Leics is more....

Comedy festival adds an extra week

The Leicester Comedy Festival is almost doubling in length next year, amid fears the programme was becoming too crowded.

The event has traditionally run for ten days, but the 2010 festival will run for 17, beginning on February 5.

Several promoters at this year’s festival privately complained that the addition of new venues such as the Gilded Balloon meant too many shows were being packed into the programme, but without a large enough audience to fill them all.

This year there were more than 300 shows in 40 venues.  Established names such as Jimmy Carr, Stephen K Amos, Clive James, Mark Thomas and Rhod Gilbert sold out – but some up-and-coming acts encountered more of a struggle to find an audience, especially as the event was hit by snow.

Leicester is the longest-running festival in Britain, beginning in 1994 with a nine-day event. But it has been a ten-day affair ever since 1995.

Festival director Geoff Rowe, said: ‘This year we had over 300 shows in ten days; on one night we had 54 events. Extending the festival to 17 days will allow us to have a more balanced programme.  In February 2010 we'll have three weekends, which has to be a good thing for both acts and audiences.’

‘Extending it will also allow for more daytime shows over school holidays and make more sense in terms of the infrastructure installed to create venues and a festive atmosphere across the city.’

Published: 8 May 2009

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