Researchers are turning to investigate the social dimensions of festivals in an unprecedented way (Andrews & Leopold 2013; Jepson & Clarke 2015a,b; Roche 2017). Historically, social impacts were a strong preoccupation, but Deery and Jago (2010) argue that this body of work has come of age. The literature can now be seen to be growing in size and developing in its conceptual foundations, methodological underpinnings and research questions. New directions are emerging as researchers negotiate a wide array of theoretical perspectives, concepts and approaches, emanating in fields of study that range from narrow domains like event management through to broader areas of cultural studies, anthropology, human geography and beyond. More critical questions are being asked about the kinds of social change that festivals are associated with (Sharpe 2008), and this is prompting more awareness of the need to fully grasp and articulate the profound social significance of festivals.