Monthly Archives: October 2013

Comedy festival costs – investment or money down the drain?

As you develop as a stand up and need more exposure to really get your career on the right track, one option is to consider performing at one of the major comedy festivals that take place across the globe.  However, taking part, particularly if you opt to perform in one of the fee paying venues , can have a serious impact on your bank balance.

As an example, a number of artists who appeared at this year’s Fringe festival in Edinburgh voice their discontent at the fees charged to artists who appeared at the ‘big four’ of the festival.  Coupled with the skyrocketing costs of accommodation in Edinburgh during the August festival, some observers are expressing concern that the costs of making an impression at the festival far outweigh the benefits and that some performers are simply being priced out of the Fringe.  If this were to be true and performers stop attending this premier festival and others because of sky rocketing costs it would truly be a shame.

A number of performers recently gave their account of own experience of the Fringe Festival 2013.

Ben Van der Velde

Whilst acknowledging that the Festival contributed to his development as a stand up, Ben admits his attendance at this year’s festival set him back about £5,000.  Though he is an advocate for the Free Festival, he states he feels you can only know how good you are when you in the fee paying fringe.  Asked if the financial loss is worth it, he says that he hopes so in the long run and it gave him the first opportunity to try hold an audience attention for as long as a hour.  He is optimistic that the exposure will lead to other gigs and opportunities.  Asked if he will be back next year, he knows it will be reliant on the success of this year to pay off the debt and save up enough to pay the deposit for next year’s entrance by February.  He admits it’s a tough ask and thinks it will be two years before he can afford to return.

Bec Hill

Despite cutting costs as far as possible, Bec says it still costs the performer to attend the fringe.  She reckons it can be done for as little as £3,000-4,000 but does know other comedians who have spent more than £9,000 to attend the festival.  ‘We don’t do this to make money – we do it to get our names out there and the opportunities that have come out of this have certainly, even after the first year, paid back anything I ended up owing. I think the Fringe can totally be financially viable if you’re smart about it.’