Some 10,000 people are set to converge on Galway next week to attend the Vodafone Comedy Carnival, which is expected to generate at least €5 million for the local economy.
The festival, which runs from Tuesday October 22 to Monday October 29, will see shows by leading international comedians, Bill Bailey, John Bishop, Omid Djalili, Shappi Khorsandi, Ross Noble, and others. In total, 100 artists will play 70 shows in 18 venues over seven days, making the Carnival the biggest comedy festival in Ireland in terms of attendance, duration, and number of shows.
Ticket sales have been high this year with a number of major shows already sold out. The festival organisers also report that ticket sales overall for 2019 are up 40 per cent on this time last year.
Last minute tickets go on sale this Saturday
A total of 10,000 people are expected to attend the festival, and 12,000 tickets have already been issued. By the end of the festival, 18,000 tickets are expected to have been issued, working out at an average of 1.8 tickets per person, as many will attend more than one show. Of those sales, 26 per cent of tickets were to people in Galway, with 74 per cent sold to comedy fans outside the city and county.
The economic benefit of the festival to the city last year was €3.9 million, however, given the level of ticket sales so far, that is expected to rise to between €5 and 6 million by the end of the month. It is understood that many city hotels are reporting they are full or close to full for the event. There will also be spin off benefits for the pub and restaurant trade.
The festival conducted a major promotional push in both Dublin and the North of Ireland, especially as Bill Bailey and John Bishop’s Galway shows this month are their only Irish appearances of 2019.
The festival is also expecting a last minute surge in ticket sales from Galwegians, especially with a batch of tickets to sold-out shows are set to be released this Saturday. An on-site box office at the Tourist Information kiosk on Eyre Square will open at 12 noon on Saturday where the extra tickets will be sold. Early arrival is advised, and sales will be cash only as there are no credit card facilities.
TV show and charity swim
RTÉ will be attend the festival to record footage for a one hour special, provisionally titled Laughter In The Air, which will be broadcast in January 2020, in advance of the start of European Capital of Culture events.
Five hours of filming will take place in Eyre Square on Saturday October 26, including at the afternoon show, featuing 18 young, up and coming comedians, as well as at the evening show, which features Reginald D Hunter, Terry Alderton, Andrew Maxwell, and Jo Caulfield.
Alongside stand-up, the show will also feature the Macnas Parade, and the charity swim in Blackrock on Saturday October 26 at 12 noon, which will raise funds for COPE. A number of comedians attending the festival, such as Andrew Maxwell and Danny O’Brien [pictured above], will be taking part. The festival will donate €1,000 to COPE, and the public is also welcome to partake in, and donate to, the event.
For more information on the festival see www.vodafonecomedycarnival.com