Valley of Arts Festival, the oldest art festival of Hungary, established in a self-organized way in a unique environment of villages of Lake Balaton Uplands.
Valley of Arts, the oldest art festival of Hungary that exists since 1989, established in a self-organized way in a very unique, natural and rustic environment of villages of Lake Balaton Uplands, in Kapolcs and its surroundings. The secret of Hungary's largest multi-art festival is in its liberated atmosphere and the series of cultural, musical, theatrical, literary programs. Over the past decades the festival became a brand of tradition, innovation and quality. However Valley of Arts has become highly popular among visitors, its primary intention is to preserve the commitment to cultural quality, our local ties, the special atmosphere and its familiar characteristics. This huge festival hosts more than 500 programs on different locations for 10 days generally at the end of July.
Over the festival week, the Valley of Arts operating as a local community initiative all year round to accelerate the cooperation of creative craftsmen and artists. As such, it is a local development initiative for the involved villages that makes it different from any similar festivals of this kind in Europe.
Beside the economic results the Valley of Arts catalyses and promotes the folklore activities and creates identity. The festival also gave importance to the local handmade products which bring revenue for the local people and extend the festival’s impacts during the whole year.
The budget of the Valley of Arts can be divided into 2 main parts as:
- Valley of Arts whole year around activity
- Valley of Arts Festival as the flagship event of the initiative
The whole budget is around 1.4 million euro per year.
Evidence of success
Measurable outputs of the Festival:
- Number of visitors were 200.000 in 2018 (the initiative is more and more popular and better known. The number of visitors increase significantly (over 200.000 in 2018, while it was 20.000 in 2011).
- More than 1.500 programs and events in each year
- Almost 100 scenes in Kapolcs and its surroundings
- More than 100 local craftsmen and artists are involved in the whole year around activities
Potential for learning or transfer
As the Valley of Arts is not located in a so called “festival site”, but covers the involved villages (including family houses and gardens), the organization is a complex process. It place on several sites at once and needs a lot of financial and human resource (almost all local inhabitants take part in that) as well. Despite the difficulties, it is a very interesting and useful initiative. With a well-organized work and relevant financial background the best practice can be transferred. The help and support of the most important local stakeholders is necessary.
The most important transferable element is not the Festival on its own, but the approach of cooperation and the methods for rural economic cultural and touristic development. So the methods and ways of the utilization of cultural resources in its widest sense might be a good opportunity to adapt to other regions and to the policymakers.