Get to know the EFFE Community - Chapter 4: Applications and motivations

13 September, 2017

The Budapest Observatory studied the EFFE labelled festivals 2017-2018. We shared already 3 chapters with some insights into the festivals with the EFFE Label. Last but not least, the Budapest Observatory analyzed the applications for the EFFE Labael and in particular the motivations behind them.

For the second edition of the EFFE Label Nearly half (47%) of the 715 festivals are repeaters: they have re-applied for the EFFE label. We consider them the real core of the community. Two thirds of the EFFE festivals in the Nordic countries are re-appliers, almost as much is the share in the Baltic region. Conversely, in the western Balkans three quarters are new; also in the four Visegrad countries 60% of the EFFE labels went to newcomers to the club – and all seven from Georgia and Ukraine are new.

What the applying festivals wrote about their motivation – why they aspire for the label, what they expect from EFFE – promises not only important guidance for those in charge of the programme, but helps draw a sensitive picture about this community of festivals. 472 festivals explained their expectations toward the EFFE Label while the others simply explained why they organize their festival or left the question unanswered.

The nature of the benefits to gain from the EFFE distinction can be of two broad types: symbolic and pragmatic.  The symbolic values dominate the statements on motivation.  The significance of belonging to a community is voiced most often, followed by the quest for visibility and recognition of the festival’s achievement. An avowal to European values is sometimes stated.

Certainly, networking and visibility imply advantages that are mentioned in general terms. Networking offers chances for exchanging experiences and ideas for the future; the distinction raises the standing of the festival including in the eyes of the general public, and represents an inspiration to maintain or raise further the achieved level.

A smaller part of the responses define more concrete goals, such as growth in the number of visitors, common marketing or exchanges of performers and productions.

Here are the 9 shades of motivation identified:

1)   Networking, the desire to belong to a community of festivals.

2)   Exchange of programmes, experiences, inspiration, artists, know-how

3)   Co-production, stepping forward towards bigger common projects

4)   Recognition of achievement, honour, respect of quality, and further pledge

5)   Values to preserve, share and strengthen, commitment to European identity

6)   Visibility, reputation, prestige

7)   Promotion, lobby, PR, marketing and training

8)   Audience development, outreach

9)   Funding, sponsorship and grants

The purpose of this analysis by the Budapest Observatory was to shed light on the 715 remarkable festivals from as many angles as possible. The group portrayal was done in the belief that by getting acquainted with the main features that members of this community share it will be easier to define aims and ways to establish co-operation, and seek benefits from belonging to the network of festivals with EFFE label.