Southport Comedy Festival 2021 will now go ahead after securing vital backing from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.
It means that some of the top names in UK comedy will be heading to Victoria Park in Southport for some much-needed laughter this October.
The shows will be held in a large marquee provided by Elite Marquees with lots of ventilation and social distancing in place.
Festival Director Brendan Riley said: “The Southport Comedy Festival is a go-go for 2021!
“It’s big news for us, and big news for Southport!
“Of all the things we need and don’t need this year, we all need a really good laugh!
“We are thrilled to announce that we have received funding thanks to the government’s Culture Recovery Fund so that we can continue to be here for you and Here For Culture.
“We are already talking with the Southport Flower Show team, Elite Marquees Ltd and Sefton Council Tourism to bring you much needed laughs again this October.
“It is great to see the town really pulling together. Up the Port!”
Southport Comedy Festival takes place every Autumn, usually at venues across the town including theatres, bars, restaurants, cinemas and more, bringing thousands of people and thousands of pounds into the local economy. This year Victoria Park will play host to every performance.
Tickets prices are maintained at a competitive level with the event made possible thanks to the generosity of a number of much-valued local sponsors.
Last year’s Southport Comedy Festival bill included: Jason Manford, Russell Kane, Rich Hall, Jo Caulfield, Reginald D Hunter, Ed Byrne, Paul Zerdin, Paul Sinha and Andy Parsons. The event was sponsored by Southport firm Anthony James Estate Agents.
The 2020 shows were due to take place at Victoria Park initially in October and then in November. But despite a number of the shows being sold out, the organisers recognised the rising Covid cases in the region and took the sensible decision to cancel. Everyone who bought tickets last year saw their money returned through the Skiddle ticket booking operator.
The 2021 Southport Comedy Festival has now been made possible thanks to backing through the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund in addition to support from local sponsors.
A Government spokesperson said: “The Department for Culture Media and Sport made £1.57bn available through its Culture Recovery Fund to support heritage and the wider cultural sector during the Covid-19 pandemic, including £128,800 for organisations in Southport.
“We have already announced some awards but some funding was reserved in the first round to allow the Government to respond to the changing public health picture.
“The new funding being announced will help organisations as they welcome back visitors and return to near-normal operating models in the months ahead.
“The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England have worked together to ensure that this significant investment from Government reaches the organisations most in need.”
Southport MP Damien Moore said: “The past year has had a devastating impact on cultural and heritage organisations in Southport, so it is fantastic news that £128,800 is being provided to support these most valued organisations.
“I’m really excited that as we set out on our cautious roadmap to reopening up this sector, we’ll soon be able to enjoy these extraordinary institutions once again, and I’m delighted that the support is being put in place to help them thrive in the future.”
Southport Comedy Festival Director Brendan Riley said: “This funding will help us to make the Festival happen this year, because it would have been in doubt otherwise.
“We lost money last year after we tried to stage the event, but the 2021 Festival is now guaranteed. It is a massive boost to make sure that it happens.
“We are also looking to stage Chester Comedy Festival again this July in partnership with Chester BID.
“We are going to run Covid safe festivals, with limited numbers and social distancing in place.
“We are very grateful for our support from people including Alan Adams at Southport Flower Show and Victoria Park Events, Mark Dilley at Elite Marquees, Mark Catherall at Sefton Council Tourism, and to all our sponsors.
“We would love to see more sponsors get on board with us, please get in touch if you are interested.”
For more details about Southport Comedy Festival, please visit: southportcomedyfestival.com