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Biggest festival ever

Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival 2015 was the biggest and best since the festival was launched back in 1994.

Producers of the festival have confirmed over 100,000 people attended over 612 events across the 19 day festival. Over 50% of the audience visited the festival from outside Leicestershire, reinforcing the status of the festival as the biggest comedy festival in England. Highlights of the festival included appearances by Sarah Millican, Johnny Vegas, Nina Conti, Milton Jones and Jimmy Carr. Exclusive events which took place included Comedy in a Car (hosted by Tom Allen), The UK Pun Championships (hosted by Lee Nelson), Comedy in the Dark and a special exhibition to honour festival patron and comedy legend Sir Norman Wisdom. Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival 2016 will take place from 3-21 February. Further details are available by visiting

Independent research on the festival is carried out by academics from De Montfort University, who analyse a questionnaire sent to audience members. In addition to this the festival also took part in a UK wide survey to comedy attendees, by Comedy Research UK managed by media consultancy Unication. 42% of the festival audience is aged between 33-44, an increase of over 9% on last year, and the majority of the audience are employed full time. There was also a significant increase in the number of full time students attending the festival; from 3 to 10%. In 2015, the audience spent an average of £130.82 and they engaged with the festival much more on social media in 2015, with twitter engagement rising by a massive 600% and Youtube views growing by 83%.

The Festival’s national reputation is really positive, according to the results of the national comedy survey. Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival was the 2nd highest UK festival which respondents were aware of, following Edinburgh Fringe Festival and beating Brighton Comedy Festival (3rd place), Altitude Comedy Festival (4th) and Glasgow International Comedy Festival (5th place). Leicester was also the most visited comedy festival in the UK, with the highest response rate of people who would recommend the festival to their friends.

Media coverage and promotion for Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival 2015 was significant, with coverage in all major UK titles including The Huffington Post, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Observer, The Independent on Sunday, The Daily Mirror, The Daily Mail & The Scottish Sun. The festival was also mentioned on BBC TVs The One Show as well as coverage on BBC Asian Network and Digital Spy. Significant coverage was obtained for both the UK Pun Championships and the exhibition for Sir Norman Wisdom, as well as interviews, previews and reviews.

Top comedians continue to support the festival. Johnny Vegas, who won the Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year in 1997 and has been back many times since, said: “I have a long standing relationship with Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival. There is a brilliant comedy audience at the festival; they want to come and appreciate great comedy. They get stand up and they get when acts want to mess around with things & that’s what festivals are about. They are about attracting big names and also appreciating comedy & stand up.” Stewart Lee, who has been visiting the festival for many years, said “I met my wife at this festival in 2005. I was going to go home to bed but instead went to a party and I met my wife there. She didn’t know she was my wife at the time but it became clear. So for me, Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival is responsible for the birth of my children.” Winner of Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year 2013, Romesh Ranganathan has been a regular at the festival and said “The festival is just wicked; it’s quality. The audiences are really nice; they are so comedy savvy, the venues look after you, everyone loves coming here. The City is really supportive.”

Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival Director, Geoff Rowe, said:

“We’re thrilled to report on another great year for Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival. We have always known the festival has local impact, but we now know we have a significant national profile which is really important to us. This is the 4th year we have worked with tv channel Dave as our title sponsor and the growth over that period has been incredible. The festival programme has more than doubled in size since 2012. If people want to get involved in 2016, they should get in touch as soon as possible and we look forward to launching our 2016 programme later this year.”

The partnership between TV channel Dave & Leicester Comedy Festival started in 2012 and is managed by Sparkle Productions.

Last updated September 2015