Purpose - Changes to the economic and social fabric of rural communities in Australia have resulted in an outmigration of residents, shifting economies and disenfranchisement with rural life styles. As a result, events provide important social and recreatiol opportunities for residents. However, rural communities are constrained by limited resources, such as the number of individuals who are willing and able to participate in event organizations; therefore, it is essential for the sustaible organization of events that stakeholders are attracted and retained. This paper aims to apply a stakeholder theoretical approach to the organizing and planning of rural events to identify event stakeholders, monitor satisfaction and ensure stakeholder retention within rural events. Design/methodology/approach - A qualitative research design using a multiple case study approach examined event stakeholders in three rural communities of Southwest Queensland, Australia. In total, 54 in-depth interviews were undertaken with event stakeholders and alyzed using an iterative thematic content alysis. Findings - The findings reveal that rural-event stakeholders fulfill multiple roles, differentiated by risk, and fraught with competing or conflicting agendas. The paper identifies strategies that event organizers utilize to mage relationships, and that facilitate stakeholder satisfaction and continued involvement. Origility/value - There is limited understanding of event stakeholders, particularly in rural communities. Involving rural residents in organizing and planning events develops individual skills, knowledge and capacity. Rural communities benefit from an ability to deal with adverse conditions based on improvements in capacity of individuals and the community.
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