Divergent Paths in Regional Economic Development: A Tale of Two Festival Towns
This study compares how two small communities in rural settings tried to promote sustained economic development by capitalizing on local music festivals. Merritt, British Columbia, Canada, home to a large country music event, focused on place branding, marketing, and related entertainment initiatives. Hultsfred, Sweden, in contrast, used its iconic rock festival to create a year-round music industry cluster called RockCity. Our study argues that the alternative strategies reflect fundamental differences in economic development policies and governance structures. We subsequently question whether RockCity-like cluster initiatives are possible in the Canada without coordinated tools and programs for supporting cultural industries in small communities.