant needs of the community
Leverage of private sector funding through sponsorship and commercial activity

Independent sector lead – non commercial

Events have considerable potential for supporting local and national initiatives. They can be either solely run by the organisation, or delivered in association with public sector partners.

Independent sector non commercial led events range in size and complexity, ranging from BBC Children in Need, The Lord Mayors Parade to BBC Singer of the World Party In the park, The urdd Eisteddfodd and The Cardiff Mardi Gras

These events highlight charitable aims, service commodity profiling and focus activity upon social and cultural programmes ie Ty Hafn ,Cruffs 10k
Deliver regional profiling within a national context ie Sustrains launch, BBC Children In Need, Red Nose day

Independent sector lead – Commercial

These events are delivered solely by companies who have a financial imperative for their success. Organisers work closely with the local authority as a condition of their licence but do not require any other support for the events creation /delivery.

Providing corporations or other organisation with the opportunity to invest in an event for the purposes of reaching an identified audience. Opportunities exist in this category not only for investing in existing events ie: Festival of the seal but also those tailor made to suit the commercial organisation i.e.: Network Q rally

Commercial collaboration heightens awareness of operators’ product and service and improves their community image and relationship whilst offering the local authority an opportunity to deliver a wider ranging programme that cannot be afforded in today’s financial climate

Independent sector commercial led events range in size and complexity, from Millennium stadium rock events to those taking place in existing event venues. Almost totally these take place in housed venues and there is little or no requirement for organisers to consider either the impact of their event on the host city nor to have any marketing relationship.

These events:

• Deliver regional/national and International profiling for the city
• Provide ancillary spend within the footprint of the event
• Help market the host town/city to those outside

Co-producing and Partnership

Offers tangible benefits to both the local authority and the co-producer. Working in partnership with local arts producers for instance can support the strategic development of the organisations programme and brand image.

For the local authority co-producing partnership can enhance considerably the effectiveness and quality of its own investment. Delivery of events which draw high quality organisation and content to Cardiff gives residents and visitors alike the opportunity to experience activities which lie outside their normal day to day life style.




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