News: Leicester Comedy Festival and The UK Kids’ Comedy Festival 2021 Will Both Happen

The producers of Leicester Comedy Festival and The UK Kids’ Comedy Festival have announced that they are going to go ahead with the 2021 events, with support from a significant number of friends and special guests.  Big Difference Company, the registered charity which produces the festivals, is announcing an exclusive programme of online interviews with comedians including Al Murray, Lucy Beaumont, Zoe Lyons, Paul Sinha (pictured), Ed Byrne, Angela Barnes and special guests to be announced.  The Happy Hour Q&As, all hosted by Festival founding director Geoff Rowe, will be online throughout August this year, and all ticket money will go towards supporting the festivals. 

Both festivals will take place from 3-21 February 2021 and further details, and tickets for the August Q&As, are available from

The festival team is committed to producing a significant online programme in February, plus as many live events as regulations will allow.  Registered charity Big Difference Company has produced Leicester Comedy Festival each February since 1994 and The UK Kids’ Comedy Festival since 2019.  Leicester Comedy Festival has developed itself into the biggest comedy festival in the UK with almost 900 shows and events taking place in 95 venues. 

Leicester Comedy Festival has, over the years, become a UK cultural institution, building on its aim to celebrate British comedy.  The festival programme is a mix of live comedy shows, featuring household names and emerging comedians, as well as projects and events which take place in community settings.  In 2020 these projects included work in schools, care homes and with people who have poor mental health.  The event attracts audiences from across the UK to the hundreds of events promoted each year. 

It seems likely that the 2021 festivals will be the first major comedy events to take place since lockdown began in March and organisers want to continue to make them as much of a national celebration as possible.  There will once again be special events, including Q&As with special guests to be announced, seminars and discussions and online comedy performances.  The UK Kids’ Comedy Festival will feature live performances and workshops in schools and community settings, as well as online shows. 

The festival makes a significant economic contribution to the local night time economy, but also is a key economic driver for the comedy industry.  In February 2020, Big Difference Company directly employed comedians and helped generate ticket income for promoters and performers to a value in excess of £½ million.  Over 1500 comedians took part in the festival, as well as a range of national promoters and industry organisations.

Leicester Comedy Festival Founding Director, Geoff Rowe, said: “we have always worked closely with the industry to help make the festival happen, and I’m delighted with the support we are getting right now from comedians to ensure we can produce the festivals in February.  All the money raised from The Happy Hour Q&As will help us continue the work we do, supporting British comedy and communities who take part in our projects.”

Support from the comedy sector will remain really important over the next few weeks and months as we all figure out what the future will look like.  We’ll all need to be reactive to regulations and government advice, and work together to put on the best festivals we can and keep everyone safe.  I think we’ll all agree that comedy will be more important than ever before, as we start to get together again and enjoy performances after such a long time.”

Leicester Comedy Festival 2020 saw the return of the UK Pun Championships, Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year Competition, Comedy in the Dark and Hotel De Comedie as well as appearances by comedians including Jo Brand, Johnny Vegas, Stewart Lee, Milton Jones, Shappi Khorsandi, Fascinating Aida, Paul Sinha, Josie Long, Jason Byrne, Tony Slattery, Angela Barnes, Griff Rhys Jones, Andy Parsons, John Shuttleworth, Dane Baptiste, Rhod Gilbert, Mark Steel, Flo & Joan, Arthur Smith and Reg D Hunter. 



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