Festival based on cooperation between businesses and municipality. Involvement of civil society gives access to resources transformed into cultural activities.
Farsund is a peripheral municipality with a small all year population of 9 000. During summer, the city competes for attracting the high number of domestic tourists visiting the region. The city has acknowledged its distinctive cultural heritage as a resource for developing cultural experiences. The heritage dates back to the Napoleonic War 1804-1814, where residents equipped sailboats to plunder passing ships giving the city a significant economic boost. While most of the tangible heritage are gone, some traces can be seen in the townscape. Otherwise, the history of privateering remains inaccessible and mostly exist as legends and stories.
The yearly festival "Privateers Days" is the biggest cultural event in the town. Key features are historic reenactments such as a piracy-themed live show and pirate tours. By using the harbor basin as the focal point for all experiences, the festival takes back a maritime space that otherwise are a void difficult accessible for most land based visitors. The festival aims in this way to convey a maritime sense of the city with historical connotation to the époque of privateering where the sea was the main infrastructure.
The festival is a cooperation between local businesses, the municipality and volunteers who all see a positive impact on the economic, social and cultural life. The local businesses and municipality are funding the project manager in charge of the festival. The festival is dependent on high number of volunteers.

Resources needed

A project manager is responsible for planning and organising the festival. The task is an integrated part of the local company for economic development. The festival is dependent on high number of volunteers and the live show involves more than 9 volunteer associations and 100 persons.

Evidence of success

Cultural impact: It is today the biggest cultural event of the city attracting thousands of spectators. Social impact: involving more than 9 volunteer associations and 100 local inhabitants involved in year round planning and activities. Economic impact: the thounsand of spectators leaves as substation economic footprint and contributed to the fact that today the municipality has today a big share of total night spend in the region with currently more than 2500 and many of these in the marinas

Difficulties encountered

Clarifications of ownership rights of cultural productions might be a challenge if not tackled early on. However, this hasn't caused challenges in this case. Also, involvement of community is crucial. Indication of declining involvement was tackled through a strategy for active all year involvement

Potential for learning or transfer

The practise offers a learning potential related to sustainability (cultural tourism) and innovation (citizen participation and social innovation). A key to success has been extensive cooperation between businesses associations, volunteers and municipality. Business associations & municipality are both committed through joint funding of the project manager who reports to the steering group with a balanced representation from the tourist association, business association & municipality. The festival has a strategy for involving civil society organisations e.g. cultural entrepreneurs, maritime, religious and sports associations. These organisations are involved in the planning throughout the whole year with at least 2 – 3 joined meetings held. The coop with civil society associations gives access to resources that are transformed into cultural activities during the festival, such as historic boats available for tours or used as requisites, security facilities, cultural & religious acts

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Main institution
Farsund municipality
Agder og Rogaland, Norway (Norge)
Start Date
June 1985
End Date


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