‘The backbone of entertainment’: Comedy Festival wraps up massive 2024 as the roadshow begins

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‘The backbone of entertainment’: Comedy Festival wraps up massive 2024 as the roadshow begins

Words by Staff Writer

Over the last 26 days more than 800 performers have taken part in the biggest dedicated comedy festival in the world.

A final tally of 689 shows and more than 8000 individual performances across 185 stages in 134 venues make 2024 the biggest Festival ever.

A whopping 245 extra performances were added due to demand and 38 shows moved into bigger venues or rooms to accommodate audiences. However, while early projections looked as though the Festival was on track to surpass the previous record-breaking year, it is obvious that ticket buyers are experiencing the economic crunch.

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Festival Chairman Bill Shannon, said: “With an average ticket price just over $30 the Melbourne International Comedy Festival remains one of the most accessible events the city has to offer. It’s exactly what people need given the financial strain many are experiencing.  We know it’s a very challenging time for many arts and music festivals and it’s evident with our event too – the escalating production and presentation costs make it challenging for the Festival to survive. We may be the largest Comedy Festival globally but without partnership and government support it’s going to be very difficult to sustain our leading creative status and the significant economic impact we deliver for Melbourne and Victoria.”

Lord Mayor Sally Capp, said: “I take my hat off to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival for another successful year, delivering laughs and cheers to more CBD venues than ever before. The festival draws hundreds of thousands of people into the city, with our footfall sensors recording an increase in pedestrian activity throughout the festival period, compared to last year.

“Comedy creates an occasion for people to come into the city, catch a show and grab a meal or a drink – adding to the famed Melbourne vibe while supporting our local businesses.”

Anecdotal evidence from many of the Festival drinking and dining partners supports the overall benefit the Comedy Festival provides to the CBD.

Jane Tschappeller from Punch Lane, said: “It’s no secret that the hospitality industry is struggling.  With the revenue the Comedy Festival has brought into CBD restaurants and bars, we would love a week of the comedy festival every month of the year!! We had 50 walk-ins after 10pm last Wednesday, which is unheard of mid-week in the city post COVID.”

Comedian Rhys Nicholson summed up the Festival at the end of their show each night, with these words: “Things are a bit scary in live entertainment at the moment and festivals like this, in fact this festival in particular, are the backbone of entertainment in Australia. We need the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.”

The laughs will continue with the much-loved Melbourne Comedy Festival Roadshow which will travel to over 80 locations across Australia over the next three months.

 For more information visit comedyfestival.com.au