In this paper we show how the investment in cultural events may encourage the building of social capital and foster the development of local communities. We rely on a case study we conducted on the socio-economic impact of “La Notte della Taranta” Festival, one of the most important European festivals dedicated to traditional music (about 170,000 participants per year), on the sub-region of southern Italy where it is held. Our evidence is based on a large survey, consisting of nearly 10,000 interviews to Festival attendees over a span of five editions (2007–2011). A primary result is that the initial economic investment in the Festival has brought a short-term return in terms of touristic attraction worth more than two times as much. More importantly, our results indicate that a cultural festival, despite being a mass gathering, is able to create strong bonds among its participants and between them and the area where the event takes place. Although these bonds are “instantaneous”, i.e. temporally restricted to the duration of the event, they are positively correlated with the economic impact of the event on the territory.
The abstract from this paper in the Journal of Socioeconomics (December 2013). The paper is by Giuseppe Attanasi, Fortuna Casoria, Samuele Centorrino, & Giulia Urso. And the title is "Cultural investment, local development and instantaneous social capital: A case study of a gathering festival in the South of Italy."
A draft is here.