Each June, Western Australians celebrate WA Day with a three-day festival culminating in a free concert.
The event combines the best of Western Australian Music with community activities and range of high quality food vendors. This year Celebrate WA and West Australian Music (WAM) utilised Culture Counts to gather feedback about the festival’s social and economic impact.
The enthusiasm of those who attended was easily discernable when reading their Tweets over the weekend. However, it’s hard to condense thousands of tweets into data that can be used as evidence to clearly articulate the success of the event. How did it affect individuals and the broader community? What impact was generated? Did the event achieve what it was aiming to?
By aligning standard metrics with the intentions of the festival, Culture Counts was able to collect feedback from those attending the event, which mirrored the anecdotes being spread through the twitterverse. People found the event enhanced their sense of community, contributed to the vibrancy of Perth and made them proud to be Australian. The standardised format of the feedback meant direct comparisons could be made between the impact of the event and the intentions of the organisers, and by extension whether the event was successful.
Free events such as the 2017 WA Day Festival have a significant social impact that goes far beyond the economic impact generated. These outcomes are often based on anecdote rather than evidence, which leads to them being poorly communicated and undervalued in comparison. Crowdsourcing metric-based feedback about the impact of events is crucial in supporting Australia’s diverse and successful cultural sector.