Fairs and festivals have their root in religious tradition and rituals. These were basically designed to pass on knowledge to the next generation by the elders.
For instance, the concept of Holi evolved from the celebration of a good harvest into a colorful festival heralding spring with an added mythological significance of Vishnu Bhakta Prahlad and his devotion- making Holi a festival that combines faith in God as well as celebration of good harvest.
Given the openness, free entry and informality in most of these events, sponsors with innovative interaction points are actually appreciated by the audience.
Since most of the audience at such events usually walks in on their free will, they are more receptive. The intervals in between the smaller events also offer interaction opportunities. Since cultural events provide greater opportunity for interaction and reach, they provide participating sponsors:
(i) A strategy for focusing on a particular community
(ii) Reach into the heart of the rural population
(iii) A platform for mass communication
(iv) An opportunity to communicate to-the-point
(v) Avoid any sort of clutter
(vi) Chance to innovate
(vii) Direct sale opportunity
It is a fairly old phenomenon that merchants have been coming to the large fairs and festivals and joining in the celebrations with the general public. Discount offers during the eve of festivals are now a common event.
Another factor associated with the larger fairs and festivals of India is the predominantly rural nature of the events. Rural fairs and festivals are opening up new marketing horizons for the corporate sector.
The business sense in sponsoring such an event shows from the fact that television covers barely 18 per cent of rural India. Marketers are always on the lookout for ways by which to reach this enormous consumer base effectively.
Some simple statistics on the fifty biggest rural fairs will drive home the importance of events in the rural context and why they are such an attractive medium for sponsors who are thronging to put their budgets for these festivals.