Mackay M, Fountain J, Cradock-Henry N. 2018. Festivals as devices for enhancing social connectivity and the resilience of rural communities. In: Mair J, editor. The Routledge handbook of festivals. Abingdon (GB): Routledge.
This chapter examines the social value and utility of rural festivals. It focuses particularly on the opportunities the events create for enhancing social connectivity and resilience within communities, and discusses calls for research that contributes to the development of an advanced understanding of the social dimensions of festivals and their value and role in community building and rural development. The chapter defines rural festivals as 'themed, public celebrations' that are held regularly but infrequently, and which are firmly anchored in a specific rural locality. It interprets a 'resilient rural community' as one that is socially cohesive, connected and communicative, and where residents share a strong sense of identity and belonging, and ultimately care about each other and their locale. The chapter also focuses on the social significance of rural festivals, emphasising how they provide an arena for celebration, community collaboration and the creation and strengthening of local and external relationships.