In smaller places, such as Mangalia (RO), Balchik (BG) or Skegness (UK), where the cultural offer is very limited and discontinuous, an international program of a few days might attract much attention and provoke considerable excitement and curiosity.
In a large city, say Istanbul (15 million inhabitants), where much happens every day and week, any impact will be inevitably quite limited, even with a very good host, exquisite communication strategy and substantial publicity budget. Location, timing, weather also play a role.
At this advanced phase of globalization, it cannot be assumed that anything imported to the local cultural scene will be perceived automatically as prestigious, exquisite or worthy of attention. International work previously unknown may cause enthusiasm and fascination but also provoke rejection and dismissal by local arbiters of taste and cultural value or provoke jealousy of local cultural players who themselves lack international contacts. Work emerging in cooperation of foreign and local creative forces has more chances to be appreciated than a fly-by-night imported attraction.
A seminar or a conference might appeal to a well selected and well-targeted constituency while site-specific performances must count on incidental passersby as much as on determined visitors.
There is always some competition of commercial entertainment to limit local interest and language barriers need to be lowered. SEAS is not a reoccurring festival, nor even a one-shot festival, but an ongoing process of bundled energy, moving from one destination to another. In some places audiences might not figure out at once what the whole is all about and miss identifying components that would matter to them.