I believe the overall effect would be a win-win for everyone. Festivals who participate in the program would have better events, would draw more visitors and have fewer disappointed attendees. Visitors going to these festivals would know in advance what to expect. This would mean happier attendees and happier attendees usually spend more.
If Festivals and Events Ontario were to spearhead this program, they could use it as a membership recruitment tool and it would give them the opportunity to educate and upgrade their existing festival and event members. The standards should be detailed, but not be too complicated. The program could start out by standardizing simple amenities, ones that every attendee would appreciate knowing about. Amenities such as washroom facilities and their placement, seniors and disabled facilities, children’s facilities, first aid, shuttle services and “green” programs could be the first ones standardized, others could follow later. With gas and food prices drastically increasing, people are becoming more and more discerning about where and how they spend their money. They want value for money spent. They don’t want to drive long distance to events that have no appeal. They are using the internet more to select the festivals and events they are going to attend. Our Ontario Visited website attests to that, as does the Ontario Travels site.
It is important that festivals understand the changing dynamics and take advantage of them as new opportunities. Those that don’t will ultimately fail. Standard guideline, I believe, will help festivals achieve their potential.