The idea for this Special Issue emerged during a research seminar at INGENIO, a joint initiative of the Institute of the Spanish Council for Scientific Research and the Polytechnic University of Valencia, held in October 2018. Given their role in diffusing different forms of cultural expression, as well as their visibility in small cities and their contribution to the local economy, cultural festivals warrant more attention in the academic literature.
Therefore, a two-day workshop at La Nau cultural centre of the University of Valencia was set for 26–27 November 2019. The goal was to share ideas and perspectives among researchers with expertise in cultural events through the investigation of the structure, organization and management of festivals, considering as well the challenges of the digital age. This event arose from the need to analyze the evolution of cultural festivals and the innovations they have brought to the sector. More than 30 researchers participated. They came from 10 different countries – Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia and the United States – and they painted a very broad and complex picture of today’s cultural festival scene.