Where Have All the Flowers Gone? Coase Theorem Failures in English Summer Cultural Events: The Case of Sidmouth International Festival
After 50 years of artistic and popular acclaim, the world-famous Sidmouth Festival collapsed in 2004. Its management was unable to secure bad-weather underwriting worth £200,000, despite an alleged £5 million Festival contribution to the local economy. In examining the reasons for this failure, we look at questions such as positive and negative externalities, ideological differences between Festival visitors and local residents, heterogeneous character of the local businesses, rural-or-urban and one-company versus multi-firm nature of festivals, incredible claims, emotions in economics, moral hazard, path dependence, and management mistakes. We argue that the only realistic way forward includes Festival supporters making financial contributions commensurate with their respective financial interests or artistic commitment, and their contributions giving these supporters full ownership rights.
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