The 2023 Southport Comedy Festival was the most attended event to date, attracting more than 5,000 visitors who were enthralled by the national comedy circuit’s best acts.
Big Comedy, in association with Halliwell Jones BMW, hosted the rapidly expanding festival at Victoria Park in Southport for 17 nights between September 29 and October 15. Notable performers included Seann Walsh, Simon Brodkin, Jason Byrne, Jen Brister, Rich Hall, Jimeoin, and Paul Sinha, among others.
Seven events were completely sold out with others close to full capacity.
Mark Steel was scheduled to perform at the event, but his throat cancer diagnosis forced him to postpone his tour. The event organisers have extended their sincerest well-wishes and anticipate his prompt return to the stage in Southport.
Through special comedy bingo and disco bingo events, thousands of pounds were raised for the Community Link Foundation and the Southport Flower Show, both of which are local charities.
A platform was granted to a selection of the most promising and emerging comedians in the United Kingdom via the Dragon Soop-sponsored Southport New Comedian of the Year competition, which attracted more than one hundred entries. It was won by the brilliant comedy/improv duo The Halls of Ridiculous.
Southport Comedy Festival directors Brendan Riley and Val Brady said:
“We had more people coming to see shows at Southport Comedy Festival than ever before, even with the cancellation of Mark Steel’s gig.
“This was our 12th Southport Comedy Festival and it was the best yet.
“It has been the biggest event we have ever had in terms of audience numbers and we are absolutely delighted.
“Over 5,000 people came to watch the shows from all over the country, which hopefully gave a good boost to local hotels, guest houses, restaurants, bars, shops and other local businesses.
“We sold out a total of seven shows this year and were very nearly sold out on some of the others as well.
“We had some fantastic acts this year! We always try to host acts who people always want to see, with festival favourites such as Jason Byrne, Paul Sinha and Rich Hall, while also bringing in exciting new faces such as Jen Brister, Simon Brodkin, Seann Walsh, Tom Davis and others, who have never played the festival before.
“We would like to thank Halliwell Jones BMW and all of our fantastic sponsors for supporting us once again this year and helping to bring the smiles to Southport.”
“We are very grateful to Mark Dilley of Elite Marquees and Bars and to Alan Adams and his team from Southport Flower Show and Victoria Park Events for staging the event.
“We would also like to thank our amazing festival volunteers and of course all of you who came to watch the shows over 17 nights.
“As well as hosting some of the biggest names on the comedy circuit, we also did our bit to support our local community through sell-out fundraising events.
“Our Comedy Bingo night for the Community Link Foundation charity raised over £2,200, while our 80s Disco Bingo night for the Southport Flower Show charity raised over £1,600.
“We also once again hosted our Southport New Comedian of the Year competition, giving a platform to some of the most talented new comedians in the country and the stars of tomorrow.
“As organisers, Big Comedy UK never stops!
“Big Comedy is already selling tickets to see Ed Byrne with his award-winning Tragedy Plus Time show at Southport Little Theatre on Thursday 7th March 2024, while Chris McCausland is our first act booked for Southport Comedy Festival 2024 with his Yonks! Tour on Monday 30th September 2024.
“We also have our Winter Socials starting at Southport Market this November, supported by Halliwell Jones Mini and our Friday Big Comedy nights at The Bold Hotel returns at the end of November.
“Southport Comedy Festival 2023 may have finished, but great entertainment and live comedy in Southport is still happening!”
Southport Comedy Festival 2023 was staged for a third year in a giant luxury heated and seated marquee courtesy of Elite Marquees and Elite Bars at Victoria Park, home of the world-renowned Southport Flower Show.