News: Leicester Comedy Festival Attracts International Audience

News: Leicester Comedy Festival Attracts International Audience

Leicester Comedy Festival, the first UK comedy festival to take place this year, closed yesterday with organisers celebrating its success, having sold over 20,000 tickets to comedy lovers around the world.  Tickets were sold to people living in Australia, the USA, Sweden, Cyprus, Belgium, Belfast and Berlin, as well as across the UK. 

Over 86% of the audience were new to the festival, having never bought tickets to previous Leicester Comedy Festivals.  Many events were viewable thanks to a new deal with NextUp Comedy, the Festivals Official Streaming Partner and the UKs #1 comedy streaming platform.

The festival programme included over 1678 hours of comedy on NextUp Comedy, as well as events streamed on Twitch, Facebook Live, Youtube and other online platforms.  Big name comedians including Tom Allen, Ed Byrne, Nina Conti, Stewart Lee, Al Murray, Zoe Lyons appeared as well as stand up comedy shows, a seminar discussion programme, a series of special festival podcasts, kids and family shows and exclusive interviews with comedians.  Over 80% of the audience were based from outside Leicester or Leicestershire, an increase from 65% in previous years. 

The festival producers also raided their archive and made available footage of comedians who had previously been in the festival over the last 28 years.  Interviews and footage included appearances by Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Nicholas Parsons, Jimmy Cricket and many more.  

And records were broken…No More Jockeys Live!, featuring Mark Watson (as seen on QI, Mock The Week, Would I Lie To You?, Live At The Apollo), Tim Key (Edinburgh Comedy Award winner) and Alex Horne (host of Taskmaster), sold out 500 tickets in less than 13 hours making it the fastest selling show in the 28 year history of the Leicester Comedy Festival.

The festival’s expanded reach was reflected in the national press coverage garnered for this culturally significant event in the UK arts calendar.  Features, reviews and reports appeared on BBC News at 10, The Times, The Guardian, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 5, Metro, The Telegraph and Waitrose Weekend magazine.

Geoff Rowe, founder and Director of Leicester Comedy Festival says: "The last 19 days have been just incredible and I want to thank all those who took part.  It’s true to say that the last 12 months have been really difficult but the support we continue to receive from comedians, audiences, promoters, media, sponsors and others has meant Leicester Comedy Festival has, in some ways, had the best year ever.  To have attracted so many new people to the festival, from around the globe, is fantastic.  We very much hope many of them will visit the festival in real life next February as we continue to celebrate British comedy and support new & emerging talent.”

Many of the festival’s trademark special events such as the hugely popular UK Pun Championships and the Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year Competition have been postponed until later in the year. The Stand Up Challenge featuring local businessmen & women, as well as Leicester South MP and Shadow Secretary of State for Health & Social Care Jon Ashworth, will take place in June.



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