Southport Comedy Festival will take place this October – headlined by top comedians including Jason Manford, Ed Byrne, Russell Kane, Rich Hall and Reginald D Hunter.

The event, in association with Anthony James Estate Agents, will take place at Victoria Park, the home of Southport Flower Show, between October 8 and 18.

Shows will be held inside a large marquee provided by Southport firm Elite Marquees.

Southport Comedy Festival Director Brendan Riley said: “After the last few months of the coronavirus pandemic, we all need some laughs, we all need a bit of normality to return!

“All of Southport’s other major events this year, such as the Flower Show, the Air Show and the Food and Drink Festival, sadly had to be cancelled because of the Covid epidemic.

“But we really wanted people to be able to enjoy the Southport Comedy Festival this year and, thanks to a number of Southport businesses getting together, we are making this happen. It has all come together very quickly.

“It is really exciting! It has been an organic, but fast moving process.

“The acts we have are like the highlights of our last 10 years. We have a fantastic line-up.

“As ever, we are trying to keep our ticket prices reasonably priced, to make sure they are affordable.

“Hosting the event in a large marquee is really cool. It brings a real festival feel to our event this year.

“I would like to thank Anthony James Estate Agents, Southport Flower Show and Victoria Park Events, Elite Marquees, Sefton Council Tourism, the Print Quarter, Merseyrail, Dowhigh, Stand Up For Southport and all our other fantastic sponsors for their continued support, without them this event could not take place year after year.

“The comedians we have on our bill are really excited about taking part and being back on stage performing in front of a live audience.

“Some of them have been doing gigs on Zoom, or gigs outdoors, but lots of comedy tours have been cancelled and comedy clubs have been closed. These last few months have been really sad times for the comedy industry.

“It times of adversity, such as after the Second World War or in the 1980s, or now during the Covid pandemic, this is when people need comedians the most. We all need a reason to smile!

“And with everything going on in the news at the moment the comedians are going to have plenty of material!”

Alan Adams, General Manager of Southport Flower Show and Victoria Park Events, said: “Southport Flower Show / Victoria Park Events are proud to support this year’s Comedy Festival and be part of something that will put a smile back on people’s faces after the challenging few months we’ve all had.”

Mark Dilley, owner of Elite Marquees, said: “I am looking forward to joining forces with Brendan and hosting this year’s Southport Comedy Festival.

“The line-up looks amazing and this is just what Southport needs.

“Elite will be providing the Festival with a 300-person socially distanced capacity marquee for the 10-day event and there will be a pre-event show bar area for guests to grab a drink before each show.

“Lots of work is being done to ensure the event is Covid safe.”

Southport Comedy Festival is normally held in a variety of venues throughout Southport during October, from large theatres to cinemas, bowling alleys, restaurants, pubs and other venues.

This year it will be held in a marquee with a 300-seat, well spaced-out capacity which is designed to guard against coronavirus.

Brendan Riley said: “In terms of keeping everyone Covid safe we are being really thorough. We are looking at everything we can in terms of social distancing, and we thought a marquee would be as safe a venue as possible.

“Our tickets are being sold in either twos, fours or sixes, and we are keeping seats safe enough apart from each other.

“People will be temperature checked as they come into the marquee.

“It is going to be a very Covid friendly event.

“In the event of a sudden cancellation of any of the shows, people will get their money back. Your bookings will be safe.

“Ten years ago, Southport Comedy Festival was cancelled following the recession, and we came in to rescue it.

“We have had a decade of building it back up only for it to be impacted again, this time by the coronavirus epidemic. We are now coming in to rescue it for a second time! We never thought anything like this would happen. But thankfully we have got some really great support behind us.

“If any festival should happen in 2020 it should be the Southport Comedy Festival! Everyone has been affected by the coronavirus crisis. We can all pull together and through Southport Comedy Festival we can end this year on a high.”

Southport Comedy Festival 2020 in association with Anthony James Estate Agents takes place at Victoria Park in Southport October 8-18.
For tickets please visit: www.southportcomedyfestival.com