The Rise and Fall of Festivals - Reflections on the Salzburg Festival

Zurich IEER Working Paper No. 48

19 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2000

Date Written: June 2000


The paper takes a closer look at cultural festivals such as musical or operatic festivals. From an economic viewpoint the paper shows that such festivals offer great artistic and economic opportunities, but that at the same time these opportunities are also easy to destroy. Empirical evidence from the Salzburg Festival show that government support can have negative effects on the innovative and economically success of festivals by introducing distorting incentives and imposing all sorts of restrictions. The paper draws policy suggestions on how the state can support art festivals.

Keywords: Cultural Economics, Festivals, Opera, Government Support, Subsidies, Regulation

JEL Classification: Z11

Suggested Citation

Frey, Bruno S., The Rise and Fall of Festivals - Reflections on the Salzburg Festival (June 2000). Zurich IEER Working Paper No. 48. Available at SSRN: or

Bruno S. Frey (Contact Author)

CREMA ( email )

Südstrasse 11
Zurich, CH 8008
+41 44 380 00 78 (Phone)

University of Basel ( email )

Peter Merian-Weg 6
Basel, 4002

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