Marginalisation as a Context for Interpreting the Impact of a Subcultural Festival on a Local Community
The article discusses the positive attitude of Tolminians toward the Metal Camp international festival in Tolmin. This relationship can be analysed by taking into account the marginalisation of the area (also through emigration). The festival operationalises the tourism construction of the area, brings in a mass of visitors, and places the town at the centre of a certain imaginary geography. With it locals become proud locals. The concept of “geography of marginality” is proposed, which encompasses both the emic feeling of being located at the margin and the related production of geographic imaginaries which symbolically reconstructs and redefines existing geographic relations.
KEY WORDS: geographies of marginality, tourism, festival, subculture
MARGINALISATION AS A CONTEXT FOR INTERPRETING THE IMPACT OF A SUBCULTURAL FESTIVAL ON A LOCAL COMMUNITY
In the small town of Tolmin in the Upper Soča Valley on the western edge of Slovenia, for a week each summer the approximately three thousand local residents are joined by three times as many members of the metal subculture. They come to the town for the Metal Camp music festival. The article focuses on the reactions triggered in Tolmin by the festival. Local residents have accepted it as their own. The reason for their general goodwill toward Metal Camp is to be found in power relations at the national and wider levels. Since the area is struggling with emigration, the festival represents a cultural renewal. It seems that locals are favourably disposed toward it because it enables them to create a positive imaginary geography in regard to their local-global positioning. The article proposes the concept of “geography of marginality”, which encompasses both the emic feeling of being located at the margin and the related production of geographic imaginaries which symbolically reconstructs and redefines existing geographic relations.