Difference between Festival and Competition. In the realm of creativity and art, events such as festivals and competitions are often held. What do they represent?

What is a Festival?

A festival is commonly understood as a celebratory event where participants – musicians, artists, performers, actors – showcase their accomplishments, skills, and share various ideas with colleagues and audiences.

For many festivals, a competitive element is present, where participants may be nominated for prestigious awards based on their achievements presented at the event. Additionally, in some cases, decisions about awarding festival participants are made by judges or experts before the event, taking into account participants’ prior achievements.

However, not all festivals have a competitive aspect. In these cases, participants display their skills to the audience and perform for their own enjoyment.

Festivals can take place in various formats – indoors, outdoors, on cruise ships. Typically, a large number of spectators are invited to attend, and events may also be broadcasted on television, online channels, reaching a larger audience.

The themes of festivals can be very diverse. They can be dedicated to:

– Film;
– Theater;
– Literature;
– Religion;
– Science;
– Music;
– Art;
– Creativity;
– Dance;
– Culinary arts.

There are also unconventional festivals, such as those related to role-playing games or biker culture.

What is a Competition?

In a broad sense, a competition refers to an event that involves some form of rivalry, quiz, or exhibition of achievements, with the aim of identifying winners.

In a narrower sense, a competition can mean:

– A variety or part of a festival with a more pronounced competitive element (where participants are ranked and awarded not only first, second, and third places but sometimes medals as well);
– The selection of participants for a specific event (also based on competitive principles or through interviews);
– Employer-led selection of candidates for employment by identifying the best individuals in terms of experience, skills, and knowledge.

The scale of competitions can vary greatly – in terms of the number of participants, audience, thematic directions of the competitions, contests, or achievement exhibitions.


The main distinction between a festival and a competition lies in the fact that festivals are almost always characterized by their grand scale. In contrast, competitions (considering the term both in broad and narrow contexts) can range from being impressive in terms of participants and audience to being relatively modest.

For classical festivals, modesty is not characteristic – they are lavish, celebratory events. While competitive elements may be present, they are not as dominant. Festival participants often aim primarily to enjoy the celebratory atmosphere and to delight others with their creativity. On the other hand, competitions can involve intense rivalry among competing participants for a prize.

The concept of a festival (excluding cases where it corresponds to a type of competition) is more or less unequivocal – it’s a large celebratory event primarily in the realm of creativity and art. In contrast, the essence of a competition can be understood in both broad and narrow senses.