Jan Hendrik STANDER, North-West University , South Africa
In line with international trends, the South African festival offering proliferated in recent decades with about 1000 festivals held annually (pre-COVID-19). In conjunction with this trend, post-Apartheid era South Africa has seen the development of a unique Afrikaans language themed arts festival phenomenon, which was the focus of this investigation. Data were collected at five of the most prominent Afrikaans arts festivals in the form of in depth face-to-face interviews, signalling a qualitative research approach. Three types of stakeholders were identified; attendees, contributing stakeholders and management. Attendee travel behaviour showed that northern attendees were more inclined to travel than their southern counterparts. Contributing stakeholders were found to be the most mobile and could be divided into distinct groups based on their annual itineraries hereby making the largest contribution to the geographies of these arts festivals. Management were found to be the least mobile, yet they contributed to the shared geographies by cooperating in the production of new shared arts content. Various other themes emerged from the data including perceptions of festival spaces, festival impacts, cultural dimensions, audience development, attendee experiences, spaces of exclusivity, festival ranking etc. These insights led to an improved understanding of the geographies of Afrikaans arts festivals, and as all the data were gathered pre-COVID-19, these can contribute towards a valuable baseline for future arts festival research.
Keywords: Tourism geography|Afrikaans arts festivals|Cultural expression|Stakeholder spatiality|Festival management