Forget cycling, early autumn will also see the arrival of the annual Harrogate Comedy Festival - and this year is the 11th year of this fabulous festival of funny talent.
This hugely popular festival takes place every October and has become an institution in the town, putting Harrogate firmly on the comedy map as ‘Comedy Capital of the North’.
This year 59 comedians will come to Harrogate with 27 shows over 20 days at Harrogate Theatre and the Royal Hall.
With the usual premium standard of big names on the line-up some shows are already selling out, including John Bishop, James Acaster, Ruby Wax, and Jimmy Carr.
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Also on the line-up there’s Desiree Burch, Des O’ Connor and Jimmy Tarbuck, Harrogate’s own hugely rising talent Maisie Adam, Stewart Francis, Angela Parsons, MARVELus, Paul O’Donnell, Sindhu Vee, Pamela DeMenthe, Frisky & Mannish, Brett Domino Trio, Desiree Burch, Gonzo Moose, Paul Sinha, John Finnemore’s Flying Visit, Andy Parsons, Car Park King, Count Arthur Strong, and special highlights from Hyena Lounge with a Kids Comedy Club and a grand Closing Gala finale.
In addition, this year it’s the eighth Comedian of the Year competition where a host of tip top comics battle to impress the audience and judges enough to secure a place in the final on 15th October, as well as a spot at the much-coveted Hyena Lounge Comedy Club Closing Gala on Sat 19th October.
The value of this competition is not to be underestimated, as previous winner Mickey P Kerr went on to reach the Britain’s Got Talent final.
Having started in 2009 at Harrogate Theatre with a commitment to bringing both ‘the bright stars’ and the ‘hotly tipped next big things’ to Harrogate, the festival has gone from strength-to-strength.
Festival programmer Phil Lowe said: “After bringing the biggest names in stand-up and the best in rising talent to Harrogate for over a decade, Harrogate Comedy Festival is an important event for the town.
We now have a standard of excellence to not just uphold but further exceed each year, and we don’t take that responsibility lightly. We are on the lookout for great comedy all year round and we’ll continue to bring the very best to Harrogate going forward”
From a total of 21 shows last year, nine were complete sell-outs and overall the festival achieved an outstanding 81% capacity.
Headliner Sarah Millican sold out months ahead of the festival opening, with other stand-up royalty on the line-up including Sarah Pascoe, Stewart Francis, Ross Noble, Nish Kumar and David O’Doherty.
Since Harrogate Comedy Festival began, more than 70,000 people have attended achieving an average of 73% capacity over the decade.
In total, more than 55% of that audience travelled from outside of Harrogate, equating to increased footfall of almost 40,000 people and generating significant secondary spend in the town.