Best comedy festivals taking place in 2016
- Murray Robertson
- 1 April 2016
Seven comedy festivals from across the UK, including Bath, Brighton and Hull
There's nothing quite like seeing live comedy. Whether it's a big arena tour fronted by Kevin Bridges or John Bishop, or someone completely new to the craft trying their luck in the function room above a musty pub, there's a rawness about live comedy that sets it apart from the other arts.
Despite Edinburgh's dominance it isn't the only place putting on a festival this year. We've selected a septet of comedy festivals to watch out for, taking place across the UK over the rest of 2016.
Bath Comedy Festival
Starting Fri 1 Apr and celebrating its 8th year, the family-friendly Bath Comedy Festival features over 100 events. Acts taking part across the city include patron Arthur Smith, Lewis Schaffer, Seymour Mace and the always-affable Patrick Monahan.
Fri 1–Sun 10 Apr | bathcomedy.com
Machynlleth Comedy Festival
Since 2011 this week-long festival has been entertaining comedy fans in the beautiful Welsh market town of Machynlleth. This year's performers include Bridget Christie, Brett Goldstein, Josie Long and Stewart Lee.
Fri 29 Apr–Sun 1 May | machcomedyfest.co.uk
England's largest annual arts festival has a thriving offshoot similar to Edinburgh, although unlike Edinburgh, over half the performers are native to the host town. Last year saw 787 events across 174 venues, and this year's performers include Debra Stephenson, James Veitch, Jo Neary and Lucy Porter.
Fri 6 May–Sun 5 Jun | brightonfringe.org
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
The world's largest arts festival celebrates its 70th anniversary next year. In 2015 it put on 3,314 shows across 313 venues. It dominates the Scottish capital for a month every August and is best known for its comedy programme. This year's highlights include Jason Byrne, Andrew Maxwell, Burnistoun Live and Kai Humphries.
Fri 5–Mon 29 Aug | edfringe.com
Birmingham Comedy Festival
Founded in 2001, this Midlands-based festival has played host to Peter Kay, Lee Evans, Michael McIntyre and Al Murray. There are also theatre performances, gigs, workshops and more.
Fri 7–Sun 16 Oct | bhamcomfest.co.uk
Hull Comedy Festival
Almost a decade old, the Hull Comedy Festival launched with the likes of Russell Howard, John Shuttleworth, Justin Moorhouse and Frank Sidebottom (the late Chris Sievey). The festival has a strong community focus with an emphasis on helping local people freely perform, promote and host shows.
Thu 3–Sun 20 Nov | hullcomedy.co.uk
Nottingham Comedy Festival
Starting with just 50 acts in 10 ten venues, the Nottingham Comedy Festival has grown over the last eight years to take over many of the city's clubs and comedy venues. Recent acts include Jimmy Tarbuck, Vicky Stone, Paul Chowdhry, Carl Donnelly and Bill Bailey.