Golden anniversaries: tourism and the 150th anniversary of the gold rushes in California and Victoria festivals
journal contributionposted on 08.06.2017, 02:01 authored by Frost, Warwick
Anniversary festivals celebrate historical events which occurred an appropriate number of years ago. The choice of the number of years is subjective, though typically multiples of fifty or one hundred years are viewed as worth celebrating. The choices of events worth celebrating are wide-ranging. Common subjects include anniversaries of founding of nations or cities, revolutions, wars, explorations and the births and deaths of famous people. In the literature of festivals and tourist events, anniversary celebrations are given little consideration. They generally only appear as one of the types of festivals, with little analysis and no discussion as to whether they have any special characteristics or difficulties. For example in Michael Hall's coverage of hallmark tourist events he lists five types of events. Under one - 'cultural events' - he presents a sub-category of 'historical milestones'. This is not defined, but instead just represented by three examples: the US Bicentenary (1977), the Australian Bicentenary (1988) and the 500th Anniversary of Columbus (1992). There is no further explanation or discussion of the special characteristics of events in this sub-category (Hall 1992,22). However anniversary festivals do differ from other types of festivals and events. They are especially fraught with difficulties for organisers in two main ways: - through their lack of continuity and the controversy they create.