This research was conducted by Emma Webster and George McKay at the University of East Anglia


The UK is home to an estimated 200 jazz festivals. In an assessment of the literature around these diverse events, this research highlights their manifold impacts: from catalysing economic growth through to expanding social networks and supporting new musical talent.

Festivals play a significant economic, social and cultural role at local and international levels

The authors collated a vast amount of research to generate a typology of the impacts of jazz festivals. They found that festivals play an important role in tourism through their ability to attract audiences and funding sources, both in terms of sponsorship and stimulating local economies during such events. At times, jazz has provided a political platform in the fight for civil rights. More widely, it was noted that jazz festivals strengthen social bonds and provide a cause for celebration, often having a transformative effect on their location and audience. For musicians, festivals were identified as key opportunities for artistic development and showcasing up-and-coming talent.

Jazz festivals have become ‘ubiquitous’ within tourism and place marketing campaigns

As well as providing a digest of existing research in the area, the authors seek to stimulate further research on the subject of jazz festivals and their impact around areas such as the environmental effects of festivals, the gender imbalance of performers, and the effects such events can have on black culture in terms of artist and audience perspectives. Overall, jazz festivals are deemed to be socially and musically stimulating and engaging.

This summary is by Adina Stroia, King's Knowledge Exchange Associate

Title The impact of (jazz) festivals: An Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded research report
Author(s) Webster, E., McKay, G.
Publication date 2015
Source Jazz Research Journal, Vol 9, No 2