||Local festivals have become a significant resource and trend in regional development. In Taiwan, there are twelve important local festivals; only the Song Jiang Jhen Battle Array in Neimen, Kaohsiung has been listed for the Kaohsiung area. It reveals its local characteristics and traditions, as well as the cultural intention. However, most related researches focused on issues of visitors’ behavior and tourist satisfaction; no analysis and review of implementation facets was completed.|
This qualitative research was carried out with the festival of Song Jiang Jhen Battle Array in Neimen, Kaohsiung taken as the case study. By conducting a textual analysis, participant observation and in-depth interview, the study aims to explore the following four facets relate to the implementation of the festival, i.e. organization operation, content planning and management, community participation and marketing strategy. Furthermore, after analyzing the contents of literature and case review, 14 indicating items were generalized from each facet so that the status of conducting the Song Jiang Jhen Battle Array in Neimen, Kaohsiung can be reviewed. Its indicating items and main factors of success that conform to a great festival were analyzed. The predicaments encountered in its development were also researched. Relevant proposals of transformation strategy was provided and submitted to the organizers of local government as applicable strategies for future activity arrangement.
The study results showed that the Song Jiang Jhen Battle Array in Neimen, Kaohsiung completely conforms to the pattern of a successful festival and the indications include: the attitude of the organizer in arranging sustainable activities, the unique theme, cultural characteristics and local imagery, diversity and creativity of activity concepts, as well as the contribution of community organization and local volunteers. Some indications did not conform to the festival, such as the interaction with visitors/tourists, atmosphere and management of the field, infrastructure and traffic network. Other indications partly conformed to the success of the festival.
The interviewees particularly pointed out that the key successful factors of the Song Jiang Jhen Battle Array in Neimen, Kaohsiung include: regularly held every year; the support of authorities; the characteristics and creativity both attract many visitors; the assistance of experienced operators; religious beliefs and folk culture; TV live transmission of the competitions; etc. The predicaments it faces include: lack of a set budget; no cooperation among three local temples: they are operating units with the venue changing annually; no profound connection with local industries; the festival’s purpose does not conform to the traveling mechanism; no guidance for a long-term planning; focus only on local prospects; local government does not care much about tourism; no gathering of community strength; the date of the activity cannot be confirmed as early as possible; the scope of marketing between local and central government is varied and most of the marketing ideas are focused on the creative Song Jiang Jhen Battle Array.
Seven transformation strategies were suggested in this study: establishing a communication platform for cooperative units having an interest relationship for this festival, the traditional perspective cannot be abandoned in a traditional event, “originality” brings out the validity and uniqueness of the festival, a great atmosphere has been made by having an appropriate field management, the festival benefits can be extended to other events, the intention of community development can become the energy supporting local festivals and the festival marketing can go beyond merely promoting the festival.