This paper critically examines festivals as catalyst for urban regeneration using the case of the Newport Food Festival in Wales. Newport is undergoing one of the largest regeneration programmes in the UK. The Newport Food Festival was created to, among other things, grow the food and drinks sector. Several cities in the UK such as Edinburgh and Nottingham have used festivals as tools for urban regeneration (Hollows et al., 2014; Getz, Andersson & Carlsen, 2010). Indeed, the role of events-led regeneration have long been recognized by city authorities as an important component of the heritage/cultural redesigning and regeneration of the post-industrial areas (Smith, 2012; Duignan, 2013).
As a result, the extant literature on food festivals and urban regeneration have tended to focus on broader urban policy intended to use food festivals to improve the city’s image and change its economic and social fortunes (Evans, 2019; Wilson et al., 2017). But there has been little attention devoted to variety of contexts such as absence of 24-hour city concept associated with the food and drinks sector. This study seeks to fill the gap by examining the effectiveness of using food festivals to instigate urban regeneration.
It concludes, by arguing, that city authorities need to pay attention to two issues. One is the obvious serial replication of similar types of cultural regeneration strategies across the UK. Second, the apparent narrow appeal of food festival means its survival hinge on developing long-term sustainability policies.
Keywords: Urban regeneration|Urban regeneration policies|Newport Food festival|Food festivals|Sustainability