The Social Value of Community Events: A Literature Review

Andrew Smith, Bernadette Quinn, Sophie Mamattah, Niclas Hell, Gayle McPherson, David McGillivray, Tamsin Cox

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


The purpose of this literature review is to provide an overview of research regarding the social value of community events. The review has been conducted using search terms related to events, festivals, communities, social impacts and social values. Many authors note the remarkable increase in the popularity and prevalence of events in recent times. However, until fairly recently, economic implications overshadowed social dimensions in investigations of the values, impacts, meanings and outcomes of festivals and events. As O’Sullivan et al. (2009) highlight, there is an established mismatch between the intended outcomes of festivals and events and the ways they are evaluated. Work tends to focus on social impacts, rather than a wider assessment of social value, and this is reflected in the literature review presented here. Social impacts include the ways events affect communities by affecting social cohesion, community capacity and social capital. But work also highlights outcomes for individuals (Goolaup & Mossberg, 2017), for example, by enhancing quality of life,by providing inspirational experiences and improving wellbeing.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of the West of Scotland
Commissioning bodySpirit of 2012
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9781903978665
ISBN (Print)9781903978658
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2021


  • events
  • community
  • social value
  • social impact
  • evaluation


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