Research goals: Today, politicians view art and culture festivals as a means of urban and regional development. In many cases, the festivities are planned top-down to the local communities and do not achieve the hoped-for effects. With the Rostfest an approach has been chosen which is adapted to the local needs and which supposedly involves the population. The aim of this study is to find out in how far the concept of the Rostfest has an impact urban development.Background: Since the 1960s, the City of Eisenerz has experienced a serious decline due to massive job cuts in the mining sector. This involved population losses and an increasing burden on the public budget. In the context of the debate on shrinking cities, Eisenerz can be understood Austrias top example. Therefore, a qualitative research process, mostly based on semi-structured interviews, was created. The gathered data was analysed by using Grounded Theory and the analysis results in theories, which art and culture festivals should fulfil in the context of urban development.Methods: During the Rostfest shorter semi-structured interviews with anonymous pedestrians were conducted to get in touch with the perspective of Eisenerz residents. Further semi-structured interviews were held with a representative of the organisation team, the mayor and the regional manager of the Steirische Eisenstrasse. What remains to be said is that the Rostfest has a positive effect on the self-perception of the population and encourages or supports new development processes.Key findings: The success of the Rostfest is based on the integration of the population of Eisenerz. Due to the absence of entrance fees and access barriers, many residents were able to participate in the festival and also in the program design. However, the absence of entrance fees leads inevitably to the problem of the financing of the festival. Until now, the budget has mainly been funded by annual subsidies.