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No laughing matter: 22 of 40 Somerset Comedy Festival shows cancelled

HEADLINE shows at the Somerset Comedy Festival have been cancelled amid a funding crisis for the event.

Due to run between July 3 and 28, organisers have confirmed 22 of the planned 40 shows had been called off – including headline performances by Seann Walsh, Phil Hammond, Mark Watson, Simon Brodkin and Emmanuel Sonubi.

However, organiser Trish Caller said a number of smaller shows would still go ahead, and she was “still planning” for a festival in 2025.

“The Somerset Comedy Festival has been a dream of mine for so long,” she said. “But the reality is these are tough times for people and tickets for some of our bigger events just haven’t sold. I have no option but to cancel them.

“I don’t think the timing of the general election has helped. People are just feeling nervous about everything right now.

“But I have no intention of giving up and I’m already planning for next year.”

Trish Caller, inset, has vowed to continue with the Somerset Comedy Festival for 2025

Trish Caller, inset, has vowed to continue with the Somerset Comedy Festival for 2025

Venues in Taunton, Bridgwater, Weston super Mare and Bridgwater were set to host events as part of the festival, with those who have bought tickets set to get full refunds.

For a full list of the shows cancelled – and how to get refunds – log on to www.somersetcomedyfestival.co.uk.

Shows still going ahead include performances at the Tacchi Morris Arts Centre, Taunton Minster, The Castle Hotel and CICCIC in Taunton – with Trish urging people to support the festival.

“I often find that people say they intend to buy tickets for an event but they haven’t got round to it yet,” she said.

“I would plead with those people – buy the tickets now and we can make sure parts of the festival can be saved.”

And ahead of the 2025 event, she said important lessons had been learnt.

“I will be working hard to get sponsors on board for next year, not just financial support but people who can, for instance, help us with marketing and promotion,” she added.

“I know we can make a success of this – I know the people of Somerset love comedy.

“There were many things that conspired against us this year. Next year will be different.”

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