3 Face à Fest
This study explores the relationship between the festival phenomenon and the usage of Facebook. On a long term the outcome of this study can help festivals to increase theefficiency and revenue of their communication and marketing efforts for future editions. Ona short term this study can help to affirm and refute expectations concerning the potentialoutcome of the implementation of Facebook by festival organisations. Expectationsconcerning digital media in relation to festivals can be traced back to the words of formerdirector of Theater Instituut Nederland (TIN) Dragan Klaic
who formulated the potential of digital technology for festivals in his article “The Value of Festival Mapping”. Klaicbelieves “festivals that are willing to experiment with digital technology [have the prospectof securing] a significant secondary audience […] in addition to the primary audienceattending live events” (Klaic 2007, 202). Klaic continues by stating, “internet [sic] hasbrought an opportunity to sustain audience loyalty and interest between the two yearlyeditions” (ibid.). This study finds these words the starting point for further analysis andnarrows the terms ‘Internet’ and ‘digital technology’ down to Social Network Sites (SNSs).The SNS is an online phenomenon that has well secured its place within the culturalmainstream. From an academic perspective it is worth noting that there is “a flurry of academic activity that has already started in the wake of the rise of these highly popularonline phenomenon [and] we are at the crucial moment in the development of this field of study” (Beer 2008). Although there are many different perspectives from which toapproach SNSs this study stays close to the type of research that examines what people dowith it and who they do it with (Ellison et al. 2011). STRP Festival, one of the largestindoor art and technology festivals in Europe, has commissioned this study in order to get abetter understanding of how its audience uses SNSs. Hence this study’s focus upon SNSusage in relation to another proliferating (cultural) phenomenon: the festival. This studydraws on the words of Dragan Klaic when he claims “despite continuous growth of festivals and evident display of their complexity and diversity, there is surprisingly littleresearch in the festival phenomena, especially […] comparative attempts are rare” (Klaic2007, 203). This study does exactly that, comparing two key phenomena, which both havebecome important features of urban life in the twenty-first century.There are several reasons why this study focuses on Facebook instead of other popularSNSs available today. STRP Festival, for one, has strategically chosen Facebook as theirmain channel for online marketing and communication related practices in addition to their
Dr. Dragan Klaic (1950) was director of TIN from 1992 until 2001. He studied dramaturgy in Belgradeand received his doctoral from Yale in 1977. He was affiliated with multiple art and culture faculties of universities across Europe. His professional life evolved around Europe and international cooperation.Dragan Klaic passed away in August of 2011.