Community festivals appear to be proliferating, partly in response to local government social justice policy imperatives around strengthening sense of community among their constituents. This has led to policies that encourage participation by all so as to minimise social isolation, increase opportunities for interaction and facilitate greater understanding of difference, as well as the maintenance of minority cultural practices [Lee, I., Arcodia, C., & Jeonglyeol Lee, T. (2012). Benefits of visiting a multicultural festival: The case of South Korea. Tourism Management, 33, 334–340]. However, community is a contested and multifaceted term, and sense of community is intangible and therefore hard to measure. Taking a case study approach, this paper examined two community festivals in the growth corridor in the south-east of Melbourne, Australia; one a long-running grassroots festival celebrating the rural traditions of the area and the other a new festival designed and staged by the local authority to address their community strengthening objectives. The findings of the study show that both councils accept within their policies that festivals and events have strong connections with community and identity. However, their focus on a place-based definition of community and a relatively narrow view of what constitutes community has led to limited success in achieving their objectives.