Research Output

Motivation to volunteer: a case study of the Edinburgh International Magic Festival

  Purpose – Using the inaugural Edinburgh International Magic Festival (EIMF) as a case study, the purpose of this paper is to focus on the motivational factors prevalent in a group of young event and festival volunteers.Design/methodology/approach – This paper will first review the extent of volunteering and, thereafter, will discuss volunteering in the festival and events industry. Focussing on motivations to volunteer, this paper will also identify key research that has examined volunteer motivation in the festival and event sector. Within the context of the festivals and events sector, the paper highlights the benefits of volunteering to the volunteer, the organisation and the community as a whole. The paper discusses volunteering as a means of developing specific skills and knowledge that improve volunteers' CVs and potentially has a positive impact on career opportunities and careers in the festival and event industries. Using the inaugural EIMF as a case study, the authors conducted semi‐structured interviews with volunteers as a means of more fully understanding motivations to volunteer.Findings – The paper argues that volunteers in contemporary society approach a volunteering activity from a utilitarian perspective. The aim of such an episode is to improve industry‐specific skills and knowledge and positively impact on future career opportunities.Practical implications – Festival and event organisers need to fully understand the motivations of their volunteers, in order to not only fully utilise existing skills, but also assist in the development of individually required skills and knowledge.Originality/value – This paper argues for the development of specific training and development programmes for festival and event volunteers as a means of developing skills and enhancing career opportunities.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    30 November 2010

  • Publication Status:


  • DOI:


  • Library of Congress:

    HD28 Management. Industrial Management

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    390 Customs, etiquette & folklore


Barron, P. & Rihova, I. (2010). Motivation to volunteer: a case study of the Edinburgh International Magic Festival. International Journal of Event and Festival Management. 2(3), 202-217. doi:10.1108/17582951111170281



Festival management, motivation (psychology), youth, skills development, volunteers, Scotland

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