Events tend to have a large impact on the location where they are held. Whether a big or small event, a one-off or a repeating series of events, or a brand new event with a new purpose, events have a unique power and leave their mark. When utilized properly, events make cities better for a handful of reasons.
Let’s take a look at 3 of the biggest reasons they do:
Events are a great way to drive the economy of the city or small town where they are held. For larger events where visitors travel from other locations to attend, the event can be a temporary economic boom of tourism for local businesses. For example, the towns of Manchester, Tennessee and Indio, California are not sprawling, urban landscapes. They are smaller towns that have a local population and are seen most of the year by drivers passing through on their way to a larger destination. However, when these towns hold the annual Bonnaroo and Coachella Music Festivals respectively, their towns bring in a ton of financial income through the temporary tourism of almost 100,000 music-loving attendees each! That’s a lot of profit to be had for one weekend. For example, the Times Free Press reported that Bonnaroo brought $51 million to Manchester, TN in 2012 alone. That’s a ton of money for a town with a population of just over 10,000 people!
On top of bringing in a substantial amount of income over the course of one day, the weekend, or whatever the duration of the event, the location will have a new reputation. Unique and/or large events can essentially ‘put small towns on the map’. I, for example, had never heard of the town of Manchester, Tennessee other than through the festival information, and I even lived in Nashville for a brief stint! Keeping with our examples, most music lovers associate Indio and Manchester immediately with their respective music festivals, even though the towns clearly have more to offer throughout the rest of the year.
Events give their host location an identity and a style that people can rally around. By increasing tourism and giving the location a unique flavor, new companies, restaurants, and other businesses can be created that are following the culture formed through events. For example, the music, film, art, and digital festival South By Southwest (SXSW) has become a huge part of the culture in Austin, Texas. This has sparked the start of various event companies, florists, restaurants, and more that have built themselves around the culture that SXSW has helped to cultivate in Austin. Working with the city’s government, city public officials, and more can help facilitate the planning process and you can work together to develop the culture your event is hoping to inspire in the city. Another example near our home office is the City of Mesa. They host an annual family-friendly festival celebrating the history of the city by bringing together locals for family fun, including music, carnival rides, food, giveaways, and more.
Do you think events make your city a better place? Do you wish your city had a unique, flagship event that aligned with its reputation and culture? Let us know in the comments!